It’s common for a dishwasher to make a bit of noise during a wash cycle. But unusual, loud, or rough grinding sounds can indicate a more serious issue with the appliance and can cause further damage. So, what causes unpleasant grinding sounds in a dishwasher, and how can you resolve them?
Grinding sounds in a dishwasher typically come from broken or loose components, clogged pipes, a worn-out motor, or issues with inlet valves. Look for any misplaced items or debris before troubleshooting further. Faulty fans and pump motors may need to be replaced.
Nine times out of ten, this sound is going to be some piece of dishware, maybe a loose utensil, that’s made its way to the bottom of the dishwasher. Let’s look deeper into this symptom and see what’s going on so that you can get back to washing dishes normally again!
Why Is My Dishwasher Making Grinding Noises? 5 common issues
Most dishwashers make some sounds like clicking, revving, and swishing. My dishwasher has a manual timer dial and it bangs and clunks around a bit, but it’s completely normal.
That said, if your dishwasher starts making unusual, loud, or rough sounds, you may have a deeper issue at hand.
Broken parts, loose components, damaged bearings, and problems with the impeller arm can cause grinding sounds in a dishwasher. Clogged drain pumps, worn-out pump motors, and issues with the inlet valve are other common culprits.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the common causes behind grinding sounds and what you can do to resolve them.
1. Faulty Pump Motor
Depending on the model, dishwashers have one or two pumps that are controlled by a motor. The pumps help wash dishes and clear the drain.
A fully functional pump motor creates a low hum that indicates the machine is working. But once the motor starts to fail, it will begin to create an unpleasant, continuous grinding or droning sound.
If you notice this sound or find stagnant water at the bottom of the dishwasher, the pump motor is a likely culprit. You may need to order a replacement pump motor or call a repair technician for additional assistance.
Replacing a faulty pump motor without the help of a repair tech will require you to disconnect your dishwasher from the power and water supply. Afterward, remove the dishwasher from underneath the counter and lay it on its back to reveal the pump motor.
Then, remove the faulty motor and install the new one, following all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
Here’s a video I found on how to replace a dishwasher pump:
2. Clogged Drain Pipe
Dishwashers have a drain line, hose, or pipe that takes leftover food waste and water away. The drain pipe can be loud on its own, but it gets incredibly noisy when clogged. You might hear gurgling or grinding sounds, and your dishwasher may start to drain long after the cycle is over.
To clean out any debris, pour hot water down your kitchen sink and turn on the garbage disposal. You may need to clear the dishwasher drain as well. You can use a snake in the drain line to remove larger clogs.
Your dishwasher should be much quieter once leftover debris, food waste, and other particles are removed.
3. Misplaced Items
Every now and then I’ll find I’m missing a fork or a spoon in my dishwasher. Dislodged or improperly loaded kitchenware is another common cause of grinding sounds. You’ll typically hear troublesome grinding, banging, or clunking during the wash cycle if something becomes dislodged.
Wait until mid-cycle and open the dishwasher door. Take a step back and allow the steam to leave the cabinet before inspecting the bottom of the machine. You can pull out the bottom rack and look for any forks, spoons, or other small items that may have been misplaced.
It’s best to check the spinning arms on the top and bottom of the machine as well. Rearrange the contents in the rack to ensure nothing is out of place or making odd sounds.
If the issue persists, you may have smaller items like screws or glass that are stuck in the drain impeller.
4. Broken Fan
Most dishwashers have a fan or fan assembly in the door. Broken fans can create loud grinding sounds and typically need to be replaced entirely. In some cases, the fans can break in the middle of a wash cycle, and you’ll have to wash your dishes by hand.
You can order replacement parts for your dishwasher model or call a professional repairperson for assistance. Once you find compatible components, you’ll need to disconnect your dishwasher from the power source.
Afterward, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and remove the outer door panel from your dishwasher. Then, you can replace the broken vent fan assembly and put everything back in place.
Here’s a useful video I found on how to replace a broken fan vent on a dishwasher:
5. Drain Impeller Obstructions
The drain impeller helps increase the pressure of the water that sprays out of the spinning arms and nozzles. It’s a small system at the bottom of the machine that spins and makes loud grinding sounds when obstructed.
To determine if the grinding sound is coming from the drain impeller, you’ll need to completely empty the machine and remove the drain lid.
Take off the racks and spinning arms, and drain the impeller lid. You’ll need to consult your owner’s manual or look up instructions on YouTube for your dishwasher model.
Once you remove leftover food debris, plastic, utensils, or other small items, the impeller should be silent.
quick hacks for DIY Repairs
As you can see, there are several potential culprits behind obnoxious grinding sounds in a dishwasher. However, it can be intimidating to troubleshoot and tackle issues if you don’t have DIY experience.
Let’s take a look at some tips you can use to make the repair process easier:
- Always start with the basics. If you hear unpleasant sounds coming from your dishwasher, open, empty, and clean your machine. There might be dislodged items or large food debris causing the issue. Rearrange items in the racks to ensure nothing is causing problems or hitting moving parts.
- Find compatible parts. Be sure to find compatible parts if you opt for the DIY route. You can look up models and part numbers online. You may need to order specialty components or parts directly from the manufacturer.
- Follow the owner’s manual. Always follow the owner’s manual when repairing or replacing parts. The instruction book will provide you with almost everything you need to know to conduct maintenance on your own. You can also use resources like YouTube or online forums to find information on your dishwasher model.
- Practice caution. It’s best to go slow and practice caution if you’re not familiar with the repair process. Ensure you disconnect the power, wear safety equipment, and take your time. Doing so will help you resolve issues without creating new ones.
When to Call a Professional
Unfortunately, you may have a severe mechanical issue that’s not easy to fix. In other cases, you may not have the time or desire to diagnose and repair your dishwasher by hand.
In these situations, you can contact a professional service technician to diagnose and resolve the problem for you. Be sure to call around and ask for different estimates to avoid paying expensive maintenance fees.