How to Fix a KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes

dishwasher leaves dishes wet

Though they may be clean, a dishwasher that leaves dishes wet is only completing half its job. Wondering why is your KitchenAid dishwasher not drying? Overcrowding or improper loading is often the cause. Learn how proper loading methods and other easy interventions can help when your KitchenAid dishwasher isn’t drying.

KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes? This Could Be Why…

While a part malfunction could be responsible for a KitchenAid dishwasher not drying dishes, it usually comes down to proper use and care. The following causes typically have straightforward solutions to resolve drying issues.

Dirty Dishes Are Overcrowded

Overloading is one of the most common reasons your dishwasher leaves dishes wet. Loading too many dishes limits airflow inside the dishwasher. Without adequate space for air circulation, the dishwasher’s vents, fan or heated dry functions won’t be as effective. Avoid overcrowding by leaving enough space between each item that they don’t touch each other.

Here are some rack-by-rack loading tips that can also improve drying:

  • Upper rack: Reserve for bowls, cups, and glassware. Load items upside down and at an angle for better draining.
  • Bottom rack: Designed for dishes and servingware. Place one dish per slot to leave adequate space between each. Remove large food particles before loading, as a dishwasher won’t drain water if the drain is clogged with food.
  • Silverware basket: Avoid nesting by alternating forks and spoons next to each other.
kitchenaid dishwasher not drying

Unloading Clean Dishes Out of Order

Do you unload your dishwasher’s top rack first? This could be why your KitchenAid dishwasher doesn’t dry dishes. Unloading the top rack before the bottom allows any residual water to fall on the rack below, making dry items wet again.

When unloading the dishwasher, always unload the bottom rack first. This way, any remaining water on top rack items will fall on an empty rack below.

Plastic Items Don’t Dry Well

Many dishwashers employ condensation drying methods that use the heat absorbed by each item to make water droplets slide off dishes and glassware. However, plastic doesn’t retain heat as well as other materials, like glass or ceramic. Consequently, condensation drying is not as effective for plastic items, leaving them wetter at the end of a drying cycle.

For dryer dishes, we suggest limiting the amount of plastic in the dishwasher or hand washing those items instead.

Not Using Dishwasher Rinse Aid

Rinse aid is a liquid that should be added to the dishwasher to enhance drying function. This important addition alters the surface tension of water droplets, enabling them to run off dishes with greater ease and improving drying. Add rinse aid to the dishwasher’s designated dispenser before starting a wash cycle, filling it to the top. If your dishes still aren’t adequately dry, refer to your user manual to determine the optimum amount of rinse aid. Most dispensers can be adjusted to accommodate more as needed.

kitchenaid dishwasher doesn't dry dishes

Heated Dry Option Not Selected

A KitchenAid dishwasher’s Heat Dry function is automatically engaged during a Normal wash cycle. However, some wash cycles, like “Quick” or “1 Hour” require a manual selection of the heated dry function. When using these cycles, make sure you select the Heat Dry option before starting a wash cycle.

Some KitchenAid dishwashers have a ProDry option in addition to Heat Dry.

A KitchenAid dishwasher ProDry vs heat dry function uses a combination of condensation drying along with pulsing heat and fans to result in dryer dishes. If your dishwasher has this function, select the ProDry function along with Heat Dry for improved drying performance. 

Faulty KitchenAid Dishwasher Parts

If all else fails, it’s possible a faulty part is responsible for a KitchenAid dishwasher not drying dishes. 

The following part malfunctions can leave dishes wet and require professional replacement:

  • Broken vent: Many dishwashers use a vent to release moist air, aiding in drying. If the vent fails to open, damp air can remain inside the dishwasher, leaving dishes wet.
  • Failed fan motor: A fan is often used to enhance the drying process by pushing moist air out of the vents and drying water droplets. If the fan’s motor fails, or the blades don’t turn smoothly, water will remain on dishes and glassware.
  • Faulty Heating Element: Some dishwashers also have a heating element that heats the air inside to create condensation and promote better drying. A KitchenAid dishwasher heating element not working means no heat will be produced, leaving more moisture on dishes.

The technicians at Apex Appliance Service can fix a KitchenAid dishwasher not drying or resolve any other malfunction. Call us when you need a dishwasher repair service and for all your appliance needs!

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