Why Is My Dishwasher Making A Whining Noise

When you turn on your dishwasher, you expect the soothing hum of water and detergent working together to clean your dishes. But what happens when that hum turns into an annoying whining noise? A whining dishwasher can be frustrating, not to mention concerning. In this article, we’ll dive into the possible reasons behind this unwelcome sound and explore solutions to get your dishwasher back to its quiet and efficient operation.

Understanding the Whining Noise

The first step in addressing the issue is understanding why your dishwasher is emitting a high-pitched whining sound. This noise can be a sign of an underlying problem within the dishwasher’s components. Before diving into potential solutions, let’s explore some common causes.

Common Causes of a Whining Dishwasher

Clogged Spray Arms

One possible culprit behind the noise could be clogged spray arms. These arms are responsible for distributing water throughout the dishwasher during the cleaning cycle. If they’re clogged with debris or mineral deposits, the water flow can be disrupted, leading to a whining noise as the motor strains to push water through.

Faulty Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve controls the flow of water into the dishwasher. If this valve is faulty or not functioning properly, it can result in an insufficient water supply. This can cause the dishwasher’s motor to work harder, producing a whining noise.

Worn-out Pump Motor

The pump motor is the heart of the dishwasher, driving the water circulation. Over time, the motor’s components can wear out, causing it to operate less efficiently. This reduced efficiency can lead to a distinct whining sound as the motor struggles to perform.

Defective Motor Bearings

Motor bearings allow the pump motor to spin smoothly. If these bearings are worn out or damaged, the motor can emit a whining noise as it operates. Ignoring this issue can further damage the motor and other components.

Misaligned Water Line

A misaligned water line can also contribute to the noise. If the water line is not properly connected or positioned, the water flow can be obstructed, causing the motor to work harder and generate a whining noise.

Assessing the Severity of the Issue

Before you jump to conclusions, it’s important to assess the severity of the whining noise. Sometimes, the noise may be temporary and caused by a minor issue, while other times it could indicate a more serious problem that requires immediate attention.

DIY Troubleshooting Steps

If you’re up for some hands-on troubleshooting, here are some steps you can take to address the whining noise:

Checking for Debris

Inspect the spray arms and filters for any debris or mineral buildup. Cleaning these components can improve water flow and potentially eliminate the noise.

Inspecting the Water Inlet Valve

Examine the water inlet valve for signs of damage or blockages. If necessary, clean or replace the valve to ensure proper water flow.

Examining the Pump Motor

Take a look at the pump motor for any visible damage or worn-out parts. While you’re at it, check the motor bearings as well.

Lubricating Motor Bearings

If the motor bearings appear to be the issue, applying lubricant can sometimes resolve the noise problem. Make sure to use a lubricant suitable for dishwasher components.

Realigning the Water Line

Ensure that the water line is properly aligned and connected. Adjusting the water line’s position can improve water flow and reduce strain on the motor.

When to Call in the Professionals

If your troubleshooting efforts don’t lead to a resolution or if you’re uncomfortable working with dishwasher components, it’s best to call in a professional appliance repair technician. They have the expertise to diagnose and fix the issue accurately.

Preventing Future Noises

Once you’ve resolved the whining noise, you’ll want to prevent it from happening again in the future:

Regular Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning filters, inspecting spray arms, and checking for leaks. This can help prevent debris buildup and prolong the life of your dishwasher.

Proper Loading

Avoid overloading the dishwasher, as this can strain the motor and other components. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for loading dishes properly.

Using the Right Detergent

Using the correct dishwasher detergent can make a difference. Using the wrong type or excessive detergent can lead to excess suds and stress the motor.

Replacing vs. Repairing

In some cases, the cost of repairing an older dishwasher may not be justified. If you’re frequently experiencing issues and the dishwasher is nearing the end of its lifespan, you might consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.


A whining dishwasher can disrupt the peaceful ambiance of your home and indicate underlying problems. By understanding the causes of the noise and following the troubleshooting steps, you can restore your dishwasher’s quiet efficiency. Whether it’s a clogged spray arm or a faulty water inlet valve, addressing the issue promptly will ensure clean dishes and a tranquil kitchen.


  1. Q: Can I use regular lubricant for the motor bearings?
    • A: No, it’s important to use a lubricant that is safe for dishwasher components. Consult your dishwasher’s manual for recommendations.
  2. Q: How often should I clean the filters?
    • A: Cleaning the filters once a month is a good practice to prevent debris buildup.
  3. Q: Are all dishwasher noises a cause for concern?
    • A: Not necessarily. Some noises, like water swishing, are normal. However, persistent and unusual noises should be investigated.
  4. Q: Can I repair the water inlet valve myself?
    • A: If you have experience with appliance repair, you can attempt it. Otherwise, it’s best to call a professional.
  5. Q: Are new dishwashers more energy-efficient?
    • A: Generally, yes. Newer models often come with improved energy efficiency, saving you money in the long run.
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