whirlpool dishwasher not working

Why is My Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Top Rack Dishes? 6 Basic Fixes.

When you notice your Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning top rack items, it can certainly seem a little mysterious. But before you worry that you have to fix a Whirlpool dishwasher, we first suggest fixing some of your dishwasher habits. From cleaning the spray arms to adjusting your loading techniques, we can help solve the mystery of dirty top rack dishes.

How to Fix a Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Cleaning Top Rack Dishes

Repairs and replacement parts aren’t always necessary when your dishwasher cleans the bottom rack but not the top rack items. The following causes for a Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning top rack dishes can be fixed by changing some common dishwasher practices.

#1. Blocked Spray Arms

Most dishwashers have an upper spray arm that’s positioned just below the top rack. But this location makes it all too easy for any hanging items to block the spray arm, preventing water and detergent from reaching them.

When loading the top rack, check to ensure that all items are securely placed with nothing hanging below. Before starting a wash cycle, spin the upper spray arm with your hand to make sure it moves freely.

#2. Clogged Spray Arm

A clogged spray arm often occurs when food or hard water particles become stuck in its narrow holes. When these holes are clogged, water can’t spray out effectively, and you’ll notice your Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning top rack dishes.

Wondering how to unclog Whirlpool dishwasher spray arms as easily as possible? Follow these simple steps:

  • Twist the upper spray arm to remove it from its mount
  • Run the spray arm under running water to dislodge clogs
  • Gently scrub holes with a soft toothbrush to remove stubborn particles
  • Replace the spray arm by twisting back into the upper mount
whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning top rack
Photo Credit: Today’s Homeowner

#3. Overloading

Many of us are guilty of overloading the dishwasher to avoid hand-washing dirty dishes. But when you overload the top rack there’s no space for water and detergent to reach each individual item.

When you find your Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t clean dishes on top rack check to make sure that it’s not overloaded. Avoid overlapping or stacking items in the top rack. Try to prevent items from touching each other so that water can reach through every available opening.

#4. Incorrect Loading

Improper placement of items in the top rack can also result in dirty dishes after a wash cycle. If top rack items don’t face the spray arms or trap water during washing, they’ll remain dirty or stained with residue.

So what is the best way to load a dishwasher top rack? Here are some easy loading tips:

  • Place cups and bowls facing down
  • Face dishes towards the middle of the dishwasher
  • Position glasses between spindles (and not over them) to avoid trapping water

Follow proper loading techniques, as pictured below:

top rack dishes not getting clean

Photo Credit: Whirlpool USA

#5. Low Water Pressure

Lastly, if your Whirlpool dishwasher top rack dishes not getting clean remains a problem, we suggest checking your water pressure. A lack of pressure may provide enough water for the bottom spray arm but not the top.

To assess your water pressure, ensure there are no kinks or breakages in the dishwasher’s hose. Also, refrain from operating the shower or washer while running the dishwasher to conserve pressure. If your Whirlpool dishwasher not cleaning top rack dishes continues, the water pressure in your house may also require assessment.

#6. Incorrect Detergent & Rinse Aid

Using the wrong kind of detergent or too much or too little of it can affect the cleanliness of your dishes. Whirlpool recommends choosing a type of detergent based on your personal preference. If you’re using powder, liquid, or gels, fill the detergent up to the fill line; no more, and no less. Make sure the detergent dispenser lid closes completely.

Prevent Water Spots With Rinse Aid

Using rinse aid enhances drying, prevents water spots, and protects your glasses from etching. Most Whirlpool dishwashers have a dispenser for rinse aid, however, if your model does not, Whirlpool recommends using a rinse aid basket or rinse aid tablets. Some detergent pods include rinse aid in them as well!

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