If your dishwasher is no longer spraying water, it's a problem with either the washer arms or the circulation pump. During a dishwasher's wash and rinse cycles, the circulation pump sucks up water on the bottom of the dishwasher and forces it out through the washer arms using a bladed impeller. If the washer arms are clogged with mineral buildup or if the circulation pump isn't working properly, no water will come out of the washer arms and your dishes won't get clean. To learn how to fix a dishwasher that's not spraying any water, read on.
1. Clean the Washer Arms
The washer arms on the bottom of your dishwasher have tiny holes that can easily become clogged with soap scum or mineral buildup from hard water. When the holes are clogged, no water will come out of the washer arm. Thankfully, you can easily clean the washer arms by unscrewing them from the dishwasher and submerging them in white vinegar for half an hour. This will remove any soap scum or mineral buildup in the washer arms. After soaking them in vinegar, rinse them thoroughly in your sink and screw them back into the bottom of your dishwasher.
2. Check the Circulation Pump Assembly for Clogs
If cleaning the washer arms doesn't fix the problem, you should try cleaning the circulation pump impellers next. You can access them by removing the washer arms from your dishwasher. Underneath the washer arms, you'll see a filter screen that prevents food from getting into the circulation pump impellers and clogging them. Unfortunately, this filter doesn't always trap very small pieces of food, and it's incapable of preventing mineral buildup in the impellers.
Remove the filter screen and unscrew the top of the circulation pump housing in order to access the impellers. Put a towel next to your dishwasher and begin disassembling the circulation pump. As you remove pieces from the pump, lay them on the towel in order so that you'll be able to reassemble it easily. Remove any food debris from the impellers and scrub them with vinegar to remove any mineral buildup. Afterwards, clean the motor shaft that was exposed when you disassembled the circulation pump—sometimes it can become clogged with mineral buildup as well. Reassemble the circulation pump, screw the washer arms back in and check to see if your dishwasher is now spraying water correctly.
3. Replace the Circulation Pump
You'll need to replace the circulation pump if cleaning it didn't work. The motor in the circulation pump can burn out, which will result in your dishwasher not spraying any water. Look up your exact model of dishwasher, and then order a replacement circulation pump online. In order to replace the circulation pump, you'll need to disconnect your dishwasher from the water inlet line and the drain line, then pull it away from the wall. Unscrew the washer arms and remove them again to reveal the top of the circulation pump.
Turn your dishwasher gently onto its back and then remove the panel in order to access the drain pump. Unscrew the drain pump from your dishwasher, remove the wires leading to it and set it aside. The circulation pump is underneath the drain pump, and you'll need to unscrew its retaining screws. Once the screws are out, turn your dishwasher back upright and then lift the circulation pump upwards out of your dishwasher.
Disconnect the wires from your old circulation pump, place your replacement pump into the dishwasher and connect the wires to it. Turn your dishwasher onto its back, screw in the new circulation pump and then replace the drain pump. Reconnect the wires to the drain pump and screw it in, then put the access panel back onto your dishwasher.
With the circulation pump replaced, your dishwasher should function perfectly again. If you don't feel comfortable replacing or cleaning the circulation pump (as it requires disassembling numerous components), call an appliance repair service in your area to have your dishwasher fixed. It's much better to have the service performed by a professional rather than risk damaging your dishwasher if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself.