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My Dishwasher Is Leaking Soap Bubbles

Sean Russell

After the dishwasher fills with water, the detergent cup cover releases and soap flows into the water sprayed onto the dishes. This action creates a rich lather of soap bubbles that, in the detergent industry, is referred to as "sudsing." While this process usually takes place within the confines of the dishwasher's cleaning chamber, several problems can cause a leak that pushes soap bubbles out of the machine and onto the kitchen floor.

Too Much Sudsing

When a dishwasher leaks soap bubbles, one of the most common reasons is the type of detergent used in the dishwasher. Detergents use the creation of soap bubbles, or sudsing, as part of their cleaning process. Inferior dishwasher soap or soap not designed for use in a dishwasher such as hand washing dish soap will cause too much sudsing. The excess suds build up around the door and can press through the door opening, leaking out past the door. Solve this problem by changing your detergent.

Door Fasteners

If a new detergent doesn't help, check the fasteners that attach the door to the washer. The hinges at the bottom of the door may rust over time and can become loose or unhinged, especially if the dishwasher has recently been the victim of an impact. Additionally, the door latch that locks the door closed during a wash may experience faults, from intermittent lock malfunction to full-blown lock failure. In either case, contact a certified repair professional for repair or replacement of the faulty parts.

Spray Arm

Blasting the door with soapy water will also create conditions for soapy leaks from the dishwasher. This happens when the spray arms are misaligned or otherwise damaged. Damage can come from a dish falling down from the top onto the spray arm or from the arm encountering obstruction from large plates, such as serving dishes, on the bottom rack. Large particles of dried food can sometimes obstruct the jets of the spray arm, causing water to spray with greater force from the unblocked jets. If the problem is dirt, running the dishwasher empty with white vinegar will break up the dirt. Damaged spray arms require replacement.

Blown Gasket

The gasket is the soft plastic piece that surrounds the rim of the door. While this piece is soft when the dishwasher is new, it can become rigid and even crack or break over time. If this happens, the door will no longer seal properly and water will leak, especially during the soapy wash part of the cycle. Replacement solves leaks caused by a broken or rigid gasket.