An Easy Fix for a Leaking Dishwasher

By Lyle Weischwill | Jan. 26, 2024 7:45 am PST

Homeowner finding the dishwasher leaking

Don’t panic when you see water leaking from your dishwasher – take action. Acting immediately can help you resolve the problem and prevent damage to counters and flooring.

In case the leak is caused by the water supply hose, you should shut off the water supply valve going to the dishwasher. Shut off the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher to prevent any chance of electrical shock until you can find and fix the leak.

Leaks in dishwashers are often caused by a damaged door seal, a cracked or clogged spray arm or damaged components under the dishwasher. A loose drain hose connection can also cause a dishwasher leak.

If you don’t want to find and fix the leak yourself, schedule a service call to have a Sears Technician to visit your home and fix the dishwasher. Same day and next day service appointments are available in many areas.

Some dishwasher leaks are easy to find and fix on your own. Read on to find tips and tricks for finding and fixing common dishwasher leaks.

Dishwasher Leaking Through the Door

When the dishwasher leaks water through the door, a bad door seal or problems with the spray system can be causing the leak.

Check the Dishwasher Door Seal

Examine the door seal for damage and replace the door seal if it’s damaged.

Here’s a DIY video that shows how to replace the door seal in a common dishwasher.

Check the Spray Arms

If the door seal is okay, check the spray arms for blockage, cracks or damage. This may seem like a strange step in finding a dishwasher leak through the door, but a blocked or damaged spray arm can create a wave action in the water inside the dishwasher tub. The wave created by a cracked or damaged spray arm can cause water to slosh over the front lip of the dishwasher tub and leak out through the bottom of the door.

First open the dishwasher door and check if dishes or items are blocking the spray arm so it can’t rotate fully. If so, relocate the items so they don’t inhibit spray arm rotation which may have caused wave action and the leak. This may easily fix the leak through the door.

If the spray arm isn’t blocked, check it for a crack or clogs in the spray arm holes that could keep it from rotating. Replace the spray arm if it’s cracked or damaged.

If you find spray arm holes blocked with deposits or debris, clean the holes using a bamboo skewer or similar item.

These simple DIY troubleshooting tips may fix the cause of a dishwasher leak through the bottom of the door.

If the door seal and spray arms are both okay, then you may need to have a Sears Technician find and fix the leak from the dishwasher door.

Dishwasher Leaking from the Water Supply Line or Drain Hose

When you find a leak under the dishwasher, beneath adjacent cabinets or under the kitchen sink, the water may be leaking from the dishwasher water supply line or drain hose.

Check the dishwasher drain hose connection to the garbage disposal or sink drain. Reconnect that connection if it’s loose. Replace the drain hose if it’s damaged.

Check the water supply line connection to the water source. Tighten and seal that connection if it’s leaking. Replace the dishwasher supply line if it’s damaged and leaking.

If you haven’t found the source of the leak by now, then finding and fixing the water leak will likely be more complicated.

You can view this comprehensive DIY troubleshooting video that shows how to check some of the issues covered above and additional causes of dishwasher leaks.

To find a leak under the dishwasher as shown in the video, first disconnect the electrical power by unplugging the dishwasher or shutting off the house circuit breaker for the dishwasher. Then remove the bottom front service panel and toe panel by removing the mounting screws and then pulling off both panels so you can see under the tub. On many dishwasher models, you can remove the front door panel and control panel to see and reach the bottom components better.

Open the dishwasher door and remove the Torx screws from the outer edges of the inner door panel. Support the outer door panel with one hand as you remove the final screws so it doesn’t fall. Separate the outer door panel and control panel slightly from the inner door panel, and let the outer panel rest on the floor while you disconnect the user interface control wire harness. Pull off the outer door panel and control panel.

Check the water supply line connection at the front of the dishwasher first. If you find that connection leaking, tighten the fitting to see if that stops the leak. If not, shut off the water supply and place a towel under the water supply line connection. Disconnect the supply line and replace the connection seal. If the water supply line connection isn’t leaking, check the drain hose connection to the drain pump for drips or other evidence of leaking such as a water trail or water stains. Reconnect the drain line if it’s loose.

If the drain hose isn’t leaking, use a flashlight to look under the dishwasher for evidence of leaks. You may see the water dripping or a water trail indicating the location of the leak. If you find the source of the leak, replace the leaking seal or component.

Check the Heating Element, Pump and Diverter Motor

If you still haven’t found the source of the leak, you’ll have to pull the dishwasher out from under the counter. For safety, make sure that you have electrical power disconnected from the dishwasher. Shut off the water supply to the dishwasher and release the drain hose from the garbage disposal or sink drain connection. Place a towel under the water line connection on the water inlet valve. Disconnect the water line and wipe up any spilled water. If the power cord plugs into an electrical outlet, position the power cord so it moves freely when you pull the dishwasher out from under the counter.

If your power cord doesn’t plug into an electrical outlet, then the power cord is hard-wired into the junction box. Remove the junction box cover and disconnect the supply wires. Remove the strain relief nut to release the power cable from the junction box. Position the door panel and control panel close enough to the inner door so you can reconnect the user interface control wire harness and attach the outer door panel and control panel to the inner door panel. Reinstall the mounting screws.

Remove the bottom dishrack to avoid damaging interior parts when you tip the dishwasher over to examine for leaks. Remove the screws from the mounting brackets that hold the dishwasher under the counter. Carefully pull the dishwasher out and lay it on its back so you can see all of the bottom components. Check for water trails or other evidence of leaking from the bottom components, such as the heating element, sump or diverter motor. Replace any component that’s leaking.

If the component has a seal that you can purchase separately, replace the seal instead of the whole thing. If you don’t see a water trail or evidence of leaks, set the dishwasher upright. Fill the tub with some water to see if you can find the source of the leak now that you have a better view of the bottom components. Pour a quart of water into the tub. Check for water dripping from any components under the tub. Continue adding water and checking for leaks until you fill the tub to the bottom of the mushroom float. You’ll likely find the source of the leak using this process. Keep a wet/dry shop vac or container handy to remove the water from the dishwasher once you find the source of the leak. Once you find the leak, remove the water and replace any leaking components or seals.

Image of an Sears Home Services Tech performing dishwasher repair

Schedule Service to Have a Technician Find the Leak

Finding and fixing a dishwasher leak is sometimes easy, but there are times when the cause of a water leak can be elusive.

When you can’t find the leak on your own, then the faulty component may only leak when the pump sprays water. Have a Sears Home Services technician find this leak because the technician will likely check for leaks with the dishwasher running and with wiring and electrical components exposed. Only a service technician should run the dishwasher in this condition because exposed wiring and components are an electrocution risk.

We’re confident that our service technician can find and fix the cause of any leak in your dishwasher.

Trust Sears Home Services to get your dishwasher back in top shape and working properly so you can safely use it again.

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