What to Do If Your Dishwasher Leaks – First 5 Things to Do Right Now!

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There are a lot of articles on the internet about how to fix a leaking dishwasher. But most of the time, when you look up “what to do if your dishwasher leaks”, what you’re really looking for is someone to tell you what to do right now, to stop the water from damaging your home! That’s what this article is for.

We’re Cleaner Guys, a professional water damage cleanup company. We help people deal with the aftermath of leaking dishwashers all the time. We can tell you the very first things you should do, and who to call! Read on.

Table of Contents

The First 5 Steps to Take When Your Dishwasher Leaks

If you discover water leaking from under your dishwasher, here are the first 5 crucial steps that you must take immediately. This is from our decades of experience as professionals who clean up water accidents like this.

  • Begin soaking up the water with towels, blankets, etc.
  • Turn off the water source to the kitchen.
  • Call a plumber.
  • Call a water damage restoration company.
  • Continue drying out the water as best you can.

We’ll next briefly break down each step more so that you know why you should do these steps.

Soaking up the water

You need to start by soaking up the water immediately because the longer it sits on your floors, the more likely it is you’ll have to deal with water damage and even mold. Floors that soak up a lot of water not only tend to warp and stain, they also almost always breed mold. They have to be dried out as quickly as possible.

Turning off the water supply

Turning off the water supply stops the water flow to your dishwasher, which will stop the leak for now. Most dishwashers nowadays have a shutoff valve under the sink, that shuts off the water specifically to the dishwasher. Some very old dishwashers may not have this, in which case you’ll need to shut off the water either to the kitchen or to the house, temporarily. Most water supply shutoff valves are in the basement, but some may be in odd places — mine is in my pantry. You should know where your water shutoff is before something like this happens.

There are two places the water could be coming from: the inside of the dishwasher while it’s running, or the water supply line on the exterior of the dishwasher. You should turn off the water supply regardless of which it is, but if the leak is coming from inside the dishwasher while it’s running, the water flow may not stop right away. This is because there is still water inside the machine, soaking the dishes. So you should also stop the dishwasher mid-cycle with the stop/pause button. This may help stop the flow entirely if shutting off the water supply doesn’t.

Calling a plumber

Calling a plumber is the next step you should take unless you are a plumber. There are plenty of videos and articles on the internet about how to troubleshoot why your dishwasher is leaking. But, if you’re not already familiar with the workings of dishwashers, we strongly recommend that you simply call a plumber.
It is very tempting to attempt to figure out the issue yourself. However, if you spend a couple of hours unsuccessfully trying to figure it out, the water will have spread and soaked in even further. This will create water damage you can’t repair yourself, and that will be more expensive to fix than just hiring a plumber.

Calling a water damage restoration company

The next step, calling a water damage restoration company, is the one most people skip, to their detriment. Water soaks into floors very quickly, and even when the surface is dry, the floor underneath the surface is often still saturated with water. This will not only cause mold to grow and spread where you can’t see it (which can make you very sick), but it can also make your floors dangerous. Here at Cleaner Guys, we got a call from a man just recently whose dog fell through the man’s kitchen floor because the fridge had been leaking for a long time, and it made the floor soft!

Find a good, reputable water damage restoration company, and give them a call to avoid all of that. Tell them when the water damage started, how big the water spread was when you found it, how quickly you cleaned it up, and whether the floor now feels dry. They can use that information to determine how likely it is that there is water damage in your floors that they should come to inspect. Do not skip this step! It can lead to dangerous mold growth later.

Continuing to dry out the area

After you’ve called a plumber and a restoration company, you should continue drying out the area as best you can in the meantime. Set up any fans or dehumidifiers you have around the wet area, and point them at it. Use a hair dryer too, if you have one and you have the time! You need to get the affected area dry as fast as possible, so that mold doesn’t grow.
If you can, pull your dishwasher away from the wall as well, and do your best to soak up and dry out the water back there.

How to Choose a Trustworthy Plumber and Mitigation Company

Worrying “What if the plumber or mitigation company I choose charges me too much, or doesn’t do good work?” It’s a practical, reasonable thing to be worried about! Sadly, we see a lot of that kind of behavior in our line of work. That’s why we work so hard to always be the most honest people out there, and produce high-quality results! But if you’re not in Western Washington, you won’t be able to call us in to fix your water damage. So, if you have to figure out who else to call, how do you do it?

Lucky for you, we wrote an entire guide on how to vet service companies and choose the one that’s best for you, and the most trustworthy! You can open it in a new tab and read it here.

What are the Most Common Causes of Dishwasher Leaking?

We here at Cleaner Guys are water damage restoration professionals, not plumbers, so we encourage you to leave your dishwasher repair to a plumber, or learn more on a plumbing company’s website. However, we can tell you about some of the most common causes that we see that make dishwashers leak, to help you learn more about what happened! The most common causes of dishwasher leaks are as follows:

  • A water supply line or drain line leak
  • The wrong dishwasher detergent (can cause internal pressure on the door)
  • The dishwasher is not level (water collects in one side or corner)
  • The dishwasher door was not installed correctly (no seal)
  • Cracking or damage in the interior, such as the tub floor or the spray arms

Important: if you attempt to troubleshoot your leaking dishwasher yourself, be sure to disconnect it from all electricity first!

Photo of some of Cleaner Guys’ team!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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