Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying – What to Do

Washing dishes is only a part of what a dishwasher should do. When the wash cycle completes, your dishes shouldn’t come out dripping wet with water. So, what is stopping your Whirlpool dishwasher from thoroughly drying your dishes?

Here are the main causes of why your Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t dry your dishes:

  • Improper dish arrangement
  • Unloading the dishes in the incorrect order
  • Choosing the wrong drying feature
  • Water not up to temperature
  • Damaged vent or heating element

Below, I’ll describe in greater detail what causes your Whirlpool dishwasher not to dry dishes and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying—Causes and Solutions

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying—Causes and Solutions

Whirlpool dishwashers are known for being incredibly reliable. Best of all, because Whirlpool products are made domestically, US consumers shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a trusted outlet to service their machines. Luckily, Whirlpool dishwashers rarely break down and require heavy-duty maintenance.

However, that doesn’t mean your Whirlpool dishwasher won’t require a few touch-ups once in a while. If there are memory issues, all you can do is just reset the Whirlpool dishwasher. Another common problem people have is that their dishes come out of the tub still dripping wet. And this issue is more complicated than it seems. Here are some of the causes.

1. Improper dish arrangement

Although the dishracks and cutlery baskets provide a rough guide on where your dishes belong, it’s not uncommon for users to arrange their plates and cookware in a random fashion.

Improper dish arrangement can prevent your dishes from getting sprayed clean. It might also cause water to pool in certain dishes, which become nearly impossible to dry without dumping out the water first. In addition, the pools of water can get all over the other dishes, so absolutely nothing will come out dry.

There are two things to avoid when loading a dishwasher, namely:

Overcrowding the dishracks—Placing too many items in the dishracks at a time will prevent everything from getting enough water and detergent. The least of your worries will be wet dishes. Worst-case scenario, we’re looking at food remnants clinging to the surface of your dishes.

Nesting cutlery—Even though it might seem like a good idea to place forks with forks and spoons with spoons, what might end up happening is that the dishwasher’s water won’t get into the crevices between the overlapping cutlery. That’s why you should alternate forks, spoons, and knives.

Solution #1: Pay attention to how you arrange your dishes

The first thing you should do is open your dishwasher’s manual to figure out how to properly load the dishracks. Inside the booklet, you’ll learn exactly where the cutlery, dishes, bowls, cookware, etc. belongs.

Solution #2: Add rinse aid to your dishwasher

Rinse aid reduces the surface tension of water. It coats your dishes and cutlery to make them repel water, so they will dry a lot quicker. As great as rinse aid is, you should still arrange your dishes in the correct manner to ensure optimal rinse aid distribution and drying.

2. Unloading the dishes in the incorrect order

Loading your dishwasher is just as important as unloading the dishwasher to prevent water from getting all over your newly-dried dishes. Even though proper dish arrangement aims to reduce pooling, it doesn’t mean that it will get rid of it completely.

When water pools in the dishes on the dishrack, it will come pouring down the moment you try to remove the dishes from the dishwasher. The water will get all over the bottom rack, so you will have to go back and dry your bottom dishes for a second time.

Solution: Unload from the bottom up

The easiest solution to prevent water from the top dishrack from falling onto the bottom rack is by unloading the bottom dishrack first. As you pull the dishes out, excess water will fall toward the bottom of the tub and eventually find its way into the drain line. Only after you’ve unloaded the bottom dishrack should you begin removing the contents from the top rack.

3. Choosing the wrong drying feature

Your Whirlpool dishwasher may come with various drying modes. When activating certain washing modes, such as Quick or Express, the drying feature is turned off altogether.

Solution: Select a longer drying mode

Before hitting the start button to begin a fresh wash cycle, make sure to choose the correct drying feature. Your dishwasher might have a High or Low setting, which determines how long your dishes sit in their racks to dry out.

There might also be an Extend Dry mode that keeps the dishwasher’s door locked for 25 to 35 minutes after the wash cycle has completed, giving more time for the remaining water droplets to dry up.

4. Water not up to temperature

Modern dishwashers, especially those made in the US, rely on heated water to dry dishes instead of using the heating element. When the wash cycle is done, the heat inside the dishwasher will force the water droplets to release from the surface of your dishes.

This typically works best with hotter water. Generally speaking, the temperature of the water should be around 120°F to promote faster drying. If it doesn’t get that hot, there are 2 alternate solutions.

Solution #1: Run your kitchen faucet for 10 seconds before running your dishwasher

Before you start the wash cycle, make sure to run your kitchen faucet for 10 to 20 seconds. This will remove the leftover cold water in the pipes, allowing freshly heated water to enter your dishwasher. In addition, this will reduce how long it takes for your dishwasher’s heating element to raise the temperature of the water.

Solution #2: Increase the temperature setting on your water heater

In extreme cases, your only option might be to go down to your basement and change the temperature setting on your water heater. However, this will affect how hot the water is in other parts of your home. Generally, if your dishwasher doesn’t increase the temperature of the water to sanitizing levels, it has more to do with a busted heating element than it does with a faulty water heater.

5. Damaged vent or heating element

We cannot disregard the fact that your dishwasher might not dry your dishes because some components are faulty.

There are two things you should inspect—the vent and the heating element assembly.

The vent is responsible for releasing steam and moisture from the dishwasher after the wash cycle has been completed, whereas the heating element raises the temperature of the water to sanitize and dry your dishes.

Solution #1: Replace the vent

Open your dishwasher and inspect the top-left corner of the tub. If the vent is closed or if there are loose parts blocking the vent, you will have to fix the vent or replace it completely.

Solution #2: Replace the heating element assembly

If the vent seems to be in working order, you should open your dishwasher and inspect the heating element assembly. This includes the heating coil, the heat pump, and the thermostat. Please refer to our guide for an in-depth explanation of how to inspect the heating element assembly.

Why Don’t Plastic Dishes Dry in a Dishwasher?

If you use plastic dishes, drinkware, and cutlery exclusively (nothing to be ashamed about, folks!), then you’ve probably discovered how poorly your dishwasher dries them. This is actually a common problem, but unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it.

Plastic is an insulator, so it will take extreme levels of heat for it to feel hot to the touch. Because of this, leftover moisture after a wash cycle will cling to the surface of plastic a lot better than it will on ceramic, glass, and metal dishes or cutlery. You can try increasing how much rinse aid you use per wash cycle, but this is usually something plastic-dish users have to live with.

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