Why is the KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Cleaning?

When your dishwasher isn't working properly, working in the kitchen can quickly come to a standstill.

Dishwasher Won't Start

Keep your dishwasher in good working order by checking a few things from time to time.Keep your dishwasher in good working order by checking a few things from time to time.
A KitchenAid dishwasher that isn't cleaning may be an easy fix, or an indicator that a professional should be called to service the machine. Before calling that repair person, troubleshoot the machine yourself with a few simple steps.

Check the breaker or power source of your dishwasher if the dishwasher won't turn on.

Check to make sure that the door properly latches and that it is not blocked from closing properly. If the door doesn't close the machine can't run.

Reset your cycle selector and try to run the machine again.

Dishwasher Won't Clean

Rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, especially if the machine is used less than every two to three days. Dried-out or excess food on the dishes may limit the effectiveness of the wash cycle.

Run hot water in the faucet closest to your dishwasher for one minute, then check the water temperature with a candy thermometer. KitchenAid dishwashers should receive water that is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cold, the dishes won't get as clean.

Remove the dishwasher filter located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Rinse out debris and buildup in the kitchen sink. Check for lodged wrappers or toothpicks, which may prohibit the filter water from draining properly.

Use the correct amount of automatic dishwashing detergent, no less than 1 tablespoon of detergent per load. Use between 4 teaspoons to 9 teaspoons depending upon your water hardness and the dirtiness of the dishes. Never add traditional liquid hand soap, which can fill the machine with suds.

If dishes are left with a film on them, clean the machine by adding 2 cups of vinegar to a glass cup and stand the cup upright in the bottom rack of the dishwasher for a complete cycle with no detergent. The vingegar will run out of the cup on its own when water is sprayed in the normal course of washing.

If you suspect hard water is to blame for your dishwasher not working properly, add one half cup of a calcium, lime and rust cleaner to your empty dishwasher and run one cycle. Set the dishwasher to the "rinse" cycle to remve an excess chemicals.

Things You Will Need

  • Candy thermometer
  • Vingar
  • Glass cup
  • CLR cleaner


  • If the "clean" light is flashing, it indicates a problem with the heater circuit. KitchenAid recommends calling a technician for this problem.


  • Never touch the heating element inside the dishwasher after the machine has run as it could severely burn you.

About the Author

Daniella Lauren has worked with eHow and various new media sites as a freelance writer since 2009. Her work covers topics in education, business, and home and garden. Daniella holds a Master of Science in elementary education and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Pensacola Christian College.