Samsung Dishwasher Not Washing/Cleaning

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Korean multinational Samsung produces some pretty impressive and reliable dishwashers. So if you have one and it’s not cleaning as it should, then you’ve come to the right place!

The most likely reasons a Samsung dishwasher doesn’t clean properly is a faulty water inlet valve, clogged filter, or failed circulation pump. However, a cracked or clogged wash arm may isolate the problem to the top or bottom rack, depending on which arm is affected. But when the wash arms and components are okay, incorrect or overloading of the racks could also prevent proper cleaning of your kitchenware.

Keep reading as we explore each possibility and the steps you can take to resolve them.

Top Reasons Your Samsung Dishwasher Isn’t Cleaning

Here are the most likely reasons your Samsung dishwasher isn’t cleaning items on the top and bottom racks.

Faulty Water Inlet Valve

What it is: Your Samsung dishwasher can only work effectively when it has a continuous supply of water. The component responsible for that is the water inlet valve, which controls all water inflow.

The water inlet valve plays a critical role in how clean your dishes come out at the end of a wash cycle. When it’s in good working order, it ensures that the dishwasher has the correct amount of water to get the job done. 

A lack of water will reduce the appliance’s effectiveness, while an excess of water will cause an overflow.

How it fails: The water inlet valve is a mechanical part that’s electrically powered. That means it can fail both mechanically and electrically.

For example, a mechanical failure could prevent the valve from opening far enough, preventing the correct volume of water from filling the appliance. On the other hand, an electrical failure will prevent the valve from receiving the correct signals from your dishwasher to open and close.

As a result, your dishwasher will struggle to fill with the correct amount of water it needs to work effectively. Then, you’ll be left with dirty dishes at the end of the wash cycle.

How to fix: Unfortunately, you cannot repair a faulty water inlet valve. Therefore, your only course of action is to replace the valve entirely. You’ll find the component located underneath the dishwasher behind the toe panel.

Firstly, remove the water and electrical connections to the valve. Then, unthread the screws that hold it in place. Once you’ve freed the component, you can install a new one by working backwards, i.e. screw it into place, then connect the water and electrical wires to the new valve.

Clogged Filter

What it is: When you look inside your Samsung dishwasher, you’ll find a filter located underneath the bottom rack. That filter plays a crucial role in removing food bits and other solids from the water before it’s circulated through the appliance’s spray arms.

In doing so, the filter prevents clogs and ensures that those nasty food bits and other junk don’t find their way onto your freshly washed dishes.

How it fails: Samsung dishwasher filters must be cleaned periodically. That’s because the filter will continue to become increasingly saturated with food bits and other items, and water flow will become restricted as a result.

When the buildup becomes severe, no water can recirculate throughout the dishwasher, thereby preventing the appliance from cleaning your kitchenware effectively.

How to fix: Thankfully, a clogged filter has a straightforward solution. All you have to do is remove the filter and clean it thoroughly. You can do that by removing the bottom rack and accessing the filter. Then, take it to your kitchen sink to wash using water and regular dishwashing soap.

Once you’re confident that it’s clean, you can reinstall it and use the dishwasher as usual.

Failed Circulation Pump

What it is: Your Samsung dishwasher also relies on a circulation pump to complete its wash cycles. As the name suggests, this pump (consisting of a motor and impeller) is designed to circulate the water. More precisely, it drives water to the wash arms to be sprayed onto your dishes alongside the detergent.

How it fails: Circulation pumps can fail mechanically and electrically. For instance, the motor might have burned or shorted out. Also likely is that the motor has become clogged with food bits, foreign objects, or other buildups.

When the pump fails, the spray arms will not receive the water they need to wash your plates and other items.

How to fix: The circulation pump is another component that must be replaced when it fails. You’ll find it located underneath your dishwasher, attached to the sump (i.e. the lowest point of the dishwasher).

Firstly, prepare a few pieces of cloth to catch any excess water that might come out when you remove the pump. Then, remove its electrical connector and then take the pump out.

Once that’s done, you can secure the new pump in its place and reconnect the electrical harness to it.

Reasons The Top Rack Isn’t Cleaning

Suppose you find that the lack of cleaning is isolated to items on the top rack. If that’s the case, the most likely issue is a cracked or clogged wash arm (at the center or the top) or an obstruction affecting the middle spray arm.

Cracked Or Clogged Upper Or Center Wash Arm

What it is: Your Samsung dishwasher cleans the items inside with the help of several wash arms, each with jets through which water and detergent spray out. As water exits those jets, the force turns the wash arm around and ensures that all surfaces are hit with that water.

There are spray arms at the top, center, and bottom of the dishwasher.

How it fails: Anything that prevents the wash arms from spraying water will cause problems. So, if your top rack isn’t cleaning, that’s a sign the upper or center wash arm is affected by a crack or a clog. Both of these issues will prevent water from spraying out of the wash arm’s jets.

How to fix: Clogs on wash arms are quick to clean with a toothpick. However, any physical damage like cracks can’t be fixed, so you’ll need to replace the wash arm entirely.

Pull the affected wash arm out by hand and click a new one in its place.

Obstructed Center Wash Arm

How this happens: Suppose your top and center wash arms are in excellent shape. If that’s the case, consider that the center arm might be obstructed by tall items loaded into the bottom rack.

Kitchenware like jugs and bottles could prevent the center arm from turning, thereby affecting its ability to wash items on the upper rack.

How to fix: You can prevent this problem by loading tall items flat on the bottom rack. That way, none of them will stand in the way of any turning wash arms.

Reasons The Bottom Rack Isn’t Cleaning

Some issues will isolate your cleaning problem to the bottom rack. They include a clogged or cracked bottom wash arm or a bottom rack that’s overloaded.

Clogged or Cracked Bottom Wash Arm

How it fails: Much like the top and center wash arms described above, there’s also another one at the bottom of the machine. This arm is targeted at items on the lower rack and will leave them unclean if it’s clogged or cracked.

How to fix: Just as with the other spray arms, you can clean any clogged jets with a toothpick but must replace it if there are cracks or broken sections.

Overloaded Bottom Rack

How it fails: Each rack in your Samsung dishwasher must be loaded correctly. Overloading the bottom rack will cause some items to be left uncleaned by the end of the cycle. That’s because items on the outer layers of the bunch will prevent water and detergent from reaching those in the middle.

How to fix: This problem is preventable with the correct loading of the bottom rack. Check your user manual for any specific steps relevant to your appliance model. At the same time, the rule of thumb is to leave space between each item and angle them slightly so water jets from the wash arms can reach each item inside.

How To Reset A Samsung Dishwasher?

You can reset a Samsung dishwasher by cycling its power. First, unplug the dishwasher from its power source or turn off the dedicated circuit breaker. Then, leave the appliance alone for five minutes to discharge any retained power inside.

After that time, you can consider the dishwasher to have been reset and resume regular appliance use.

How To Force A Samsung Dishwasher To Drain?

When you want to drain your Samsung dishwasher mid-cycle, simply press and hold the Start button for three seconds. This procedure will cancel the current wash cycle and trigger the dishwasher to drain all the water inside.

How To Run Diagnostics Mode On A Samsung Dishwasher?

The diagnostics mode on your Samsung dishwasher is referred to as the ‘test cycle’. You can run this mode by following these steps:

  • First, turn on the power to the unit by pressing the Power button.
  • Then, press the Delay End button until the display shows “17h”.
  • Next, press and hold the Hi-Temp Wash button until the display shows “AS”.
  • Then, press the Start button to begin the test cycle. Doing this will trigger the dishwasher to test all of its functions and check for errors.
    • The display will show “Ot” if there are no error codes.
    • The display will show an error code if there is a problem.

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