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Causes & Solutions To Fixing

Your Leaky Dishwasher

By:  Shaun Kaushal     |     Last Updated: April 8st, 2020

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Table of Contents

Your Current Dishwasher Situation

No one wants to walk into their kitchen to find a puddle of water by their dishwasher. It is messy, and potentially destructive to the floor itself if it is not maintained properly. 

If you have found that your dishwasher is leaking, you may be worried that there are all sorts of catastrophic problems with it, but at the end of the day...

With a bit of DIY effort, a few tutorials, and some troubleshooting, you may be able to save yourself on the costs of those expensive repairs that may otherwise become a problem for you.

Reasons For A Leaky Dishwasher

Reason #1: There is a problem with the seal

Perhaps the simplest place to start when you realize that your dishwasher is leaking, especially if it is in the front, is to look at the gasket. This is the seal that lines the door, allowing for it to be watertight, preventing the leaking of any water.

These are typically made of either vinyl or rubber, and over time, they can begin to dry out. They lose their flexibility, and may even crack.

Without a watertight seal, the water is then free to drain all over the floor. You will need to inspect the gasket to make sure that it is not damaged, cracked, brittle, worn out, or otherwise misaligned.

Reason #2: There is a problem with the float

Dishwashers have what is known as a float switch within them.

This, paired with a float, are there to make sure that the system does not become overfilled with water.

Essentially, as the water in the dishwasher fills up, the float begins to float up. It rises, and at the right volume of water, the float triggers the float switch, which will then turn off the water inlet valve.

This is intentional to ensure that the system does not wind up with higher levels of water than it can manage. However, sometimes, the switch becomes defective for some reason—it can stop working and it will need to be replaced. 

How To Fix A Leaky Dishwasher?

Repair #1: Replacing the seal 

When the seal on your dishwasher fails you, it is important to remember that your replacement will have to be compatible with the system that you currently have.

Make sure that, when you do buy your replacement, you look at the part closely and verify that it is compatible with the dishwasher that you have.

This piece in particular needs a perfect fit and if it does not get that, it cannot function properly. It needs to create that watertight seal, and that requires it to be just right.

Once you have the new seal, you will be able to fix the problem relatively simply. 

  • Step 1: Begin by removing the old door seal.
    • You will need to open up the door and then pull out the current seal.
    • Pay attention which way it is currently facing so you are able to make sure that you line it up properly. Otherwise, you run the risk of installing the seal backwards, which could make the problem worse.
  • Step 2: Next, do a thorough job cleaning out the channel for the door seal.
    • If you leave the grime that is currently in there, you can prevent the new seal from being able to fit properly, leading to future leaking. The best way to do this is with cotton swabs and a detergent or disinfectant.
    • When you have cleaned it out, allow it to dry completely.
  • Step 3: Heat up the new seal with a hair dryer.
    • Oftentimes, when they come packaged, they are creased and you want to remove those creases to ensure that you can get the right seal. Make sure that you are careful not to use high heat.
  • Step 4: Now, it is time to install the new door seal.
    • The best way to do so is to gently fold it in half in order to find the midpoint—do not crease it, but figure out where that middle point is.
    • Then, push that midpoint into the channel at the top of the door, slowly pushing it in without stretching it out.
    • You want to push it in as much as possible. When the seal is in, close the door and let it sit.

Repair #2: Replacing The Float: Don't Ignore The Problem 

When the float is the problem, you will need to do a bit more work to ensure that you get everything lined up. As always, make sure that you begin with the power source turned off, and then locate the float within your device. 

Also make sure that the one that you have chosen as a replacement is one that is compatible with your current machine. This is a bit more involved, and if you do not feel comfortable with it, please call a repair person for assistance.

  • Step 1: Open the door and remove the dish-rack. Remove the cover for the float assembly if it can be removed. It is typically either snapped into place, or there are screws securing it.
  • Step 2: Next, you must remove the screws that close the door. You are going to remove the panel at this point in time, allowing you to have access to the electrical area in your system. 
  • Step 3: Look inside the dishwasher at the float plug. Pull on it and then reach underneath the dishwasher, into the area that you just exposed, and identify the nut that holds the plug in place. Use your fingers to remove the nut and then remove the float. 
  • Step 4: Take the plug gasket off of the old float and install it onto the replacement. Then, push the long stem of the plug back through the tub.
    • You must then reattach it to the nut that held it into place, and the switch, if it was connected to that. 
    • Then, it is time to begin replacing everything else. Reattach the housing for the float assembly and then reattach the kick panel. Replace all screws and then reconnect the dishwasher to the power. Then, test to see if you have fixed the problem.

Repair Video: 

Check our this video below, which stands as a great tutorial for fixing a leaky dishwasher

Which dishwasher parts do you need?

Shaun Kaushal / General Manager & Blogger

Shaun Kaushal, a home service blogger with experience and knowledge in appliances, home renovation, and home design. With a passion for educating homeowners on the industry, Shaun decided to create a blog dedicated to teaching homeowners appliance repair tips, strategies and ways they can save more money. 

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