Why Your Dishwasher Is Leaking From the Bottom (and How to Fix It)

Find out the reason behind the leak and how to resolve the problem

Dishwasher leaking from bottom

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Not every home relies on a dishwasher to help manage the ongoing task of cleaning pots, pans, dishes, and utensils, but those that have dishwashers know that these helpful kitchen appliances can save a lot of time after a big meal.

During operation, water is pumped into the unit through the inlet valve and released in a powerful spray to quickly remove food, oil, grease, and any other stuck-on debris. However, in some cases, the dishwasher can develop a leak, causing water to seep, drip, or pour out of the bottom of the appliance. If this occurs, you need to inspect the dishwasher and troubleshoot the issue to figure out what is causing the leak.

Some problems, like a worn door seal, can be fixed relatively easily by an experienced DIYer, but other issues, like a corroded tub, may require a professional dishwasher technician to assess and repair the problem, or possibly replace the entire unit. This guide can help you find out more about why the dishwasher is leaking from the bottom and how to resolve the situation.

Safety Considerations

Before trying to troubleshoot a problem with the dishwasher, it's important to consider the potential hazards. Dishwashers are packed with electrical components that need to be powered by a connection to an outlet or wired directly into the home's electrical system. It's recommended to either unplug the dishwasher or turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

Additionally, the underside of a dishwasher can have a range of sharp, metal components, so it's necessary to work slowly and carefully. It's a good idea to wear a pair of a gloves and a long-sleeve shirt to protect your hands and arms from any cuts or abrasions. Closed-toe shoes and long pants are also encouraged while you work.


Most of these repairs are best done by a qualified repair person, and the dishwasher may have to be removed to access the parts.

Faulty Inlet Valve

When water flows into the dishwasher, it relies on the function of the inlet valve. However, this valve is a common site of failure for the appliance, leading to reduced cleaning capabilities, noisy operating sounds, and leaks. You can test the functionality of the inlet valve by opening the dishwasher mid-cycle. If the water continues to fill with the door open, then it's likely that the inlet valve is faulty. A more thorough investigation of the bottom plate of the dishwasher can reveal signs of an active leak from the valve, like drips or hard water build-up around the valve.

To resolve this problem, you will need to order a new inlet valve and install it according to the manufacturer's directions. Generally, you should be able to take off the kickplate panel at the bottom of the dishwasher door, remove the hose, screws, and clamp connected to the inlet valve, and detach any wires. After disconnecting these parts, remove the old existing inlet valve and install the new one. With the new valve in place, reattach the wires, clamp, screws, hose, and kickplate panel to finish the repair.

Clogged Filter

At the bottom of the dishwasher, there is a filter that is intended to prevent larger chunks of food, fat, and debris from clogging the drain line for the appliance. However, if the filter is not regularly cleaned, the debris inside the dishwasher can gradually accumulate to the point that the filter becomes clogged. When this occurs, the water that would usually drain out of the dishwasher during a regular cycle becomes trapped inside the dishwasher.

The water in the dishwasher backs up and begins to seep out of the dishwasher basin, causing the unit to leak. This is a relatively easy fix. Simply remove any food, fat, grease, and other debris from the bottom of the dishwasher, then pull the filter out of the unit and wash it thoroughly. This should allow the water to flow freely into the drain and help to prevent the unit from leaking.

Worn Door Panel Seal

Another problem that could be causing the dishwasher to leak from the bottom is a worn or loose door panel seal. This seal is essentially a rubber gasket that fits around the door to help prevent water from seeping out of the appliance during operation. However, if the gasket is ripped, torn, stretched, or otherwise damaged, then the water inside the dishwasher may exit through small gaps or inconsistencies in the seal.

To repair this problem, you will need to order a compatible replacement door panel seal. Start by peeling away the old gasket from the door, then clean the channel with warm, soapy water. Use a hairdryer on low heat to warm up the new door gasket. This makes the gasket more pliable and allows you to smooth out any folds or indentations in the material. When you are ready, position the center of the gasket along the top of the door. Apply even pressure across the top and down more sides, then close the dishwasher door to seal the gasket in place.

Unresponsive Float Switch

Inside the dishwasher there is a float assembly made up of a float and a float switch. This part of the dishwasher is used to maintain the appropriate water level inside the unit during operation. As the dishwasher pumps water into the tub to clean the dishes, the float rises with the increasing water level. When it reaches the set height, the float triggers the float switch to turn off the water.

An unresponsive or faulty float switch may not turn off the water when it reaches the indicated level. The water continues to fill, backing up inside the unit until it can no longer be contained. At which point, the water will seep or leak out of the appliance. To resolve this issue, you will need to replace the faulty float switch. Purchase a compatible replacement for the unit, then detach the old float switch and install the new float switch according the manufacturer's directions. After installing the new float switch, the water level should remain below the heating element inside the dishwasher.

Damaged Drain Hose

Hoses are frequently used in plumbing applications to move water from one location to another. A drain hose is just one more type of hose that is commonly used for this purpose, but if the hose is cut, nicked, stretched, or otherwise damaged it could cause the dishwasher to leak from the bottom. Remove the kickplate below the dishwasher door, grab a flashlight, and turn the dishwasher on so that you can inspect the drain hose while the unit is in operation.

Leaks aren't always immediately visible, so take your time to inspect the drain hose. If you spot any problems, then you will need to purchase a new drain hose and may need to get new fittings to secure the hose. Turn off the dishwasher and place a shallow pan under the hose to catch any water. Use needle nose pliers to pinch the hose clamp and remove it from the pump, then repeat this process with the other side of the hose to remove it entirely. Connect the new drain hose at the sink drain, then connect it to the dishwasher pump. Run the dishwasher with the kickplate removed to make sure the hose is securely connected with no leaks.

Loose Door Latch

If the door to the dishwasher cannot close properly, then there is a good chance that water will seep out of the unit. The water runs down the side of the dishwasher and pools on the floor, so it may seem as though the dishwasher is leaking from the bottom. To fix this problem, you will need to install a new door latch that is compatible with the make and model of dishwasher. Consult the manufacturer's website for directions or contact a dishwasher repair professional to complete this fix.

Corroded Dishwasher Tub

The tub of a dishwasher refers to the large basin that makes up the bulk of the appliance. A leak from the bottom of the dishwasher may be a result of damage to the tub due to powerful chemical detergents, mineral build-up, or natural wear-and-tear over an extended period of time. If the leak is caused by a corroded dishwasher tub, then it's recommended to contact a professional dishwasher technician or a plumber to assess the problem.

In some cases, they may be able to fix or replace the tub, without having to replace the entire appliance, though the cost and time involved may not be worth the repair. Consider the age of the dishwasher and weigh your options carefully. If the time and money for a repair is too much for an older unit, then it's better to invest in a new dishwasher for the home.

Leaking Pump Seal

If you have noticed a reduction in the cleanliness of dishes after a complete wash cycle or you have spotted a leak from the bottom of the dishwasher, then it may be a result of a leaking pump seal. The pump is used to bring water into the dishwasher during operation, but if the seal is damaged or worn, then the water may seep out around the seal. Use a flashlight to inspect the pump housing and the dishwasher motor to figure out where the leak is coming from.

To fix a problem with a leaking pump seal, you need to remove the pump from the dishwasher and replace the rubber pump seal. However, if you aren't comfortable disconnecting and reconnecting the pump, you may need to hire a professional dishwasher repair technician or a plumber to complete this fix.

When to Call a Professional

Not every DIYer is experienced enough with plumbing and electrical to manage the repair of a dishwasher. If you aren't comfortable inspecting and repairing the dishwasher on your own, or the issue appears to be more severe than you can handle, then it's a good idea to contact a professional dishwasher repair technician or a plumber to assess the situation and make the necessary repairs.

In some circumstance, your own level of expertise won't help to resolve the problem because the issue is beyond repairs, such as a corroded dishwasher tub. While you may be able to find a technician to replace just the tub, the time and money may not be worth it. Consider replacing the entire dishwasher with a new, problem-free unit. However, before purchasing a new dishwasher, check the warranty on your existing machine to find out if the cost of repairs or replacement are covered in part or in whole by the manufacturer or retailer.