Is Your Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes?

dishwasher drying dishes

It may not be the primary purpose of a dishwasher, but drying dishes and silverware might in actual fact be more difficult for a dishwasher than cleaning them. Dishes, glassware and silverware have lots of nooks and crannies that may trap water preventing it from evaporating, thus as a dishwasher loses heat water droplets form from the steam. Plus, the strain of drying dishes can often lead to dishwasher repairs more often than other appliance problems.

Dishwashers also make use of a number of means to get your crockery and cutlery dry. Some opt for a heating element to warm the inside of the machine and assist with evaporation, some heat the water to a higher temperature nearing the final rinse, others employ a fan, and certain models use a mix of all three. There are thus a number of reasons why a dishwasher won’t dry dishes and a number of options to improve the situation.

Plastic items are less likely to dry fully than other materials as it doesn’t retain heat in the same way which helps with the drying process, so it’s worth seeing whether the items that aren’t drying are predominantly plastic items.

If dishes are coming out wet you can enlist the help of a dishwasher repair Madison WI service like Capital Appliance Repair or first use this troubleshooting guide to help determine why your dishwasher is not drying dishes and how the problem can be repaired.

Top Reasons Your Dishwasher Isn’t Drying

There is nothing more irritating than an appliance that isn’t working as it should, regardless of whether it’s a TV, tumble dryer or dishwasher we expect them to do the job they were made for. If you open the dishwasher to wet plates here are a few places you can look to help you figure out the problem.

Not all appliances are created equal and some dishwashers perform to a higher standard compared to others. But if if your dishwasher has always dried your crockery and cutlery in the past one of these issues could be the problem.

Check the Placement of Your Dishes

Sometimes there is nothing actually wrong with the dishwasher. Before assuming the appliance is faulty you should look at how it has been stacked, ensuring it isn’t overloaded. Also be aware that plastics are more difficult to dry than metal, glass or ceramics.

Inspect The Rinse Aid Dispenser

Rinse aid plays a key role in drying your dishes and so if you’ve forgotten to top up or your rinse aid dispenser is not working this can stop your dishes coming out properly dry.

The best thing to do is inspect the dispenser for cracks and check that there is rinse aid inside.

Have a Look at The Heating Element

Without enough heat your dishes will not dry so a not working heating coil may be the explanation your dishwasher is not drying dishes. If your dishes aren’t hot when they come out of the machine this can mean that the heating coil is broken.

To check the heating coil you will need to unplug the dishwasher, locate the heating element, you might need the owners manual for this, then check for continuity using a multimeter.

Inspect the Thermostat

The thermostat ensures your machine doesn’t overheat, determining the heat of the water and air during drying. Therefore, if it’s faulty this can result in your appliance not reaching a high enough temperature.

If you check the heating element and do not uncover a fault but your dishwasher isn’t getting hot, then the thermostat might be the issue. Once again you can test this using a multimeter.

Inspect The Drying Fan and Vent

Many appliances will use a fan and vent to suck moist air out of the appliance. If either of these elements are broken then the water vapor will remain in the appliance preventing the crockery and cutlery from drying.

You can utilize your user manual to check if your machine uses a fan and find its location. Don’t forget to ensure the dishwasher is disconnected before trying to access the fan.

You can look at the fan and vent to ascertain if anything is blocking it that could stop it from functioning as it should. If there is nothing obvious you can then test for continuity using a multimeter.

Tips to Increase Drying Ability

There are a variety of things you can do to increase your dishwashers effectiveness at drying and ensure you need to get the drying up cloth out as infrequently as possible.

  1. Allow sufficient space between crockery and cutlery. Overloading the appliance limits the circulation of both water and air making cleaning and drying your dishes more difficult. It could be tempting to cram everything in but you will get better results if you leave enough space so that water and air can circulate freely.
  2. Make use of rinse aid. Some detergents already have this but even so, adding a separate rinse aid to the dishwasher can only improve matters. Rinse aid helps reduce spotting and gives your glassware in particular a streak-free shine but it also breaks the bond between water molecules and your crockery and cutlery helping the water to run off them and therefore speeding up drying times.
  3. Open your dishwasher as soon as the cycle has finished. Some new machines do this automatically, but if yours doesn’t, opening the dishwasher when the program finishes can help allow the water to evaporate and prevent water droplets forming as the machine cools down.
  4. Find out if your dishwasher uses a heat feature and utilize it. Setting a higher temperature will lead to better drying times and it could be possible to add more heat at different points in the program.
  5. Think about how you empty your machine. This is simply because cups and glasses that are upside down on the top shelf often have a concave bottom where water can pool. Emptying the bottom rack first stops you spilling this water onto the crockery and cutlery below.


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If this repair guide hasn’t worked and your dishwasher is not drying dishes it might be necessary to search for dishwasher repair near me to find Capital Appliance Repair in Madison or perhaps it is time to buy a new dishwasher.

More Dishwasher Problems:

  • Dishwasher Being Loud
  • Dishwasher Not Turning On
  • Dishwasher Not Draining
  • Dishwasher Leaking