Why Your Dishwasher Stops Mid-Cycle

May 6, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

It’s a frustrating experience—you go to start unloading your dishwasher, only to find it hasn’t finished the cleaning cycle. But why is your dishwasher stopping mid-cycle, and is there anything you can do about it? There are a few different things that can cause this problem, but many of them can be solved without calling in a professional. Let’s take a look!

Before You Start

Often, when a dishwasher stops mid-cycle, it will display an error code to indicate why. These error codes vary depending on the make or model of your dishwasher. If an error code is showing, we recommend looking up what it means in your dishwasher manual as a first step. This will help you identify the location and nature of the problem. If you can’t find the manual for your dishwasher, you can try googling the error code and the model of your dishwasher for some tips.

Blocked Filter

The dishwasher filter removes dirt and debris from the water during the wash cycle that might otherwise block the drainage system. However, if the filter is not cleaned frequently, it can get so blocked that your dishwasher is unable to drain. 

If your dishwasher cannot drain, it will stop during the cycle so that you can remedy the problem. Depending on the make or model of your dishwasher, an error code may be displayed, or it may just stop working. Here’s what to do:

  1. Gain access to the dishwasher filter. In most models, you’ll need to remove the lower dishwasher rack. 
  2. Twist the filter to remove it. You may also need to remove the filter cover – check your manual if unsure. 
  3. Thoroughly clean the filter under running water. If there is any stubborn debris trapped, use a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush, to clean it. 
  4. If there is still stubborn dirt, soak the filter in warm water to loosen the debris and then scrub again. 
  5. Clean the filter housing, making sure there is no debris left. 
  6. Reinstall the clean filter, making sure it is firmly in place. 
  7. Run a cleaning cycle to check that it completes and doesn’t stop mid-cycle.

Faulty Drain Hose

The drain hose removes dirty water from your dishwasher’s interior during and at the end of the washing cycle. If the drain hose is clogged, bent, or improperly installed, water won’t drain properly and will pool at the bottom of the dishwasher. This can halt your dishwasher’s operation and cause an error code to display on the screen. Here’s how to fix it. 

  1. Gain access to the back of your dishwasher. You will need to pull it away from the wall—we recommend using a furniture dolly. 
  2. Check the hose for any kinks or bends. Straighten out any kinks or places where the hose is pinched. 
  3. If you can’t see any kinks, check for clogs. Remove the hose from the back of the dishwasher, using old towels to catch and soak up any residual water that flows out. Use a hose to run water through the drain hose to clear any blockages, or you can use a length of wire to clear them. 
  4. Reattach the hose to the back of the dishwasher, ensuring it doesn’t have any bends or unnecessary loops. 
  5. Put the dishwasher back into position. 
  6. Run a test cycle to ensure that the dishwasher now completes a cycle. 

Obstructed Spray Arms

The spray arms rotate and spray thin streams of water onto your dishes to clean them. If the spray arms are blocked or obstructed, the wash cycle won’t be able to finish. Your dishwasher might stop mid-cycle so that you can fix the problem. 

Here’s how to check if this is the cause of the problem:

  1. Open the dishwasher and remove the spray arms. Some models unscrew, and some snap into place—check your dishwasher manual if you’re having issues removing them. 
  2. Check the spray holes. They can easily become clogged with food debris, especially by small fibrous items like lentils that don’t break down easily. 
  3. Clear the spray holes using a wire or toothpick. 
  4. Run water through the spray arms to check all the spray holes are unobstructed. 
  5. If there are any stubborn blockages, try soaking the spray arms in warm water before cleaning the spray holes again. 
  6. Once the spray arms are clean, put them back into place, then check to make sure they can spin freely without obstruction. 
  7. Run a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher can finish without stopping.

Faulty Door Latch

Dishwashers are designed to only operate with the door closed. If the door latch is faulty or loose, then your dishwasher door may unlatch partway through the wash cycle, stopping the dishwasher. Here’s how to figure out if this is the problem. 

  1. When your dishwasher stops mid-cycle, try pressing on the door to see if it restarts. If it does, this indicates a latching issue.
  2. Inspect the door latch for signs of damage or debris. 
  3. If the door latch is obstructed with food, clean the debris away.
  4. If it appears loose, try tightening the screws holding it in place. 
  5. If it appears broken, you can replace the latch unit. Order a replacement that fits your model of dishwasher from an online appliance parts retailer. 
  6. Disconnect the power to your dishwasher and remove the old, faulty latch. 
  7. Install the new latch in its place, then test to see if the door is latching firmly. 
  8. Restore power and run a test cycle to make sure the door stays closed throughout the entire cycle.

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