KitchenAid Dishwasher Leaking From The Bottom? 5 Reasons

KitchenAid dishwashers use water to clean the dirty dishes that you load inside. Typically, these dishwashers have no problems keeping all of the water and suds contained inside the appliance. So, why would a KitchenAid dishwasher be leaking onto your kitchen floor?

The most likely reason for a KitchenAid dishwasher leaking is a faulty water inlet valve. Water could be leaking from the valve itself, or it might be stuck in the ‘open’ position causing an overflow inside. Damaged seals or gaskets on the diverter motor or around the door could also let water through. The same could also happen from the drain pump or its hose.

Let’s take a closer look at the possible reasons your KitchenAid dishwasher is leaking, and what you can do to fix it.


Before performing any kind of repairs on your dishwasher, be sure to disconnect the appliance from its power supply and shut off its water supply as well. That will prevent electrocution while reducing the risk of injury. Shutting off the water supply will also prevent flooding of your kitchen floor.

Be sure to keep your dishwasher user manual and any available technical sheet nearby. These documents will be helpful as a quick reference to help you identify and locate essential parts.

Faulty Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve on your Kitchenaid dishwasher is responsible for controlling the appliance’s water supply. That’s the part of the dishwasher that’s connected directly to your household water supply, and it’s controlled by the appliance’s systems.

When you load the dishwasher and start a new cycle, the water inlet valve will open and allow water to fill up the appliance. Once there’s enough water, the valve will shut and prevent the dishwasher from overflowing.

water line
Water Line

The water inlet valve repeats this process several times throughout the dishwashing cycle whenever the appliance requires a fresh water supply to be let in.

water inlet valve
Water Inlet Valve

How it fails:

If you notice your Kitchenaid dishwasher leaking, particularly from underneath, then the most common reason is that the water inlet valve is faulty. That’s because the valve is located on the bottom of the appliance, hidden behind the toe panel (i.e. the front-facing removable panel right at the bottom).

When this happens, water will leak out from the inlet valve itself and flow directly onto the floor underneath.

Alternatively, a faulty water inlet valve can also be stuck in the ‘open’ position. That will cause far too much water to flow into the dishwasher, causing water to leak from around the door.

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How to fix:

A faulty water inlet valve cannot be fixed, so you will need to replace it entirely. You can do this by first gaining access to the component, which is located at the bottom of the dishwasher.

  • Next, remove the toe panel and locate the water inlet valve.
  • Prepare a towel to catch any spills as you disconnect the valve’s electrical and water connectors.
  • Depending on the design of your dishwasher, you might need to unthread screws holding the valve in place. 
  • Next, install the new water inlet valve the same way as the old one. Reconnect the water and electrical supply to the valve, and mount it back in place.

Worn-Out Diverter Motor Seal

Inside your dishwasher is a diverter motor that’s responsible for directing the water into the various spray arms in the appliance. 

When it is in good working order, water will continuously pump out from those spray arms and keep them spinning. That will allow the streams of water to wash off all the food junk and any dirt off of the plates and other items inside the dishwasher.

diverter motor seal

The divert motor is located at the bottom of the dishwasher, and it has a rubber seal around its stem to prevent water from seeping out onto the floor.

One important thing to note is the size of the diverter motor seal. The diverter motor seal is very small and can probably fit on the tip of your finger at under an inch in diameter.

How it fails:

There are several seals on a Kitchenaid dishwasher, and like any of them, the diverter motor seal can wear out over time. When that happens, water can get past the seal during the dishwashing cycle and leak out onto your kitchen floor.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Washer Smells Like Burning Rubber

How to fix:

To fix this, you’ll need to replace the diverter motor seal with a new one. Then, you’ll be able to access that seal from inside the dishwasher.

  • First, though, you’ll have to remove the diverter tube assembly that sends water to the various spray arms.
  • Once you’ve taken that out, you can twist open the diverter cap and see the seal that you’re looking for.
  • The seal will be wrapped around a white plastic stem.
  • Remove the old seal and replace it with the new one. The seal has a flat side and an open side. The flat part is meant to face down when you push the seal into place.
  • Lastly, reassemble the diverter tube assembly.

Damaged Door Gasket or Seal

As a general rule of thumb, any appliance that involves the use of water will have a number of gaskets or seals around several of its components. Your Kitchenaid dishwasher is the same, and one of the most important seals on it is the one around the door.

door gasket

This seal is crucial because it prevents water from leaking out from the door’s sides whenever you’re running a dishwashing cycle.

Related: 4 Common Reasons Why Dishwasher Door Is Not Closing Properly

Sometimes referred to as a ‘gasket’, this part forms a tight seal whenever you shut the dishwasher door. It not only prevents water but also stops suds and food bits from coming through the door.

How it fails:

The dishwasher gasket is made from rubber and is designed to create a tight seal around the door. However, over time, the rubber can wear out and lose its shape.

When that happens, the gasket will fail to produce a tight seal whenever you shut the dishwasher door.

Besides that, it’s also possible to damage or rip the gasket by accident. That tends to happen if you load and unload sharp objects into the appliance often.

Also, it’s essential to inspect the door gasket up close to ensure that there are no food bits or other foreign objects that get stuck between the gasket and the dishwasher. Any items along the seal could compromise it and allow water to leak out.

How to fix:

Firstly, wipe the dishwasher door gasket to clear off any stuck food bits or debris that might compromise the seal it’s supposed to form. However, if the seal is ripped, warped, or generally worn out from long-term use, you’ll want to replace it entirely.

  • Firstly, remove the bottom rack to give you ample space to access the entire gasket.
  • Next, find a bottom part of the gasket that you can grip with your fingers and gently pull it out.
  • Take note of how the gasket is installed (i.e. which parts face down or up). Finally, gently remove the entire gasket.
  • While you’re there, inspect and clean the groove of any dirt or debris build-up.
  • Then, insert the new gasket into the groove at one end at the bottom of the door. Repeat that step on the other side of the door, also at the bottom.
  • Once the bottom parts are secure, start to fit the rest of the gasket all around the door.

Leaking Drain Pump or Hose

The drain pump at the bottom of your dishwasher is designed to help remove all of the used water from inside the appliance throughout the dishwashing cycle.

new drain pump

The pump forces that water out through a drain hose out of the appliance towards your kitchen drain.

drain pump installed

How it fails:

The drain pump will do most of its work at the end of the dishwashing cycle. So, if you notice your dishwasher leaking towards the end, this might be the reason behind it.

Related: Why Washing Machine Drain Pump Keeps Running?

Typically, a leak from the drain pump happens because of a damaged seal or impeller. However, it could also happen if the drain hose is damaged or not clipped firmly to the pump.

How to fix: (kitchenAid Dishwasher Leaking)

To fix this, you’ll need to replace whichever part is leaking. Typically, Kitchenaid sells the drain pump seals and impeller together as a kit so that you can replace both parts at the same time.

  • Firstly, you’ll need to remove the drain pump from the bottom of the dishwasher, which will require gently placing the dishwasher on its side.
  • That will make it easier to disconnect the electrical connectors and hose and remove the drain pump assembly from the sump.
  • Next, you’ll need to unthread the existing impeller and remove the seal.
  • Then, using the kit, install the new seals and thread the new impeller onto the shaft.
  • After that’s done, reinstall the drain pump to the bottom of the dishwasher, along with all the electrical connectors that you removed earlier.
  • Lastly, ensure that the drain hose is clamped firmly to the drain pump assembly.

Reader Comments (7)

  1. My dishwasher leaks where the air vent is when I open the door. I have a water puddle on the wood floors every morning. Service tech’s have replaqced the heater, air vent, and have been coming out every month for a year now but no improvement. Now the dishwasher has a foul smell. Kitchenaid sends a service tech out, they order new parts but nothing works. Any thoughts.

  2. I can see the water dripping from the diverter valve motor. Got a seal from Amazon. No longer available oem. I could tell it didn’t fit right. It leaked. Bought oem sump with new seal installed. It still leaks. I’m at a loss any suggestions.

  3. Exactly my problem, too. Thanks Andy and Keith for the info. I was shocked to see the water leak after just a little more than a year. Thanks for the Service Pointer reference. I hope they will repair it soon.

  4. You missed one cause of leaks in Maytag/Kitchenaid/Whirlpool dishwashers. In some newer models the heater element bushing was made with defective brass material that corrodes after a year or so, leaking badly where the coil passes through the floor of the washer. Look up Service Pointer W11540964.

    You can see this without removing the dishwasher by looking inside where the heater element enters the washer along the bottom/back. If you have this problem, the metal grommet holding the black rubber gasket in place will be worn away or corroded. Also, if your grommet is “orange or gold-colored”, you will likely experience this in the future.

    • Hi Robert,
      That is EXACTLY my issue – thankfully I was in the basement trying to release a vapor lock on my hydronic heating system when I saw the water in the floor in the vicinity of the dishwasher. I thought for sure it was the inlet or the drain. There was no evidence of leaking at those spots and then I saw two loose electric modules at the back. I wiggled them and could see the seal had totally failed. I looked inside the dishwasher and was SHOCKED to see that the heating element seal was gone – both sides, and the rubber washer/seal was floating around. What a mess! I have had this unit for less than a year! Can I repair by replacing the heating element/assembly? What would you recommend? I would welcome your feedback. Thanks! ~Keith


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