Kitchen equipment

Whirlpool Dishwasher Fills but does not Wash.

After having a hearty meal, the last thing most of us want to do is to wash the dishes. Since there is no way around doing the dishes, we have to force ourselves to do the chore. 

Imagine doing the dishes, a chore you do not like, and realizing that your whirlpool dishwasher fills but will not wash. Frustrating, right?

It is not a secret that the whirlpool brand manufactures some of the best kitchen appliances. Their dishwasher is long-lasting, and it rarely breaks down. 

Rarely, however, does not mean never. At times, this dishwasher may develop some problems. The good news is that most of these problems are easy to troubleshoot. 


The whirlpool dishwasher experiences a significant problem where it fills but will not wash.

The filling is the initial process of dishwashing. If the dishwasher is filling and not cleaning, all the other dishwashing stages will be halted. 

There are three main reasons why your whirlpool dishwasher is filling but not washing; the motor is faulty, clogged wash arms, and a stuck detergent drawer. 

Stick with me and learn more about these causes and what you can do to troubleshoot them. 

Also, Read On: KitchenAid Dishwasher Control Panel Not Working: How to Fix It.

The Whirlpool Dishwasher

The whirlpool brand is a respected brand when it comes to kitchen appliances. Consumers have trusted it for a long time to provide high-quality appliances.

Whirlpool dishwashers come in different types and sizes. Whatever the size of your kitchen, there is a whirlpool dishwasher that fits it. Also, if you want a portable or a fixed dishwasher, they have you sorted. 

All whirlpool dishwashers have various features that enable dishwashing. There is the control panel that issues commands. 

Some dishwashers will have the control panel on the door, while others will have it tucked away. Whichever the case, on the control panel is where you will find the buttons that will enable you to program it. 


Cycle buttons enable you to choose the type of washing cycle you need. Some of the options you can select with this button are; one hour wash, soak and clean, heavy, and the normal process. 

The other buttons found on the control panel are;

● The delay button allows you to set the dishwasher now, but the washing will occur later.

● The heat and a dry button you press when you want to dry your dishes. 

● Control lock button that allows you to lock your dishwasher to prevent kids from using it. 

● The start button that you press to start your dishwasher. 

Also, Check Out: Why Does my KitchenAid Dishwasher Stop Mid-cycle? (How to Fix it)

Why your Whirlpool Dishwasher Fills but does not Wash, and How to Fix it


As we have seen above, there are three main reasons why a whirlpool dishwasher fills but will not wash.

In this part, I will discuss these three reasons and tell you what you can do to fix them. Keep reading. 

1. The Motor is Faulty

The motor is the dishwasher part that sets the washing cycle in motion. The motor has two main jobs: to drive the pump, which forces water up, washes the dishes, and forces the water out through the drainage pipe. 

The motor receives a voltage from the control panel for the whirlpool dishwasher to start washing the dishes. It starts running and, as a result, drives the pump. The pump then forces water up to the chambers of the dishwasher. 

This water is under very high pressure, and when it combines with the detergent, they clean your dishes. The water comes out through the wash arms. 

After all the dishes have been cleaned, the motor drives the pump again, forcing the dirty water out through the drainage pipe. 

Supposing the motor is faulty, none of these processes will take place. The dishwasher will fill, but no washing will take place. 


What are the Causes of a Faulty Motor?

The motor does not become defective out of the blues. Some factors must cause it to be faulty. Below are the main reasons why your dishwasher motor is terrible;

● Overheating. If the motor overheats, it will stop working, and the wash cycle will not happen. 

● Dirt. Every electrical appliance that has a motor has fans. These fans allow the motor to breathe, thus preventing overheating. When dirt blocks the fan, the motor will not breathe and overheat. 

● An overcurrent. In case of a power surge, the motor will short circuit, and it will not work again until you change it. 

● Moisture. When moisture accumulates on the motor, it will corrode until it gets to the inner parts. When these parts come into contact with any water, they will short circuit, and the motor will stop working. 

3 Reasons Why Your New Dishwasher is Not Draining. Click to Read.

How to Fix a Faulty motor


If you wonder how you will know whether your whirlpool dishwasher has a faulty motor, I have the answer.

After your dishwasher is done with the filling process, you should hear a hum indicating that the motor has started. 

If you do not hear this hum, your motor is faulty. To ensure that your motor is not working, you have to conduct a continuity test. 

Below is a simple guide on how to conduct a continuity test on your motor;

● Disconnect the dishwasher from the power and locate the motor. 

● Unbolt all the screws in the panel that houses the motor to access the motor. 

● Detach the two cords that are attached to the motor. 

● Set a multimeter to Rx1 and touch the multimeter’s probes to each motor terminal. 

● You should get a reading of zero or something, therefore. If you get any other reading, the motor is faulty. 

Performing a conductivity test is simple. However, you can call a technician if you do not have the multimeter or do not trust yourself. 

After you have confirmed that the motor is defective, it is now time to fix it. How do you fix it? The only way out is to replace the motor. 

How to Replace a Motor


Follow these steps to change your whirlpool dishwasher’s motor;

● Disconnect the dishwasher from the main power.

● Open the door of the dishwasher and remove the lower rack. After that, detach the upper rack and remove it too. 

● Remove the wash arms assembly.

● Detach the two cords that lead to the motor assembly

● Detach the drain pipe from the pump

● Lift the pump and the motor assembly from the bottom of your dishwasher

● Remove the defective motor 

● Install the new motor

● Reattach all the components you had detached earlier. Ensure you put them back correctly in the correct order. 

● Put some water in the washing chamber to test for leaks. If you find none, put the racks back and close the door. 

These steps are simple. If you feel like you are getting stuck, you can consult the whirlpool dishwasher manual.

Every whirlpool dishwasher comes with one, and it will explain further. 

2. Clogged Spray Arms


Clogging is a common problem in kitchen appliances that use water. It is mainly caused by water minerals that harden in the tubes. 

Another thing that causes the spray arms to clog is stubborn food deposits. They will not come out despite the pressure of the water. 

For the dishwasher to clean the dishes, the pump forces water under high pressure through the wash arms. The wash arms are also called the spray arms. 

If the wash arms are clogged, there will be no water getting to the dishes, and therefore the dishes will not wash. 

How to fix Clogged Spray Arms


As we have seen, clogging can result from food deposits or minerals from the constant use of hard water. There are two ways you can use to unclog the wash arms. 

First, you can use a toothpick or a thin wire to remove the food deposits and minerals. While you can remove these deposits without detaching the wash arms, I advise you to remove the wash arms for best results. 

Second, you can deep clean or descale the spray arms. This method will thoroughly clean the wash arms and solve your problem. 

 You can combine the two methods and thoroughly clean your wash arms. How do you do this?

Follow these steps;

● Disconnect the dishwasher from the power socket

● Remove the wash arms from the dishwasher

● Using a think wire, push all the food deposits from the spray arms

● In a bowl, put warm water and white vinegar in an equal ratio

● Deep wash the arms in this mixture. Ensure the mixture goes through the wash arms to descale them. 

● Rinse the wash arms several times to remove all the vinegar

● Put the wash arms back in the dishwasher, and you are good to go. 

3. Stuck Detergent Drawer


For a dishwasher to wash your dishes, it needs a detergent. After the dishwasher is filled with water, the wash cycle begins. 

The motor enables the pump to rotate, forcing the wash arms to sprinkle water at high pressure through the dishes. For this process to be complete, the detergent drawer must open and let some detergent out. 

If for some reason, the detergent drawer does not open, then the dishwasher will not clean your dishes. 

So, if neither of the above factors affects your wash cycle, the problem might be lying with the detergent drawer. 

How do you check if the detergent drawer is stuck? Here is how;

● Set your dishwasher to run a wash cycle.

● After about fifteen-minute, discontinue the cycle and open the dishwasher. 

● Check and see if the detergent drawer has opened fully. If it has, your problem is not the detergent drawer. If it hasn’t opened, you have found the problem and need to fix it. 


How to Fix a stuck Detergent Drawer

If you realize that the detergent of your whirlpool dishwasher is stuck, it might be because the spring that enables it to open and close is malfunctioning. 

Supposing that is the case, you can try cleaning the spring first before replacing it. It might be stuck due to rust. 

Clean it and remove the rust, and check if it works. 

In case it doesn’t work, you need to replace the spring, and you will have fixed the problem. 

Also, Check Out: The Best Dishwasher Under $700 Reviews.

Final Point


It isn’t very reassuring to try and do your dishes only to realize that the dishwasher fills but does not wash. Please do not despair, though, because you can fix this problem, as we have discovered above. 

Whirlpool dishwashers are a long-lasting brand, and it will be long before they give you some problems.

 This problem of the dishwasher filling but not washing is a common one. Various factors cause it, as we have seen. 

These factors that cause this problem can be fixed. Some are easy to fix on your own. Others are a bit complicated. 

If you are not well endowed in that sector, you should consider getting professional help. All the best!

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