Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting [Full Guide]

If you own a Whirlpool dishwasher you will know what a great value for money appliance it is. Depending on the model you own, you will have taken advantage of the various cycles and programmes and you will be used to getting great cleaning results time after time.

However, even the best appliances develop problems occasionally. If your Whirlpool dishwasher has developed a problem, keep reading.

In this article we look at all of the common faults that can trouble a Whirlpool dishwasher and offer quick fixes wherever we can.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Fault Codes

Like many top brands, Whirlpool has a system of fault codes designed to show you exactly what’s wrong with your appliance. Below we have listed the most common fault codes found across the range of Whirlpool dishwashers.

You’ll need to check your user manual for specific codes relating to your particular model but these are the codes most commonly used by Whirlpool.

Some models have LED display screens which will display an error code preceded by the letter “F”. Whilst others rely on a system of flashing lights. On these models you’ll need to count the number of times the light flashes to determine which particular fault is being reported.

Error Code DisplayedNumber Of FlashesMost Likely Fault
F11Discrepancy with the water temperature
F22Water leak detected
F33Heating system fault
F44Drainage system error
F55Motor failure
F66Lack of water
F77Flow meter problems
F88Problems with the water level
F99Dishwasher constantly filling with water
F010Sensor failure
FA11Optical water indicator fault
FB12Motorised diverter valve fault
FC13Water hardness sensor fault

Now that we have some idea of what each error code represents, let’s look at them in more detail.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F1 (1 flash)

Temperature Sensor

If you see this error code on your Whirlpool dishwasher it’s most likely to be an issue with the temperature sensor. In some cases, it could be that the water temperature is too high (above 85 C) or too low (below -3 C) but this is usually an indication that the temperature sensor is faulty and needs to be replaced.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F2 (2 flashes)

Water Leak

Error code F2 usually indicates that your Whirlpool dishwasher has developed a leak. If it is a leak, you’ll need to drain the base, find the leak and repair or replace the faulty component.

However, it could also be that the main control board is receiving an incorrect signal from the user interface. If this is the problem, you will almost certainly need to replace the user interface.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F3 (3 flashes)

Heating System Fault

This error code could be being generated because the water in your Whirlpool dishwasher is not heating up at all or it could be heating up too slowly.

This could be caused by a faulty heating element, a faulty connection between the heater and the control board or a faulty temperature sensor. 

As there are so many variables at play here, we recommend contacting Whirlpool directly or a qualified technician to sort this issue out.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F4 (4 flashes)

Drainage System Fault

The drainage system in your Whirlpool dishwasher ensures that wastewater along with food and grease particles leaves your dishwasher at the correct time. If the drainage system develops a fault you will be left with dirty dishes after the cycle has completed.

This could be caused by twists or kinks in the drainage hose which is easily remedied by straightening the drain hose. However it could also be caused by a dirty filter-which needs cleaning (and should be done every week), or the drainage pump could have developed a fault which will need to be replaced.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F5 (5 flashes)

Motor Failure

This error code could mean you need to replace your Whirlpool dishwasher’s motor. This is because it indicates that the rotor, the moving part of the motor, has an issue.

open dishwasher

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F6 (6 flashes)

Lack Of Water

This error code on a Whirlpool dishwasher indicates that water is not entering the dishwasher as it should. This could be as simple as the inlet hose is twisted which can be resolved by straightening the hose.

Or it could be the inlet valve is faulty and will almost certainly need to be replaced. Check that the tap connected to the inlet hose is fully open first as this can sometimes be the issue.

Other problems could be the water pressure to your home has dropped, or the flow meter which monitors the amount of water entering your dishwasher has developed a fault and will need to be replaced.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F7 (7 flashes)

Problems With The Flow Meter

Error code F7 indicates a fault with the water flow meter  which will probably need to be replaced. However, F7 could also relate to similar issues to F6 namely;

  • Twisted/blocked inlet hose
  • Faulty inlet valve
  • Water tap not fully open

You should check these easier to solve issues before moving onto the flow meter.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F8 (8 flashes)

Water Level Issues

If you see this error code on your Whirlpool dishwasher, it indicates that the appliance has detected too much water in the dishwasher. This could be caused by;

  • A blocked filter which is preventing the wastewater from draining
  • A fault with the inlet valve allowing too much water into the appliance
  • Too many soap suds which can be caused by using too much detergent or using inferior quality detergent
  • Faulty spray pump which would be caused by a problem with the wash motor

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F9 (9 flashes)

Constantly Filling With Water

This is a fairly serious problem as the dishwasher cannot operate correctly if it is continuously filling with water. The fault will either be caused by an issue with the water inlet valve or a short circuit on the control board.

Whichever one is at fault, it will need to be replaced to remedy this problem.


Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code F0 (10 flashes)

Sensor Failure

This fault is often displayed after running a diagnostic test cycle (to find out how to run a diagnostic test cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher consult your user manual).

If you see this fault, you’ll need to test the sensors in your appliance and their connections with the control board. Your appliance is likely to have sensors for water temperature, water level, water flow pressure and input water flow.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code FA (11 flashes)

Optical Water Indicator

This fault indicates an issue with the sensor that monitors the cleanliness of the water in your Whirlpool dishwasher. If the sensor detects dirty water it is likely to run another rinse cycle.

The problem is sometimes, dirt or food particles can block the sensor and so it will continue to run rinse cycles. Eventually the appliance picks up on this and reports the error. This can also be caused by excess foam or soap suds from using too much or an inferior detergent.

If this error code persists, you’ll need to check the sensor and its connections with the control panel and repair/ replace as necessary.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code FB (12 flashes)

Motorised Diverter Valve Fault

The diverter valve on your Whirlpool dishwasher controls the water flow to the upper spray arm. If it develops a fault, you will need to check it and most probably need to replace it.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Error Code FC (13 flashes)

Water Hardness Sensor Fault

The water hardness sensor in your Whirlpool dishwasher monitors how hard the water is in your area and indicates when more dishwasher salt is needed. You will need to check that the salt tank is full and adjusted correctly. If it is, you’ll probably need to replace the water hardness sensor.

Other Common Whirlpool Dishwasher Faults


Now we’ve dealt with all of the common Whirlpool error codes, let’s look at some of the other issues you could encounter with a Whirlpool dishwasher.

Whirlpool Dishwasher Won’t Start

There are several reasons why your Whirlpool dishwasher won’t start which include;

  • No Power
    Your dishwasher will not start if it has no power. You will need to check the socket, the plug and the circuit breaker to ensure there is power flowing to your dishwasher.
  • Control Lock Activated
    Your Whirlpool dishwasher will not start if the control lock (child lock) has been activated. You will need to deactivate the control lock before the appliance will respond to any commands.
  • Sleep Mode Activated
    If the door has been closed for a long period, your Whirlpool dishwasher will enter “sleep mode” which means it will not respond to any commands. Simply open the dishwasher door and then close it again. You should now find the control panel responds.
  • Door Not Fully Closed
    When the door on your Whirlpool dishwasher closes, it forms a watertight seal. It will only start if the door sensor detects that the door is fully closed. Check for obstructions like an out of place rack, large dish or utensil or even food particles in the rubber seal. Then ensure the door is fully closed and latched correctly. You might need to replace the door latch or sensor.
  • Delayed Wash Selected
    Whirlpool dishwashers have either “delay start” or “delay wash (DWAIT)” functions. These allow you to load and set your dishwasher to run at a time which suits you. This could be up to 24 hours in the future. Once set the dishwasher will not start until the time has elapsed. You will need to perform a reset to clear the memory to get the appliance to start before the timer has finished.

Dishwasher Won’t Fill With Water

This could be accompanied by the F6 error code (see above for more details). You will need to check;

  • The water supply is turned on 
  • The tap is fully open
  • The inlet hose isn’t twisted, kinked or blocked
  • The inlet valve is working correctly
  • The float switch is operating correctly

If none of the above are the cause of the problem, it could be that there is a fault with the control board.

Dishwasher Doesn’t Dispense detergent

If your Whirlpool dishwasher doesn’t dispense detergent it could be caused by several things most of which are easy to resolve. It could be;

  • The Dispenser Lid Is Blocked
    If a blocked dispenser lid is causing the problem, you will need to check there is nothing blocking the lid on the lower rack. The best way to do this is to remove all of the dishes in the lower rack and rearrange them to ensure the detergent lid is free from any obstructions.
  • Mechanical Binding Of The Lid
    If the problem is mechanical binding of the lid, you will need to replace the lid with a replacement part.
  • Excessive Detergent
    In many cases, the detergent dispenser cannot operate because of clogging caused by a buildup of detergent. Clean the detergent dispenser and see if this solves the issue.
  • A Loose Connection
    You’ll need to check all of the electrical connections between the detergent dispenser and the control board and ensure they are all fitted correctly.
  • Faulty Drive Circuit
    This is a job best done by an expert.

Dishwasher Won’t Drain

There are a few things that can cause this fault which include;

  • Drain Hose Blocked
    The drain hose is the only way wastewater can leave the dishwasher and if it becomes clogged, it can be a serious problem. Check the drain hose for twists or kinks as this is the most likely cause of any blockage. If the drain hose is straight, you might need to disconnect the hose and push a plumber’s snake through to ensure there are no blockages.
  • Filter Clogged
    If the filter on your Whirlpool dishwasher becomes clogged it will not be able to let wastewater through. Remove the filter and inspect for dirt etc. Clean the filter with warm water and a brush and then ensure you clean the filter regularly from this point onwards.
  • Faulty Drain Pump
    If the drain pump is faulty, you will probably need to get it replaced.

Dishes Not Cleaning

There are several reasons why the dishes might not get clean in your Whirlpool dishwasher which include;

  • Dishes Loaded Incorrectly
    Dishes should be loaded with the dirty surface facing the spray arm (dishes facing downwards). You should never overload the dishwasher as this can lead to dishes not getting washed due to another dish overshadowing them.
  • Excessive Amount Of Detergent Used
    If you use too much or an inferior quality detergent in your Whirlpool dishwasher, it can lead to dishes getting coated in an oily film. You should only ever use high quality detergents and in the correct quantity.
  • Incorrect Cycle Selected
    If you were to select a quick wash or rinse only cycle, and your dishes were heavily soiled, they could come out even dirtier than they went in. Always ensure you select the correct cycle for the level of dirt on your dishes.

Dishwasher Smells Bad

If you notice a bad smell when you open the door of your dishwasher it is almost always caused by a buildup of dirt and food particles. To solve this, you will need to give your dishwasher a thorough clean by first cleaning the filter. And then running a wash cycle using a dishwasher cleaner.

You should clean the filter at least once a week and run a cleaning wash cycle every month to prevent this from happening again.

We have covered all of the likely issues you are ever likely to face with your Whirlpool dishwasher. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

SEE ALSO: How To Clean The Filter On An Old Whirlpool Dishwasher

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Whirlpool dishwasher not completing its cycle?

If your Whirlpool dishwasher does not complete its cycle it is usually caused by one of the following; The delayed option has been selected, the water supply is not fully turned on, there is a fault with the door, door latch or door sensor or the power needs to be recycled to reset the appliance.

Why is my Whirlpool dishwasher running a cycle but not cleaning?

If your Whirlpool dishwasher is running a cycle but not cleaning it can be caused by a number of things which include; incorrectly loaded dishes, too much or inferior detergent used or you have selected an incorrect cycle (like rinse only or quick wash for heavily soiled dishes).

Why does my Whirlpool dishwasher smell so bad?

If you notice a bad smell coming from your Whirlpool dishwasher, it will have been caused by a buildup of decaying food particles. To remedy this you will need to clean the filter, run a wash cycle using a dishwasher cleaner and make this part of your regular cleaning routine.

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