Dishwasher Making Buzzing Noise? (here’s why & what to do)

If you own a dishwasher, you’ll know what a great appliance it is. No more arguments over whose turn it is to do the washing up. All you do is load the dirty dishes, add detergent and select the wash programme.

The dishes come out squeaky clean and dry and ready for reuse. That is until something changes. If your dishwasher has developed a buzz it can be worrying and annoying.

But don’t despair, because in this article we look at the reasons why a dishwasher could have started buzzing and offer practical solutions to get your dishwasher working properly again.

Why Is The Dishwasher Making A Buzzing Noise?

There are several reasons why a dishwasher could have developed a loud buzzing sound. Some are really simple to fix while others might be slightly more serious. Let’s start with the easiest to remedy;

Probable CauseSolution
Dishes loaded incorrectlyCheck that all items are securely loaded
Problematic spray armsInspect and clean the spray arms 
Loose componentsTighten all screw and bolts ensuring all components are fixed correctly
Clogged filterInspect and clean the filter
Defective fanContact a technician
Defective pumpContact a technician
Defective water inlet valveContact a technician
Defective motor or bearingsContact a technician

Let’s look at each of these problems in more detail;

Dishes Loaded Incorrectly


The most common cause of an annoying buzzing sound emanating from a dishwasher is loose items. Items like utensils and small dishes or plastic items can become loose if they’re not stacked correctly in the dishwasher.

As the dishwasher sprays water at a considerable force, it can spray onto these loose items and create a buzzing sound. Dishwashers also create a considerable amount of vibration when running which could also cause loose items to buzz.

To solve this issue all you need to do is inspect the racks and cutlery basket for any items that are not where you placed them. Then check that all items are secure and any that can’t be secured should be removed to prevent more buzzing and potential damage to your dishwasher.

If your dishwasher does regularly have loose items it can lead to more serious problems like damage to the spray arms or even motor damage.

By checking the dishes and ensuring they cannot move around while the dishwasher is in operation, you will make your dishwasher quieter and more efficient.

Defective Or Misaligned Spray Arms

The spray arms distribute water and detergent around the dishwasher ensuring every item is washed and rinsed. Over time they can become blocked or partially blocked with food debris or limescale deposits.

Once the spray arm becomes obstructed, it creates a problem with water flow which can lead to vibrations and a buzzing sound.

To solve this you should inspect the spray arms for any blockages and remove the spray arms from the dishwasher to clean them using warm soapy water and a toothbrush. If there are visible blockages in some of the nozzles ensure these are removed.

You then need to ensure the spray arms are attached securely and aligned correctly with the water jets. If the spray arms are loose or misaligned, it can cause vibration and that annoying buzzing sound.

By ensuring the spray arms are clean and aligned correctly you can get them working properly again and prevent any unwanted buzzing sounds. You should include the spray arms and nozzles in your regular cleaning schedule for your dishwasher.

Loose Component

Your dishwasher is held together by screws and bolts. All of the components are attached by either bolts or screws. Any of which could loosen over time.

Dishwashers create a certain amount of vibration during normal operating conditions. These vibrations can cause any of the screws or bolts and associated component parts to loosen.

Once any part has become loose it could potentially cause the buzzing sound. To solve this you will need to check every bolt and screw and ensure they are all tight and attached correctly.

Clogged Filter


The filter could also be the cause of any buzzing sounds coming from your dishwasher. The filter is designed to trap any food particles and other debris and prevent it from returning to your dishes during the wash cycle.

The filter can easily become clogged with debris which will hinder the flow of water through the machine and cause annoying noises.

To solve this you will need to locate and remove the filter. It is typically at the bottom of the dishwasher near the lower spray arm. You should carefully remove the filter and check it for any food particles or debris build up.

You can clean the filter under running water or, if it’s really clogged, give it a soak in warm soapy water to remove any trapped debris. You can give it a gentle scrub using a toothbrush to remove any stubborn residue.

Once you’re satisfied that the filter is clean, replace it into the dishwasher making sure that it is seated correctly.

You should make inspecting the filter on your dishwasher part of your regular cleaning schedule to prevent this problem from occurring again.

Defective Fan

Some dishwashers have a fan to help speed up the drying process. Over time the fan can develop a fault which could cause it to vibrate excessively and create a buzzing sound.

You will need to check the fan and ensure that it works properly. If your dishwasher has a fan it will be located behind a vent in the door of the appliance.

To access the fan, you will need to dismantle the door assembly and as this involves removing electrical connections, we recommend getting a technician to do this for you.

Defective Pump

The circulation pump is an important component on a dishwasher. It circulates water to the various parts of the dishwasher during operation. 

If the circulation pump becomes defective it can make that annoying buzzing sound as it tries to do its job. This is because the motor has to work harder to force water through the appliance.

We recommend contacting a technician to diagnose and if necessary replace the circulation pump.

Defective Water Inlet Valve

loading a dishwasher

The water inlet valve controls the flow and pressure of the water entering your dishwasher. If the valve is damaged or has developed a fault, it can lead to a water supply that is inadequate and an irregular water pressure.

This could be the cause of the buzzing sound in your dishwasher. You can check the water inlet valve yourself but as it is an important component, we recommend getting a technician to inspect, check and if necessary, replace the valve for you.

If you decide to tackle it yourself, the first thing you need to do is disconnect the power supply and water supply to your dishwasher. Then inspect the water inlet valve (which is typically located behind the kick plate at the bottom or base of the appliance).

Inspect the valve for any damage, leaks or cracks and if you see any, replace it with a compatible part. To do this you should follow the manufacturers instructions and ensure that the replacement valve is the correct one for your dishwasher.

Once you have successfully replaced the valve, restore the power and turn the water supply back on and run a short cycle to check for any leaks etc.

Defective Motor Or Bearings

If the buzzing sound is coming from the area where the motor is located, it could be that the motor or the bearings are defective. The motor powers many of the dishwasher’s functions and the bearings support and keep the rotating components stable.

Over a period of time, both or either part can become worn which could cause a buzzing sound when the appliance is operational.

If you suspect the problem is a defective motor or worn bearings, we recommend contacting a technician. They will be able to identify any potential problems and advise you on whether it’s worth repairing or replacing your dishwasher.

Diagnosing and replacing worn bearings or a defective motor requires specialist knowledge, expertise and the right tools. This can only be properly done by an expert.

SEE ALSO: What Does Dishwasher Salt Do? (and where to put it)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my dishwasher making a buzzing sound?

If your dishwasher is making a buzzing sound it could be because; the dishes are loaded incorrectly, the spray arms are clogged or misaligned, there is a loose component, the filter is clogged, the fan is defective, the pump is defective, the water inlet valve is defective, or there is a problem with the bearings or the motor.

What is the life expectancy of a dishwasher?

The average life expectancy of a dishwasher is around 10 years.

Where is the filter on a dishwasher?

The filter on a dishwasher is typically located on the bottom below the lower spray arm. 

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