Your Whirlpool dishwasher will fill with water but may pause during operation due to obstructions in the spray arm holes, a malfunctioning circulation pump, or a defective detergent dispenser. To initiate and complete a washing cycle, it is necessary to either clean or substitute these components.

Experiencing a Whirlpool dishwasher that fills with water but doesn't perform the washing cycle can be quite inconvenient, especially when you have a pile of dishes to clean and limited time to spare.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address this issue without the need to enlist the services of a professional and experienced technician.

Here's the information presented in a tabular form:

ProblemHow to Notice ItQuick DIY Fix
1. Faulty circulation pumpYou will hear a humming, annoying sound from the circulation pumpUse a multimeter to do a continuity test. If you don’t get zero or a value close to zero, replace the circulation pump
2. Blockage in sprayer holesYou’ll see food particles and mineral deposits from hard water in the holesUse a cloth wire hanger to remove the dirt from the holes. Run water through the sprayer to give it a final good clean.
3. Faulty detergent dispenserThe detergent drawer doesn’t open up to release detergent to the dishes when running a wash cycleFirst, give the dispenser a good clean to see if that solves the problem. If one of the springs is broken, get a new detergent dispenser for replacement.

1. Malfunctioned or Faulty Motor/Circulation Pump

Symptom: Your Whirlpool dishwasher fills with water but doesn't continue with the wash cycle.


Identify the Problem:

  • Listen for a clicking or unusual sound coming from the dishwasher's motor (circulation pump). If you hear such a sound, it's likely the motor is faulty.

Continuity Test:

  • To confirm the motor's condition, perform a continuity test:
  • Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.
  • Locate the motor behind the access panel or lower kick plate.
  • Disconnect the wires attached to the motor.
  • Use a multimeter set to Rx1, and place the multimeter's probe on the wire terminals.
  • Check if the multimeter displays a reading of zero or close to zero.

Check Ground Connection:

  • Verify the ground connection by placing one probe on each terminal at a time and the other on the motor's metal housing. There should be no reading.

Interpret Results:

  • If the multimeter gives any readings other than zero or close to zero during the continuity test, it indicates a faulty motor.


  • In case of a faulty motor, you'll need to replace it with a new one.

To replace the Whirlpool dishwasher motor, follow these steps:

Disconnect from Power:

  • Ensure the dishwasher is disconnected from the power source to prevent any accidents.

Locate and Unfasten Motor:

  • Locate the dishwasher's motor and use appropriate tools to unfasten the screws holding it in place.

Prepare the Dishwasher:

  1. Open the dishwasher door and remove the lower rack, spray tower, and the lower spray arm assembly.

Filter Assembly (if applicable):

Disconnect Drain Hose:

  • Disconnect the drain hose from the pump.

Remove Pump and Motor Assembly:

  • Lift the pump and motor assembly from the base of the dishwasher.

Install New Motor:

  • Install the new motor into the dishwasher, ensuring it is securely in place.

Reassemble Components:

  • Put back all the components you removed earlier, including the lower rack, spray tower, lower spray arm assembly, and filter assembly (if applicable).

Check for Leaks:

  • Before proceeding, check under the dishwasher for any signs of leaks. Make sure all connections are secure.

Reconnect to Power:

  • Reconnect your Whirlpool dishwasher to the power source.

Test Cycle:

Run a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher operates correctly with the new motor.

By following these steps carefully, you can replace the motor in your Whirlpool dishwasher and have it functioning properly again.

Pros and Cons of Whirlpool Dishwasher


  • Cleaning Performance
  • Price Range
  • Reliability
  • Quiet Operation
  • Energy Efficiency


  • Drying Performance
  • Design Aesthetics
  • Limited Advanced Features

Differences Between Whirlpool Dishwashers and Ventless Dishwashers

Whirlpool Dishwashers

Whirlpool dishwashers typically require a connection to a drain and plumbing system, as well as an electrical connection. They do not require additional ventilation because they use a built-in heating element for drying dishes.

Ventless Dishwashers

Ventless dishwashers, on the other hand, do not require external venting. They are designed to operate without the need for a traditional venting system. Ventless models use alternative methods for drying dishes, such as condensation drying or heat pump technology.

Alternative to Whirlpool Dishwashers

Bosch Dishwashers

Bosch is known for its high-quality dishwashers with advanced cleaning and drying technology. They offer a range of models with different features and price points.

2. Whirlpool Dishwasher's Sprayer Holes Blocked


The dishwasher fills with water but stops working, possibly due to clogged sprayer holes.


Understanding the Sprayer Arm:

  • The spray arm is a vital component of your Whirlpool dishwasher as it distributes water to clean your dishes effectively. Over time, it can get clogged with food particles, mineral deposits, and hard water residue.

Identify the Issue:

  • If your Whirlpool dishwasher receives power but stops working after filling it with water, it's highly likely that the sprayer holes are blocked.

Clear Blockages:

  • This issue is easily fixable and doesn't require any expense. To resolve it, follow these steps:
  • Use a metal clothes hanger to clear blockages from the sprayer arm's holes.
  • While it's possible to clear blockages with the arm installed, it's more effective to remove it from the unit for thorough cleaning.
  1. Detach and Clean Separately:
  • To ensure you remove all food particles and mineral deposits from the sprayer arm, it's advisable to detach it from its position and clean it separately.

By clearing the clogged sprayer holes, you can restore your Whirlpool dishwasher to its normal functioning state without any additional cost.

After using a wire clothes hanger to remove the dirt and debris from the sprayer arm, follow these additional steps:

Soak in Warm Water:

  • Soak the spray arm in warm water mixed with a dishwasher-safe cleaning agent to dissolve any remaining deposits and residues within the component. Allow it to soak for a sufficient amount of time to ensure thorough cleaning.

Reattach the Spray Arm:

  • Place the cleaned spray arm back in its original position in the dishwasher.
  • Ensure it is securely attached and properly aligned to prevent it from falling out during operation.

Test for Spinning:

  • Test the spray arm to ensure it spins freely. Turn on the dishwasher and observe whether the spray arm rotates as it should.
  • If it doesn't spin or appears obstructed, remove it again, reposition it, and then retest to ensure it moves freely.

3. Potential Detergent Dispenser

Issues If you observe that your dishwasher fills with water but then halts, there may be an issue with the detergent dispenser.

The concern arises when the detergent drawer occasionally fails to open as expected when the dishwasher is initiated, causing the dishwasher to stop despite having the proper power supply.

To address this problem:

  1. Commence a wash cycle on your Whirlpool dishwasher.
  2. Pause the cycle after 15 minutes.
  3. Open the door and verify if the detergent dispenser opens as it should.
  4. If the detergent dispenser functions correctly, close the door and resume the wash cycle to clean your dishes.


Your Whirlpool dishwasher may experience a situation where it fills with water and then abruptly stops. However, you can rest assured that resolving this issue is straightforward.

By adhering to the instructions outlined in this guide, you can not only rectify a Whirlpool dishwasher that fills and stops but also eliminate the need to consider professional technician services should you encounter a similar problem in the future.

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