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9 Stupid Reasons Why Your Dishwashers Not Drying Dishes

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Inside: Have you ever wondered why water puddles on the bottoms of bowls, and cups once the entire dishwasher cycle is completed? Read on to learn the mysterious reasons why your dishwashers not drying dishes.

After a busy day at work, you come home only to remember you ran the dishwasher before you left in the morning. Your judgemental mother-in-law’s on her way over to watch the kids because you and your honey have to be at your kid’s school for a parent-teacher conference in less than an hour.

Knowing you need to put the dishes away before Cruella DeVille barges through the door, you open the dishwasher and start haphazardly pulling the dishes out, only to be in the midst of a mammoth flash flood that explodes all over your freshly ironed blouse.

Water and crumb-like particles are clinging to life on the bottom of your coffee mug. The bowls which magically flipped to an upright position start to resemble your neighbor’s swimming pool filled with dirt and debris which they forgot to clean.

You scream out loud, “What the hay-diddle-diddle-the-cat-in-the-fiddle, is wrong with this mother ##$%$@ dishwasher? Why won’t it dry the dishes”?

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I’m sure this won’t come as news to you, but product manufacturers tend to stretch the truth. Kinda like pulling a piece of gum out of your hair, or Pinocchio’s nose. 

There are a lot of reasons why your dishes aren’t coming out dry after your dishwashing cycle has been completed. Although faulty mechanisms can be the root cause, there’s one specific reason, manufacturers don’t want you to know why your dishwasher doesn’t dry the dishes.

Before we can put full blame on the appliance manufacturers, there are a few reasons why your dishwasher may not be drying the dishes after the drying cycles are completed.

The fact of the matter is this. The purpose of a dishwasher is to clean your dishes. If you look at your manufacturer’s guide that came with the dishwasher, you’ll find heat and air dry categories under the operating instructions. Nowhere in the user manual does it state, “Our product is guaranteed to completely dry your dishes”, and with good reason.

The image below is pulled from the owner’s manual of the Frigidaire dishwasher manual: 

Why isn't my Frigidaire Dishwasher drying? How can I make my dishwasher dry better? How do I know if my heating element is bad in my dishwasher? How do you fix a dishwasher that is not drying? Is a dishwasher supposed to completly dry dishes? Should my dishes be dry after dishwasher? Why are my dishes still dirty after dishwasher? This is the real reason why your dishwashers not drying dishes. Have you ever wondered why water puddles on the bottoms of bowls, and cups once the entire dishwasher cycle is completed? Read on to learn the mysterious reasons why your dishwashers not drying dishes.

Where does it state the dishwasher will dry your dishes? It doesn’t because they can’t guarantee it.

If your dishes are still wet after the dishwasher has completed its cycle and you’ve exhausted all avenues, you’ll want to stick around to hear the main reason why your dishes remain wet. 

I’ll tell you this; the reason will boggle your mind.

9 reasons why your dishwasher may not be drying your dishes properly

Your rinse aid is out

It’s hard to fathom your dishes may not dry properly without rinse aid. As strange as it may seem, there is a scientific reason for using rinse aid besides making your glassware spot-free.

Rinse aid uses a mixture of chemicals that promote the water from beading up causing the water to dry rapidly. When water doesn’t bead, it’s supposed to form a thin layer of water, which would evaporate easier, but sometimes that’s not always the case.

If your bowl, cup, or container has a thick lip on the bottom, the water that ends up there will be deeper than on a bowl, cup, or container that doesn’t have a lip. Case in point; see the image below.

why are my dishes still dirty after dishwasher. this is the real reason why your dishwashers not drying dishes. Have you ever wondered why water puddles on the bottoms of bowls, and cups once the entire dishwasher cycle is completed? Read on to learn the mysterious reasons why your dishwashers not drying dishes.

If the item you’re putting in your dishwasher has an area that will collect water, it will be in your best interest to adjust the bowl, cup, or container in a position where water would slide off.

The door was opened too soon

There are times when the door to the dishwasher may be opened before it completed its heat cycle. When the door to the dishwasher was opened prematurely, this will allow a burst of cool air to enter the unit. Once the cool air meets the hot air, it will cause condensation, which will redistribute the moisture on your bowls, cups, and plastic containers.

The drain hose is blocked

Figuring out to see if your drain hose is blocked is pretty easy to determine. If your dishes are still wet and there’s a pool of water on the base of the dishwasher unit, you more than likely have a block somewhere in the drain hose.

You’ll want to check for blocks in the house that are typically located under your sink. If there was a block and once it’s been dislodged, you’ll want to run the dishwasher again just in case some debris or water backflow didn’t contaminate your clean dishes.

The drain filter is blocked

A blocked drain filter and drain hose will both net a puddle of water on the bottom of the dishwasher; however if the drain filter is blocked with food particles, you’ll be able to easily spot that.

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If you notice there’s food lodged in the drain filter, you’ll want to remove the filter, clean out the food particles, and run the dishwasher again.

The drain pump isn’t working

The drain pump forces the water out of the dishwasher, but if it’s not working the water won’t go anywhere. You may hear loud, strange sounds coming from the dishwasher. Typically, if the drain pump isn’t working, your once quiet dishwasher will be moaning in agony.

In other words; you’ll hear the noise.

You’re unloading your dishes the wrong way

Let me be the first to say, this one is a load of crap and stinks worse than a skunk rolling in a pile of horse manure, but the manufacturers would like to mention your poor unloading skills can cause water to pool on your dishes.

Now on the other hand, if you’re not loading your dishwasher properly to allow water to flow, then that’s a huge red flag for water to remain on your dishes.

Forgetting to turn the heat on

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Okay, this one’s a given, and it happens on occasion. Before running the dishwasher, to ensure the dishwasher has a better chance of drying the dishes, you’ll want to make sure you’ve selected the “heat dry” option.

Your dishwasher came with defective parts

Yes, even new items come with defective parts. The majority of the defective parts are:

  • Dishwasher vent – this allows the damp air to be released after the wash cycle. If the vent doesn’t open properly, the air won’t be released and your dishes will remain wet.
  • Busted fan motor – The fan motor is attached to the vent system and if the blades aren’t working, there will be no airflow; hence, wet dishes.
  • Bad heating element – If the heating element doesn’t work, nothing’s going to get dry.

The real reason why your dishwashers not drying dishes

If you have an older model dishwasher and it’s still functioning properly, you may find you don’t have this issue, and here’s the reason why.

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Hard to believe but those machines that weren’t energy efficient had a heating element that worked. 

Nowadays, with the world being all “earthy-crunchy, let’s all be green and environmentally conscious”, blah blah blah, is giving us more work to do. 

You see, it was that extra energy that sucked the water dry. By attempting to be “energy-conscious” and feel as though we’re saving money on our electric bill (which we’re not), it’s leaving us in a deficit when it comes to having an appliance that works the way it was invented, or an appliance that does a sub-par job. 

This is how you get your dishes dry while in the dishwasher

Take a microfiber cloth, or clean paper towel, place it over the pool of water located on the bottom of your cup, mug, or bowl and let it absorb the water.

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If you have a pool of water sitting in your plastic container, pour it out and hand wash it. 

Sure, you can go out and buy a new dishwasher, but unless yours came with defective parts, you’re not going to come ahead because none of the newer models of dishwashers are guaranteed to dry your dishes completely.

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Your turn

How have you resolved your dishwasher not drying dishes? Share in a comment.

Stay Peachy!

P.S. Do you want to learn more about dishwashers? Check out this awesome article about dishwasher safety on our sister site Food Safety Superhero.

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14 Comments

    1. That’s wonderful that your dishwasher dries pretty well, Linda. I used to always forget to check the rinse aid, but I’ve become a tad anal and now have a reminder for just about everything on my phone. Some days it makes me a little batty, but in the end it’s so worth it.

  1. Great info, mine is a pain in the arse, I have to open the door soon after it finishes or it does not dry. I will check a few of these issues. And your description “stinks worse than a skunk rolling in a pile of horse manure” needs a mention. It gave me the best laugh I have had all day. I loved it and will be saving it for the future. lol

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