Why is My Dishwasher Not Drying My Dishes?

Last Updated on April 6, 2022 by

Why is my dishwasher not drying my dishes? If your dishwasher stops drying dishes but cleans dishes just fine, it may not call for immediate replacement. However, an aged machine needs to be replaced.

Your dishwasher is not drying dishes due to reasons starting from mechanical failures to incorrect loading and placements, including faulty vent, rinse aid/rinse aid dispenser, wrongly selected cycle, failed heating element, clogged drying fan, and loading of non-dishwasher safe dishes.

Fortunately, we experienced a similar issue but had it fixed. Note that some dishwashers rely on a rinse aid to dry properly. However, some are just notoriously bad at properly drying dishes.

Read also: how we discovered what causes doa0y dishes

Dishwasher drying methods

Before we consider the various reasons why a dishwasher will not dry dishes, let’s work you through the major dish-drying methods:

  1. Heated dry

A heated dry cycle is an optimal, and perhaps, the most reliable dish drying method after a wash cycle. Depending on the finesse of the manufacturer, some moisture may still be left on the loads, typically on plastic utensils and at the upper rack.

Heated dry works as a separate dishwasher cycle, so it will use a separate button or button combinations.

Read also: why a toaster can microwave

Some wash cycles/programs will automatically select heated dry on most dishwashers. You could always deselect the option.

However, heated dry is not considered very energy-efficient, so it is advisable to use it sparingly.

  1. Condenser

In a condenser dry, a dishwasher uses its fan and the heat generated during the final rinse to dry the loads. Meanwhile, we explain how your dishwasher heats water in this article.

The condensing technology saves more energy compared to heated dry. It is also safe for the dishwasher cabinets unlike venting, which emits hot steam to the door vent.

Condenser dry is typically quieter because it redirects and dissipates moisture to a dishwasher base instead of back in the room.

  1. Air dry

Air dry is the most efficient dishwasher dry method. It uses natural fresh air on the loads to get rid of moisture but takes longer. This drying method is preferred if you do not intend to use the dishes immediately.

Here is our compilation for the best dishwashers with the air dry option.

Air dry goes by different names, according to the brand. Samsung, for example, refers to the air dry feature as AutoRelease Dry.

In Samsung’s scenario, the dishwasher door automatically opens when the temperature falls below 122°F for fresh air to circulate in the dishwasher. An internal fan rotates in the process to get rid of moisture and protect the dishwasher interior.

The air dry feature may be enabled by default depending on the model due to its economy-friendly nature. If your dishwasher does not feature automatic air dry functionality, manually open the dishwasher door after the cycle.

Why is my dishwasher not drying my dishes?

Below are common reasons your dishwasher refuses to dry the dishes:

  1. Faulty vent

Your dishwasher should be able to dry dishes after you adjust the placement and select the drying option. Otherwise, the vent responsible for releasing hot and steamy air during the rinse cycle is faulty.

The problem here is that the vent is not opening properly, leaving moisture on your dishes.


Inspect and make sure the vent is functional. if the vent door will not open fully or is stuck in its closed position, you may need a repair or replacement.

Some dishwasher vents feature a fan motor. Refer to the user manual for instructions regarding how to test the vent motor. Otherwise, you need a replacement for it.

  1. Faulty rinse aid dispenser

Your dishwasher may rely on a rinse aid to operate by reducing water surface tension. This results in it running off the clean dishes rather than forming water droplets.

Rinse aid reduces water spots on your loads, which improves dishes drying speed, especially in dishwashers with condenser dry option.


Ensure to fill up the rinse aid dispenser. Remove the dispenser cap and add rinse aid following the manufacturer’s instructions. Some dishwashers feature a rinse aid indicator light that shows when it is full.

If the dispenser already has enough rinse, dispenser gunk could prevent the rinse aid from being dispensed into your dishwasher in the rinse cycle.

Read also: is hand washing better than a dishwasher?

Clean the dispenser using a suction device, clear the dispenser cup, and add 2 distilled cups of white vinegar to the top rack.

Run your dishwasher on the hottest water setting while the rinse aid dispenser is open to flush grunge from it.

  1. Incorrect dishwasher for dry cycle

Dishwashers are typically equipped with different cycles and features. Most dishwashers also support multiple adjustable drying settings suitable for the volume of your load.

If you use a wash cycle or program that does not support drying, the dishes will not dry. The dishwasher will merely stop operating when that particular cycle is complete.


The solution is to make sure that your selected wash cycle can automatically initiate a drying option.

Refer to your product manual to find out about the air dry methods your dishwasher supports. As mentioned earlier, we have options such as condenser, heated dry, and auto air dry.

If your dishwasher does not feature any drying method, you can do so manually. Open the dishwasher door after a completed rinse cycle for room temperature air to circulate in the interior and dry the dishes.

Consider pulling the rack(s) a few inches from the dishwasher. Meanwhile, dishwasher racks can be very expensive, so ensure to maintain yours properly.

  1. Damaged heating element

A faulty heating element can be the culprit behind your dishwasher not drying dishes. Moreover, the dishes will not even get the required hot water temperatures to clean well.

Suppose your dishwasher uses condensing technology to dry dishes. Now, the condenser relies on the heat created during the final cycle to dry dishes. Since the heater is not even working, your loads will not receive the heat.


This is a more technical dishwasher component, and you want a repairman to inspect the heating element burned-out or broken areas.

A multimeter may be needed to test the heating element for continuity. If damaged, a replacement heating element is required. Contact your dishwasher manufacturer for replacement parts.

  1. Failed heating element switch

Your dishwasher may feature a heating element designed with a limit switch. This is activated when it senses that your dishwasher is getting too hot.

Unfortunately, a faulty switch could also stop the heating element from working at all.


The fix is to test the switch with a multimeter to know if it is working. Otherwise, a replacement is needed.

  1. Incorrectly loading dishes

How you toss the dishes in the dishwasher also determines how well they dry. Moreover, some kitchen utensils are not dishwasher safe, so ensure that yours has the “dishwasher safe” mark.

Materials like ceramic and glass, for example, fry faster than wood and plastic, which typically hold excess moisture.


The fix for this problem is to review and replace the dishes. Ensure enough space between your dishes while loading to improve airflow during the drying cycle.

When you stack or nest utensils such as spoons and bowls on each other, the air circulation will be poor. Moreover, some drying items will damp others.

  1. Clogged drying fan

Drying fan clogging is possible if your dishwasher combines a condenser or any other dry option with a fan to dry dishes.


The drying fan is accessible by removing the control panel using a multi-bit screwdriver. Clean the fan thoroughly if you notice debris. If cleaning the fan and the blades do not dry your dishes, contact a repairman.

Read also: do you have an air fryer? Here are the best frozen foods we found!

Best dishwasher with drying

Speaking of drying, you want a dishwasher that can dry properly, and here is our recommended dishwasher for the purpose:

Farberware FCDMGDWH Complete Portable Countertop Dishwasher with LED Light 2 Place Settings, 5 Wash Programs, Glass Door, White

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The impressive features we found in Farberware FCDMGDWH include the following:

Water efficiency

We advocate against dishwashers with heavy water consumption. And Farberware FCDMGDWH is one such dishwasher that uses only 1.3 gallons of water to clean the loads you toss in it. We consider this dishwasher one of our best water consumption dishwashers.


A really small, countertop dishwasher for all small households, boats, dorms, and RVs/campers. This tabletop uses only 2 place settings due to its compactness. Check out other top countertop dishwashers you should buy.

Drying system

Farberware FCDMGDWH uses a unique air refresh system to enhance drying performance. Trust us, this dishwasher dries fairly well enough for its value to eliminate unwanted odors at bay.

5 wash programs

We could select from all 5 wash programs, including fruit, normal, hygiene, glass, and rapid. If you are a fruitarian like one of our review team members, leverage the fruit mode to have a hygienic fruit wash.

What we like

Built-in water tank

Despite how portable this dishwasher is, it carries a built-in 5 Liter water tank. Just add water into it using the included water guide and water pitcher. We also enjoyed hooking up this machine to our faucet.


Farberware FCDMGDWH uses a digital LED control system.

See-through window

This picture-view dishwasher allows you to engage with the washing process. You literally watch stubborn dirt removed from your dishes.

Child lock

If you have children and pets at home, this small dishwasher is for you to protect the kids.

Delay start

With the delay start option, we conveniently scheduled this dishwasher to wash at a later time.

What we don’t

Place setting

This machine has only 2 understandably due to its size.


At 62 dB (decibels), this is a little loud dishwasher. Sound is measured in decibels (dB), and a normal human conversation is about 60 dB.

Follow these measures to make this dishwasher quieter.

Therefore, Farberware FCDMGDWH is a bit louder than a normal human conversation by 2 dB.

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Tips to dry dishes with dishwasher

  • No overfilling. Load your dishwasher with a bit of space between the dishes, cups, spoons, bowls, and other utensils to ensure even drying after the cycle.
  • Appropriate placement. First, make sure the dishes are marked “dishwasher safe”. If the machine uses the heated dry, place plastic dishware on the top rack to avoid melting exposure to the heater. If it uses condensation drying, you can load the plastic utensils at the bottom and top racks.
  • Combine silverware in the holder. This is better than loading the forks in one compartment, spoons in another, etc. You encourage nesting when you load much alike silverware together, which prevents drying.
  • Air dry. Manually air dry dishes in the dishwasher if there is no automatic air fry feature. Simply pull the dishwasher racks containing the dishes a few inches for room air to circulate in the interior.
  • Unload from the bottom. If you unload dishes from the top, water will drip down from the top rack, causing wet dishes.