Woodard Blog

6 Common Causes of Dishwasher Leaks

Common causes of dishwasher leaks by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo. If the cycle of wiping up puddles of water from under your dishwasher is as consistent as the wash cycle itself, we’re sorry to tell you that you’ve got a leak on your hands. Pooling water is messy but can also be dangerous. Fortunately with a little know-how, most dishwasher repairs can be done at home. Here we’ll cover 6 common causes of dishwasher leaks to help you master the mess.

A great place to start? Consult the owner’s manual or research your model number online for additional tips and resources. Many of the major dishwasher manufacturers, including Bosch, GE, Fridgidare and Kitchenaid have terrific consumer-friendly websites packed with helpful information. You can find a local retailer for parts or even chat with an expert online.

Leaky Dishwasher Door

Is the water accumulating directly under the door? A leak in the door itself is likely the cause of your issue. Your door latch may be bent or loose, or not latching properly. Tighten the latch with a screwdriver to secure the closure. New latch systems can also be installed. If water still runs from the door, it may be time to replace the gasket. This is the rubber sealing on the door that prevents water from flowing out of your dishwasher. If your gasket is damaged, this can be replaced with relative ease. Soak your new gasket in warm soapy water, which will make it pliable and easier to install. While you’re working on the door, go ahead and tighten the hinges if they’re loose. Safety alert: Always disconnect power to the unit before doing any kind of repairs. Water, electricity and a novice repairman (no insult intended) don’t mix!

Tub Trouble

If your dishwasher has seen its fair share of loads, a leak may have developed from a hole worn in the tub. Detergents and minerals can corrode the bottom of your tub, causing water to seep through and collect under your dishwasher. It’s possible to fix some tubs, but depending on the age of your unit and severity of the problem, you may need to replace your dishwasher entirely.

Loose or Damaged Valves

Over time, connections and hoses inside your dishwasher can work loose. Check your drain hoses to ensure everything’s securely connected (including the clamps holding the hose in place on either side) and verify your water inlet valve isn’t stuck, which would certainly cause flooding. If you have cracked hoses, they’re easy to replace with a trip to the hardware store.

Improper Alignment

Your dishwasher needs to be level, else the possibility of water gathering under your unit is highly likely. Place a level in the bottom of your dishwasher. If misaligned, place shims under the unit and measure again. Adjust until you’ve perfectly leveled your dishwasher.

Wrong Suds

Regular dish soap is a big no-no—it foams up too much and can lead to leaking. Only use detergents specifically intended for dishwashers. Even if you’re rinsing your dishes with soap prior to running them through the dishwasher, the solution on the dishes can bubble up and put pressure against the door seal, causing it to eventually leak. Avoid using dish soap when rinsing dishes to avoid this problem.

Dishwasher Over-Filling

Your unit may be taking in more water than it should and not draining properly. This will force water out of your dishwasher and on to your floor. You may be experiencing problems with the drain itself or the float valve isn’t sealing properly. Depending on the type of dishwasher you have, this would be a good time to consult your owner’s manual and/or the manufacturer’s website.

Appliance issues can be a pain in the neck, and dishwasher leak repair is probably not on your list of favorite things to do, but patiently troubleshooting the problem can save you a lot of time and money in waiting for a professional repair service to come to your rescue.

18 thoughts on “6 Common Causes of Dishwasher Leaks

  1. Kelly

    I notice after a friend used the wrong dishwasher liquid my dishwasher started leaking from the bottom. Even after it was cleaned out from all the suds. I ran it again it still leaks from the bottom….plz help?

  2. Diana Dickson

    I replaced the gasket on my dishwasher drawer and it still leaks from under the door. Now what do I do??


  3. Robert

    I had a good amount of water on the floor appearing to be from the door. I took the door apart and it turned out to be a large quantity of mineral deposits accumulated in the vent (near handle) for the heat and steam to escape. The deposits were collecting the water vapor and it allowed to run down the space between the inner liner and the panel you see when the door is closed. There is also a removable plastic cover/vent on the opposire side just inside the door, it too was packed with lime scale. I cleaned it all out an no more leak. Good think I decided to take a peek inside as I was going to buy a new one within the week. The machine is a Whirlpool and you will need torx bit screwdrivers or socket bit if you do this.

      1. Keenan

        Thank you! Took the door apart, cleaned the vent, and problem solved. The vent looked clean from both sides so taking it apart would not have occurred to me. Thanks again. I, too, was about to buy a new dishwasher. Chris

  4. Sharon

    Question: My home has been vacant for 5 months & now under contract an inspection was completed. The inspection report said the dishwasher ran successfully on its normal cycle. Two weeks later my realtor entered the home and discovered water pooled on the hard wood floor below the dishwasher and upon opening the dishwasher discovered the tub was full. The inspector said the tub was empty when he left two weeks ago. The realty lock box has no record of entry into the home since then. How did the dishwasher fill all on its own assuming the inspector is telling the truth. The cycle is 2 hour 45 minutes total and the wash/rince cycle runs 89 minutes so the inspector would have had to stop the dishwasher early since the inspection only took him 90+ minutes to two hours at most if he arrived a little early. I suspect he would have pressed the start/cancel button to begin the 90 minute drain. If the water did drain could it have come back two weeks later and filled the dishwasher? I wouldn’t think so, but desperately trying to figure this out. Thank you if you can offer any answers or advice. (Fridgidaire washer)

    1. Jessica Burgett

      Hi Sharon! I apologize for the delayed response and I’m sorry to hear about the water damage you’re facing! I am going to escalate your question and we will get back to you ASAP with either an answer for you or a referral for you to call for more pointed advice on this particular issue. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Tracy

    I have a similar problem with my dishwasher as Sharon’s, posted on 2/25.
    I bought a house, it had a barely used Bosch dishwasher. We moved it to another kitchen in the house. After professionally installed, the dishwasher worked fine, but after 2 days, the water built up inside of the dishwasher and water leaked onto the basement below, but not onto the kitchen floor. This happened several times as long as the water pipe valve is turned on, as it should. I even left the dishwasher door ajar thinking may be the dishwasher turns on by itself? The plumber looked at it 2 times, he said to replace the dishwasher. The appliance man came 3 times and said the dishwasher is fine but may be is the the drain issue… I had spent much money for all these services but no one can tell me the cause of the leak. WHY would the water build up in dishwasher by itself and leaked to the floor below after days of no use? No one has been living in the house either. Can you please help asap so I know which direction to go to resolve it…?
    Thanks, Tracy

    1. Jessica Burgett

      Hi Tracy! Thank you for commenting. We are so sorry to hear about your issue! Unfortunately, we are not as well-versed in appliance functionality issues as we are in the possible cleanup and repair options after such an issue. Based on the fact that you’ve had a plumber and appliance specialist come in to take a look, perhaps contacting Bosch directly might help? Maybe their customer service department can better advise you on how to proceed. Again, we are terribly sorry for the issue you’re facing!

        1. Jessica Burgett

          Tracy – If it makes you feel any better at all, I am having an appliance person come by today to look at mine that is doing the exact same thing! We also think it’s that valve – I guess we’ll see! Best of luck with yours!

          1. Dawn Strobach

            Jessica, was it the inlet valve? I have the same issue with my dishwasher! (and can I ask how much the repair was?)


          2. Jessica Burgett

            Hi Dawn! It sure was. I will email you with details about our job in particular. Thanks for the reply!

  6. dawn h

    I have a whirlpool dishwasher. It has leaked a medium size puddle before but then didn’t the next load that i washed. And continued to not leak again fort months…but the last 2 times i’ve run it, water covered my floor. the first time i cleaned up the water…looked inside to find suds still inside. I canceled the wash and heard it drain the remaining water. when it finished i restarted it on rinse only…and i didn’t find any more water my floor at all. So i restarted it the next day to find my whole floor was covered in water. do you have any idea where i should start my search to fix this problem. The dishwasher is only a 1 1/2 old so i can’t imagine why this would be happening.

    1. Jessica Burgett

      Hi Dawn – I would recommend calling a local appliance repair company. We had a similar issue and we’re not “handy” by any means, so we called one that can fix most things, and they came, found that a part was bad, picked the part up, and then replaced it for us. It wasn’t a big deal at all, and we’ve been back in business since then! It ended up being our intake valve. Best of luck – this doesn’t sound like any fun at all! – Jessica, Marketing Coordinator


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