Why Is My Dishwasher Whistling: 5 Common Causes with Solutions

Why Is My Dishwasher Whistling

There are several factors responsible for your dishwasher whistling. This includes apparent causes such as water circulation faults, damaged water inlet valves, bearings, or less known causes such as using the wrong detergent.

Since the 1970s, dishwashers have become these very convenient appliances that many Americans have grown really fond of. Yet, they sometimes exhibit various problems, such as whistling or high-pitched noises which can be overly offsetting. And if you are reading this now, it must mean your dishwashing machine is making those noises already.

In this article, we will discuss what this problem is, what causes it, how you can solve the problem as well as how to prevent your new GE dishwasher from even developing this issue in the first place,

Why Is My GE Dishwasher Whistling?

A whistling sound from a dishwasher refers to a high-pitched sound that can emerge from different parts of the machine during a washing cycle. This type of sound can be both annoying and alarming for many homeowners, but it often indicates an underlying issue that needs immediate attention.

Some of the causes of dishwasher whistling include:

Faults with The Water Inlet Valve

The water inlet valve is a pipe that supplies and controls the flow of water into the machine, and, like all mechanical parts, it is not immune to damage. When the valve becomes worn out, it may cease to function correctly, and one way of indicating a problem is by letting out the whistling sound you might hear.

This is just one of the many reasons that cause a dishwasher whistling sound, and it mostly happens after years of constant use. Hence, if you have had your dishwasher for years and have begun hearing that high-pitched noise, you should check with the inlet valve first.

Issues with Your Water Pressure

The pressure of the water supplied into the dishwasher may also affect how your machine sound. A dishwasher is designed to function optimally when all conditions are right. Hence both low and high water pressures can cause the dishwasher whistling.

For instance, low water pressure means only an insufficient amount of water makes it to the spray arms making it impossible for the arms to rotate as they should. This leads to inadequate water distribution and the buildup of air pockets within the water circulation system. This air often needs to escape, and this can result in whistling sounds during a washing cycle.

On the other hand, high water pressure implies that there will be an excessive forceful supply of water into the system. While this is good for enabling efficient washing of the dishing, it can also be quite turbulent and generate enough vibrations to cause whistling noises.

Summarily, it is never a good idea to operate your dishwasher using either low or high water pressure, and to get the best result; you will need to use the right pressure as the manufacturer recommends.

Spray Arms Clogged with Debris

The machine parts are not the only culprits responsible for whistling sounds; there are also non-intrinsic factors like water pressure, as seen above. But another non-intrinsic cause would be debris.

Debris is generally the remains of food particles and mineral deposits from detergents that can build up over a period of time. This may take days or weeks to form; however, when enough debris has accumulated, they can easily clog the spray arms and prevent the nozzles from dispersing water.

The spray arms are only as useful as their nozzles, and when they are clogged, the arms fail to spray water and make your machine whistle continuously as the water struggles to find ways to come out.

Faulty Pump Motor and Damaged Sealing

The pump motor on your dishwasher may also be why your appliance whistles. The motor comes with a small impeller seal that helps to keep the system intact and prevent water from leaking. But in some cases, the seal can become damaged or wear off after repeated use for years.

Your machine also comes with some bearings on the pump motor. These bearings work with the seals to help the pump continuously supply water to the spray arms. And just like the seals, these bearings can start to wear out after years of constant use.

And when either the seal or bearings start to give way, you might notice that water leaks at the pump with a corresponding high-pitched noise.

Luckily, this particular problem is easier to spot, and once you hear your dishwasher whistling near the door, you can open the door to confirm as the pump motor is located near the door.

Using The Wrong Detergent

This cause of dishwasher whistling is strange but very likely to occur. All dishwashers are designed to work efficiently with their standard detergents. Many brands of detergents make up what are considered standard detergents.

Likewise, generic or cheap brands do not easily pass for standard dishwasher detergent, and many manufacturers advise against using such soaps. Using these types of detergents can lead to problems such as whistling noises.

But it is also possible for your appliance to make those noises when you use ordinary soaps. This happens mostly when you use any detergent the manufacturer does not recommend.

This problem also causes whistling near the motor pump, so it should be easier to discover, and it is easy to fix as a simple switch to standard recommended detergent should suffice.

How to Fix Dishwasher Whistling?

Now that we understand what causes dishwasher whistling let us elaborate on ways to fix this problem:

Inspect the Water Inlet Valve

Please turn off the dishwasher and disconnect it from the power supply.

Locate the inlet valve, usually found at the bottom of the dishwasher.

Inspect the water valve for any physical signs of damage or leaks.

If the inlet valve appears faulty, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for repairing or replacing it. Alternatively, seek assistance from a qualified technician.

Check the Water Pressure and Adjust Accordingly

Check your home water pressure, then compare the reading with the manufacturer’s recommended water pressure for your dishwasher model.

If the pressure is too low, consult a plumber to adjust it accordingly.

If the pressure is too high, install a pressure regulator or reduce the water pressure at the main supply line.

Remove Debris from the Spray Arms

Rinse them under running water to remove any loose debris.

Prepare an easy mixture of mild detergent and warm water.

Soak the spray arms in the solution for a few minutes.

Use a brush to gently scrub the spray arms, paying attention to the nozzles.

Rinse the spray arms thoroughly and reattach them to the dishwasher.

Fix or Replace the Pump Motor

Determine if the noise is coming from the door area.

Look for the pump and remove the motor.

You can remove the impeller seal and replace it with a new one if that is the problem

You can also change the bearings on the motor

Alternatively, you can replace the entire motor

Tips and Tricks to Help Prevent Your New GE Dishwasher from Whistling

And if you have a relatively new GE dishwasher with only a few months or years of usage and would like to prevent dishwasher whistling from ever happening, below are a few tricks and tips to consider:

Carry out Regular Maintenance

Like all things mechanical, your dishwasher requires regular maintenance to serve you for the duration of its lifespan with very minimal issues. This regular maintenance entails everything from cleaning the interior and nozzles regularly to changing filters and other worn-out parts.

The water inlet valve and spray arms also need regular inspection and cleaning. It is often during these regular inspections that you can detect what needs changing before it becomes a problem.

Never Overload Your Machine

While throwing all the dishes into the machine at once is very tempting, you need to be careful not to overload the machine. Not only does this prevent the machine from performing optimally, but it also leaves you with dishes that still need to be thoroughly cleaned.

Check Water Pressure and Temperature

We have seen above how water pressure is vital for the efficient performance of your dishwasher. High or low water pressures are unsafe for the machine. Hence, you will need to regularly use just the proper water pressure to prevent future problems.

Water temperature is also another essential condition for the smooth operation of your dishwasher. Using too hot or too cold water is usually a recipe for disaster. It is advisable to check that the temperature is just right before washing cycles.

You will need to closely monitor both the temperature and pressure of the water you use and adjust them accordingly to get the best from your appliance. And if you need clarification about what is right, consult your manual, as these will always be stated.

Perform Certain Pre-Wash Activities

Your dishwasher can take care of food particles left on the dishes, but only if they are small in size and portions. Leaving large chunks of food on the dishes and then throwing them all into the machine doesn’t do the appliance any good.

Large food particles make it harder to clean the plate and gather to clog the spray arms, causing the dishwasher to whistle. Always perform a little pre-washing by scraping off any large particles before a washing cycle.

Use Only Standard Soaps

It is easy to purchase just any detergent after using your dishwasher for some time. However, if you must prevent issues such as those whistling noises, you need to make sure you are only using the standard detergents recommended by the manufacturer.


Dishwasher whistling can make you wonder whether or not your dishwasher is broken. In most cases, the machine is not broken, and the annoying sound is only pointing you to a tiny problem that needs immediate attention.

The several culprits that can easily be responsible for this noise have been described above. The solutions are also contained above, and you can quickly fix them by consulting the owner’s manual and following the guidelines provided here. You can also use our tricks and tips to give your dishwasher longevity.

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