Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Kellan Jansen
by Kellan Jansen

Dishwashers make cleaning up after using your kitchen a breeze. Simply put what you used inside of a dishwasher and a few hours later those items will be clean and ready to use again.

Whirlpool makes some of the most popular dishwashers on the market. However, they don’t always work perfectly. You may find that yours is having trouble with drying your items after they’ve been washed.

If your Whirlpool dishwasher isn’t drying your dishes, it may be because the dishes aren’t being loaded properly. Or, maybe you’re unloading the dishes in the wrong order and allowing trapped water to fall onto dishes there were dried. It’s also possible that you have a failed vent, broken fan motor, or defective heating element that’s causing the issue.

Do You Need Appliance Repair Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

How do Dishwashers Dry Dishes?

If your dishwasher hasn’t been drying the dishes properly, then it’s worth starting with an understanding of how the process is supposed to work. Knowing this information can give you a better sense of which part of the drying process your dishwasher is failing.

There are several different ways that a dishwasher can dry dishes. The specific method that your dishwasher uses will depend on how it’s been manufactured.

Some dishwashers use heated air to dry the dishes they clean. This is done by a heating element that’s placed at the base of the dishwasher. However, this is one of the least efficient dish-drying methods, which is why most new dishwashers approach the task of drying your dishes differently.

One of the more common modern dish-drying techniques is the heated rinse. Under this model, the dishwasher will increase its water temperature towards the end of the cycle. Then, the stainless-steel interior of the dishwasher attracts the heat from that water that’s left on your dishes. The heated rinse works well on glass and ceramic dishes but not as well on plastics.

Your dishwasher may also use a fan to dry your dishes. With this option, the fan circulates air inside of your dishwasher to speed up the drying process. The air doesn’t need to be heated for this to work, making this another energy-efficient option.

Finally, some new dishwashers are air-drying your dishes. These feature a dishwasher door that pops open automatically once the washing cycle is complete. This allows hot air and humidity to escape, starting the drying process as soon as that happens.

Why is My New Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes?

There could be several reasons why your new dishwasher isn’t drying dishes the way it’s supposed to be. Given this, it’s a good idea to start by examining the problems that have the easiest solutions. Many of these are related to user error.

Dishes Not Loaded Properly

Many people don’t realize that there’s a specific way you’re supposed to load your dishwasher. If you put too many dishes into it at once or put them in the wrong places, your dishwasher could struggle to dry them for you.

Your top rack should be where you place your glasses and bowls. Put them upside down for better rinsing, which makes the drying process both faster and more effective.

The bottom rack is where you place your dishes, pots, and pans. They should be facing inward. Arranging them in this way promotes a more thorough rinsing process as well as better air circulation.

Finally, you shouldn’t be putting spoons, forks, or knives right next to each other. That can cause nesting to occur, which could be causing your drying issue. Alternate each of these utensils or be sure that you place them in your designated compartments if your dishwasher has those.

Improper Unloading Process

How you unload your dishes can also have a big impact on how dry they appear to be. You should always unload your bottom rack first. Unloading the top rack can cause trapped water to fall down onto your lower rack dishes, making them wet even though your dishwasher managed to dry them successfully.

Heated Dry Not Selected

Your dishwasher should also have a specific button you can press to turn its heated dry feature on or off. It’s possible that you inadvertently have this turned off. If so, press the button once to turn the heated dry mode on and see if that fixes the issues you’ve been having.

Troubleshooting Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes

If none of the fixes above worked for your situation, then chances are you have a defective component in your Whirlpool dishwasher. Here are some of the most common defects associated with this issue.

Vent Problems

Many dishwashers use a vent to let out the hot, steamy air that they generate while in operation. If your vent isn’t opening properly, then your dishwasher will leave excess moisture on the dishes you put in it.

Vent Fan Motor Issues

This is another reason why your dishwasher may not be drying dishes properly. Some Whirlpool dishwashers use a vent fan motor to facilitate a faster drying process at the end of the appliance’s cycle.

You can test the motor for continuity to see whether this is affecting your dishwasher. You may also want to try turning the fan blades by hand to see if they spin freely afterward. You may need to replace the vent fan motor if the motor has stopped working completely or the fan blades aren’t turning smoothly on their own.

Defective Heating Element

This could be your issue if you have an older Whirlpool dishwasher, as newer models don’t typically include heating elements. You can test for this by utilizing a multimeter. If you find that the heating element doesn’t have continuity, then it’s time to replace it.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Drying After Replacing Heating Element

Unfortunately, you could still have the same problem even after replacing your Whirlpool’s heating element and checking for common user error issues. This can be very frustrating. However, there are further steps you can still take to potentially fix the problem.

To achieve this, you need to see if your dishwasher is displaying any error messages. You can prompt an error message to appear by turning off your machine for five minutes and then turning it back on. If you do have an error code, it should appear after you take this step.

One of the most common problems at this point in the repair process is an issue with the machine’s control box. The control box is what tells your dishwasher whether your heating mode is turned on or not. It’s possible that there’s a problem within this process that’s causing your dishwasher to think you haven’t selected its drying mode even though you have.

You may be able to fix this issue yourself by resetting the machine’s micro-controller. However, this can be pretty challenging if you’re not familiar with how to do that. At this point, you may need to call a repair person out to take a look at your dishwasher and perform these repairs for you.

Dishwasher Not Drying Plastic Items

You may be able to narrow down your dishwasher’s drying issue to just plastic items. If this is happening, then it’s likely that nothing is actually wrong with your dishwasher at all.

Plastic items are incapable of retaining heat as well as dishes made out of glass, ceramic, and most other materials. This means that a dishwasher could be working perfectly and still leave your plastic items wet after its drying cycle.

You can try to fix this issue by limiting the number of plastic items that you attempt to wash during each cycle. Or, if that’s not an option, you may just need to start washing and drying your plastic items by hand.

Try Adding Rinse Aid

Another option you have is to try and add rinse aid to your dishwasher. This substance enables a more effective and efficient rinsing process. It achieves this by changing the structure of water droplets so that they run off of glasses and dishware more easily.

This can make the drying process easier on your dishwasher because there will be less water on your dishes for it to dry. It’s another quick fix that’s worth trying before you invest in a more expensive solution.

Do You Need Appliance Repair Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

Can you just dry dishes in a dishwasher?

The answer to this question will vary on a model-by-model basis. Some Whirlpool dishwashers have a special mode that will dry your dishes without washing them. However, many don’t have this feature. If time is a factor, you may want to try using your dishwasher’s express option instead.

When should I call a repair person?

It’s worth trying some of the quick fixes listed above before calling a repair person. You may be able to fix the problems that you’ve been having without having to pay extra for a professional’s help. However, if you’ve already tried those solutions and are still having problems, it could be time to get an expert’s help.

How do you reset a Whirlpool dishwasher?

You may need to reset your dishwasher while trying to fix its drying issue. Whirlpool models don’t usually feature a reset button. Instead, you’ll need to unplug the dishwasher for a few minutes and then plug it back in. This will perform a reset of the machine’s motor.

Kellan Jansen
Kellan Jansen

Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.

More by Kellan Jansen