whirlpool dishwasher loaded 3

If your Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t dry dishes properly, it can be frustrating. This article explains why this happens and offers practical solutions to fix the problem. It covers adjusting settings and maintaining components that could be causing the issue. Whether it’s a simple fix or something that needs more attention, you’ll find the guidance you need here.

Troubleshooting Your Whirlpool Dishwasher’s Drying Issues

Simple Solutions First

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Before you call a repairman, try these quick fixes:

Rinse Aid: Your Secret Weapon

Make sure you’re using rinse aid. It helps water sheet off dishes, preventing spots and improving drying. Check your dishwasher’s manual for where to add it.

Loading: Less is More

Don’t overload your dishwasher. Overcrowding prevents air from circulating, making it harder for dishes to dry. Leave space between items for optimal drying.

The Right Cycle: Hotter is Better

Choose the right cycle for your dishes. If your dishes are coming out wet, select a cycle with a heated dry option or a sanitize cycle. This ensures a higher temperature for better drying.

Whirlpool Dishwasher
Whirlpool Dishwasher

Common Culprits:

If the quick fixes don’t work, it might be time to investigate further. Here are some common culprits for drying issues:

Heating Element: The Heat Source

The heating element is responsible for drying your dishes. If it’s not working, your dishes will come out wet. You can test the heating element with a multimeter to see if it’s faulty.

Vent: Letting the Steam Out

The vent releases moisture during the drying cycle. If it’s blocked or not opening properly, moisture can’t escape, leaving your dishes damp. Check the vent for obstructions and make sure it’s functioning correctly.

Thermostat: Regulating the Heat

The thermostat controls the temperature of the heating element. If it’s malfunctioning, the heating element won’t get hot enough to dry your dishes. Test the thermostat with a multimeter to see if it needs replacement.

When to Call a Professional:

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and your dishwasher still isn’t drying properly, it’s time to call a professional appliance repair technician. They can diagnose the problem and fix it safely and efficiently.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly inspect and clean the rinse aid dispenser to ensure it’s unblocked and correctly adjusted for optimal drying performance. Using a high-quality rinse aid compatible with Whirlpool dishwashers can also enhance drying efficiency.
  • Adjust the drying cycle settings on your Whirlpool dishwasher, such as selecting “Extended Dry” or activating the “Heated Dry” feature, to improve the drying effectiveness. Consult the manual for model-specific recommendations.
  • Check the heating element for any signs of damage or malfunction. A non-working heating element can prevent dishes from drying properly. It may require a visual inspection, continuity testing with a multimeter, or professional assistance if you’re uncomfortable performing these checks.
  • Maintain cleanliness in your dishwasher’s filter and spray arms to ensure proper water flow and drying efficiency. Regular maintenance like rinsing the filter and using a piece of wire to clear spray arm blockages can significantly impact performance.
  • Incorporate additional maintenance tips such as refilling the rinse aid dispenser, slightly opening the dishwasher door post-cycle to allow steam to escape, optimizing dish loading for better air and water circulation, regularly cleaning the dishwasher interior, and experimenting with different cycle settings for better drying results.

Check the Rinse Aid Dispenser

When it comes to a Whirlpool dishwasher not drying dishes, a common culprit could be the rinse aid dispenser. Rinse aid plays a critical role in the drying process by helping water droplets slide off dish surfaces more smoothly. Without it, water may cling to dishes, leaving them wet even after a drying cycle.

First off, it’s wise to inspect the rinse aid dispenser for any signs of blockage or malfunction. A clogged dispenser can hinder the flow of rinse aid, reducing its effectiveness during the rinse cycle. Opening the dispenser and checking for residue or debris that could prevent rinse aid from dispensing properly is a good starting point. If you find any, cleaning the dispenser with a soft, damp cloth can remove obstructions and improve performance.

Additionally, it’s worth noting the setting of your rinse aid dispenser. Many models allow you to adjust the amount of rinse aid released during a cycle. If dishes are coming out wet, increasing the dispenser setting might help. This adjustment ensures that an adequate amount of rinse aid is used to promote faster drying.

Lastly, the type of rinse aid you use can also impact drying efficiency. Not all rinse aids are created equal. Opting for a high-quality rinse aid designed for your specific machine type can potentially enhance drying results. Look for products that specifically mention compatibility with Whirlpool dishwashers or have good reviews from other Whirlpool users.

By addressing these aspects, you can improve the drying performance of your dishwasher. Regularly checking the rinse aid dispenser, cleaning it as necessary, adjusting its settings, and choosing a compatible rinse aid can make a significant difference in how dry your dishes get.

Adjust the Drying Cycle Settings

When tackling the issue of a Whirlpool dishwasher not drying dishes as expected, one crucial step is to Adjust the Drying Cycle Settings. Modern dishwashers come with various settings tailored to different needs, but not everyone might be aware of how these settings impact the drying process. By fine-tuning the drying cycle, users can significantly enhance the performance of their appliance.

The first action is to locate the control panel on the dishwasher. Here, you’ll find multiple options for cycles. Many users stick to the “Normal” or “Auto” cycles for daily use, but these might not always provide the best drying results. For improved drying, look for a cycle labeled “Extended Dry” or “Extra Dry”. Selecting this option increases the heat and duration of the drying phase, which is key for moisture evaporation from dishes.

Another smart move is to activate the “Heated Dry” feature if your model has it. This function uses a built-in heating element to raise the air temperature inside the dishwasher, speeding up the evaporation process. However, be mindful that using this feature may increase your dishwasher’s energy consumption, so it’s a trade-off between energy efficiency and drying effectiveness.

It’s also beneficial to examine your dishwasher’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for guidance specific to your model. Different models may have unique settings or recommendations that can make a noticeable difference in drying performance.

By adjusting these settings, you’re not just tackling the symptom—you’re optimizing the entire drying process. While it might take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect settings for your needs, the payoff in consistently dry dishes is well worth the effort. Plus, understanding and utilizing the full range of your dishwasher’s capabilities can lead to better overall performance, not just in drying, but in cleaning efficiency as well.

Inspect the Heating Element

When a Whirlpool dishwasher fails to dry dishes properly, it’s crucial to check the heating element. This component plays a vital role in the drying process by heating the air inside the dishwasher. If the heating element isn’t working, dishes will come out wet.

Start by locating the heating element at the bottom of the dishwasher. It looks like a thin, circular tube that winds through the appliance’s base. Visually inspect it for any signs of damage or breaks. Physical damage to the element often means it’s time for a replacement.

Testing the heating element for functionality requires a multimeter. This tool measures electrical continuity. If there’s no continuity, the element cannot heat up. Most homeowners find this step a bit technical. It’s okay to seek help from a professional if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the heating element itself but with the connections. Loose or corroded wires can prevent the element from receiving power. Check the connections at both ends of the heating element. Tighten any loose connections and clean off corrosion with a wire brush.

Remember, safety first. Always turn off the electricity to the dishwasher from the household breaker or fuse box before inspecting or touching electrical components. This step prevents electric shock and keeps you safe while you investigate.

Understanding whether the heating element is the culprit behind drying issues involves a bit of investigative work. By following these steps, you’ll be closer to solving the problem and getting your dishwasher to dry dishes effectively again.

Clean the Filter and Spray Arms

When a Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t dry dishes as expected, a dirty filter or clogged spray arms could be the culprits. These parts play key roles in both cleaning and drying processes. When they’re not operating correctly, performance drops.

The filter in the dishwasher catches food particles and debris. If it gets too full, water can’t flow freely, affecting the dishwasher’s ability to clean and dry dishes properly. It’s recommended that homeowners check and clean the dishwasher filter regularly to prevent clogs. The process is straightforward: remove, rinse, and replace. No tools required.

Spray arms distribute water during the dishwasher’s cycles. Over time, they can get blocked with food particles or mineral buildup from hard water. This impedes water flow, meaning dishes don’t get thoroughly cleaned or dried. Inspecting the spray arms involves ensuring that the small holes are not obstructed. A piece of wire or a toothpick can clear out any debris.

Additionally, keeping these parts clean helps maintain dishwasher efficiency and longevity. Frequent cleaning prevents the buildup that can lead to more significant problems down the line.

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning filters and unblocking spray arms, may seem like small tasks, but they have a substantial impact on the dishwasher’s performance. This approach promotes better drying, extends appliance life, and reduces the need for costly repairs.

Other Maintenance Tips

When dealing with a Whirlpool dishwasher not drying dishes properly, it’s not just about the heating element, filter, and spray arms. There are other simple yet crucial maintenance tips that can boost drying performance.

First, check the rinse aid dispenser. Rinse aid plays a vital role in helping water slide off dish surfaces, speeding up the drying process. If it’s empty, refill it. Also, make sure the dispenser settings match the hardness of your water.

Door positioning matters too. After the cycle ends, slightly opening the dishwasher door allows steam to escape, promoting faster drying. This trick uses natural air flow to aid in drying dishes.

Another useful tip involves the loading pattern. How you load dishes can impact drying efficiency. Ensure there’s enough space between dishes. This spacing allows air and water to circulate freely, improving both cleaning and drying outcomes.

Regularly clean the dishwasher’s interior. Build-up of grease and detergent can affect its performance. A monthly cleaning with a dishwasher-safe cleaner can do wonders.

Lastly, consider the cycle settings. Whirlpool dishwashers often have multiple drying options. Experiment with these settings to find the one that works best for your needs. Some cycles use more heat or extend drying times for better results.

By incorporating these additional maintenance tips, users can significantly enhance their dishwasher’s drying capability. Proper upkeep not only leads to drier dishes but also contributes to the longevity and efficiency of the appliance.


Tackling a Whirlpool dishwasher that’s not drying dishes properly doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the outlined maintenance tips—such as inspecting the heating element, ensuring the filter and spray arms are clean, and optimizing the rinse aid dispenser—homeowners can significantly enhance their dishwasher’s drying performance. Regular upkeep, like cleaning the interior and adjusting dish loading patterns, not only boosts efficiency but also extends the lifespan of the appliance. With these strategies, achieving spotless and dry dishes after every cycle becomes an attainable goal, ensuring the dishwasher remains a reliable and efficient kitchen aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve the drying performance of my Whirlpool dishwasher?

To enhance drying performance, inspect the heating element, clean the filter, unblock the spray arms, check and refill the rinse aid dispenser, adjust door positioning for steam release, optimize dish loading for better air circulation, clean the interior regularly, and try different cycle settings.

Why is it important to clean the filter in my dishwasher?

Cleaning the dishwasher filter is crucial as it prevents food particles from clogging, which can restrict water flow and reduce both cleaning and drying efficiency.

What role does the rinse aid play in dishwasher drying performance?

Rinse aid helps in reducing water spots and streaks on dishes by breaking the bond between water molecules and dishes, thereby enhancing the drying process.

Can the way I load dishes affect the drying efficiency?

Yes, optimizing dish loading patterns ensures better air circulation among dishes, which significantly improves drying performance.

Why should I consider adjusting the dishwasher door positioning?

Adjusting the dishwasher door positioning for steam release helps in letting out excess moisture, which can improve the drying process of dishes.

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