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Dishwasher Not Drying? Find Out Why!


If your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher still wet, it can be a big frustration. Your dishwasher is a major appliance and replacing it can be expensive, especially if the upgrade is unplanned.

North Town Home Services has been repairing dishwashers in Chicagoland homes since 1927, and our techs have heard this question many times. Allow us to walk you through the common causes to the problem so you can find a cost-effective solution. Call us to speak with an expert tech or keep reading to learn why your dishwasher isn’t drying!

Why Isn’t My Dishwasher Drying?

There are several potential causes for your dishwasher not drying. Some of the most common include:

You have a defective or burnt out heating element.

Your dishwasher is built with an internal heating element, found at the bottom of the tub, that is meant to dry your dishes after the wash cycle completes. If it is burnt out, you may need to clean dirty terminals or connectors or replace them completely if they have corroded. If a defective heating element was initially installed, you will need to have the part replaced by an experienced technician.

The thermostat is broken.

Like with your heating and cooling systems, a thermostat regulates the temperature of the water and the dryer in your dishwasher. You can check to see if your problem is as a result of a broken thermostat by running your dishwasher on the shortest wash cycle with the highest temperature setting. If your dishwasher does not get warm during the dry cycle, the thermostat will need to be replaced.

The drying fan is clogged or burnt out.

This important component of your dishwasher is needed to circulate warm air throughout the machine. In some cases if your dishwasher isn’t drying, it may be because there is dirt or debris clogging the area around your drying fan and preventing its blades from moving as intended. This is an easy fix—the blades just need to be cleaned and you’re good-to-go. However, if the fan still won’t move even after it’s cleaned, it may be burnt out. You’ll need an appliance repair specialist to come take a look and replace the fan if necessary.

Tips for Dryer Dishes

Your dishwasher not drying problem may not actually be a problem per se. Rinse aid is intended to reduce how much water builds up in the tub of your dishwasher—if the dispenser is empty, just add more and your “problem” will be fixed!

It could even be more simple than that. For example, water can fall from cups on the top shelf to plates on the bottom, making everything wet, and your dishes won’t be as dry if they’re packed in too tightly either—so load your dishwasher strategically!

Finally, keep in mind that if you’re loading plastic Tupperware into your dishwasher, these types of dishes generally do not dry as completely as your glass dishes.

Expert Dishwasher Troubleshooting in Chicagoland

While you can troubleshoot your dishwasher to an extent, DIY appliance repair can be dangerous and often ineffective. To make sure your dishwasher gets fixed right, and doesn’t break down again right after, you may want to call in a professional. Since 1927, North Town Home Services has provided expert dishwasher troubleshooting, maintenance, and repairs to homeowners in Northern Illinois, including Chicago and the nearby suburbs. Click here to learn more about our dishwasher services or contact us to schedule dishwasher troubleshooting today!

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