The dishwasher is one of the most used appliances in the home. It can save us time and water in our effort to keep our dishes and kitchen clean. However, if not properly used it is an appliance that can ruin a floor with water leaks, wreck a counter top and even affect our health. To save money you may be able to fix the problem yourself. The number one priority should be safety. Always unplug or cut the power to any appliance before it’s worked on. Also, keep in mind stainless steel tubs are extremely sharp and very dangerous. They have caused many trips to hospital emergency rooms.
There can be several different causes for dishwasher leaks. The most common reason is using too much detergent. This is usually an intermittent problem. When too much detergent is used (especially liquid detergent) suds form and the wave action of the spraying water will force them over the front edge of the tub bottom where there is no seal. The suds will drip out as water from the corner of the door. The fix is simple – use less detergent. Unless you’re washing very soiled dishes it’s necessary to use just a tablespoon of detergent split between the dispensers and the floor of the unit. A good test for detergent use is to start an empty dishwasher in a hot cycle without adding detergent and let it run for 5 minutes. Open the door to check for suds. To remove suds just add a teaspoon of cooking oil to the soapy water and restart the unit for several minutes until the suds have disappeared and then drain.
Other causes of leaks can be a faulty door gasket or other seals, a loose spray arm or cover causing water to spray toward the door bottom, a bad fill valve or supply hose or even problems with a drain pump or motor gasket.
Even if you are able to fix the leak yourself it’s important to monitor the dishwasher to ensure the leak has completely stopped. It’s a good tip to place a water leak detector on the floor beneath the unit as an early warning before damage can be done. This is a very small investment that can avoid thousands of dollars in home repair. Once again – if you’re not confident the leak has stopped a professional should be called.