How to Fix a Dishwasher That Fills Slowly

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Your dishwasher is equipped with an intake screen that filters out rust and other debris that could damage the pump and other delicate parts. Sometimes, though, the intake screen collects so much debris that it slows the flow of water to the dishwasher. When that happens, you need to remove and clean the screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking Tape And Pen
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Needle-nose Pliers
  • Adjustable Pliers
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Nut Driver And Socket
  • Screwdriver
  • Small Screwdriver For Prying
  • Shut off the power and water to the dishwasher. Flip the circuit breaker at the main panel, then close the water valve. If you can't find a dedicated valve under your sink, shut off the home's main water valve.

  • Remove the service panel from the bottom of the dishwasher. If it is screwed to the dishwasher, remove the screws with a screwdriver. If the panel hangs on hooks, pull the panel out and swing it up to remove it from the hooks.

  • Locate the inlet valve. It should be near the front and will have two water lines and a pair of wires connected to it (see A).

  • Disconnect the water lines. Use an adjustable wrench to remove the fitting from the water-supply tube. Use adjustable pliers to compress the hose clamp on the fill hose, then slide the clamp up a couple of inches (about 5 cm) so you can remove the hose.

  • Wrap the wires with masking tape; label each so you can reinstall them correctly. Remove the wires with needle-nose pliers.

  • Remove the screws that hold the valve to the dishwasher, using a nut driver and socket. Remove the four bolts that hold the inlet fitting to the valve, using a nut driver and socket or an adjustable wrench. Then pull the fitting off the valve. The screen will be underneath.

  • Use a small screwdriver to gently pry the screen out (see B), then clean it with an old toothbrush.

  • Reassemble the valve and reinstall it, then turn the power and water back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your intake screen is coated with hard-to-remove mineral deposits, soak it overnight in a bowl of white vinegar to dissolve the minerals.
  • If your dishwasher won't fill at all, the inlet valve could be bad. To replace the old valve, use the steps outlined on this page.

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