3 Reasons Whirlpool Dishwasher Fills With Water Then Stops

Have you noticed that your Whirlpool dishwasher fills with water then stops? I’ll help you find out what the problem is and suggest some DIY fixes to help you fix the problem. 

Your Whirlpool dishwasher fills with water then stops because of clogged holes on the spray arms, a malfunctioning circulation pump, or a faulty detergent dispenser. You have to clean or replace these components to get the machine to start and run a complete wash cycle.

A Whirlpool dishwasher that only fills but doesn’t wash can be an inconvenience, especially if you have many dishes to clean and only a few minutes to get the job done.

Still, there are thing you can do to fix this problem, and it doesn’t involve hiring the service of a skilled and experienced technician.

My goal in this guide is simple:

I’ll state and explain why your Whirlpool is likely shutting down after filling with water. And then I’ll suggest what you should do to fix each error and get your unit working properly again.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Troubleshooting Guide

Whirlpool Dishwasher Fills With Water Then Stops

Why Does My Whirlpool Dishwasher Fill With Water Then Stops?

The following tables shows why Whirlpool dishwashers fill with water and then stop as well as what you can do to fix the problem:

 ProblemHow to Notice ItQuick DIY Fix
1.Faulty circulation pumpYou will hear a humming, annoying sound from the circulation pumpUse a multimeter to do a continue test. If you don’t get zero or a value close to zero, replace the circulation pump
2.Blockage in sprayer holesYou’ll see food particles and mineral deposits from hard water in the holes.Use a cloth wire hanger to remove the dirt from the holes. Run water through the sprayer to give it a final good clean.
3.Faulty detergent dispenserThe detergent drawer doesn’t open up to release detergent to the dishes when running a wash cycleFirst, give the dispenser good clean to see if that solves the problem. If one of the springs is broken, get a new detergent dispenser for replacement.

1. Malfunctioned or Faulty Motor/Circulation Pump

Your Whirlpool dishwasher features a wash motor that must work appropriately for the whole unit to work well.

If you notice that the dishwasher fills with water and then stops instead of running a wash cycle, it’s likely that the motor (circulation pump) malfunctioned or already completely faulty.

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The only best way to fix this error is to run a Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting by locating the motor and see if it’s bad. More often than not, a bad motor will generate a clicking sound right from where the manufacturer installed it.

If you hear the annoying sound from the motor, it’s likely that the component is faulty and needs a replacement. You should first run a continuity test to determine whether the motor can still work or otherwise. 

To do this:

  • Disconnect the unit from the power source
  • Look for the motor behind the access panel or the lower kick plate
  • Disconnect the wires attached to the motor
  • With a multimeter set to Rx1, place the multimeter’s probe to the wire terminals

Check if the multimeter returns results of a reading of zero or close to zero.

Now check the ground connection by placing one probe on each terminal at a time and the other one on the motor’s metal house. You shouldn’t have any reading for this.

If your test returns any other readings other than what I’ve stated above, your Whirlpool dishwasher motor is bad. You should get a new motor for replacement.

new Whirlpool dishwasher motor

To replace the Whirlpool dishwasher motor:

  • Disconnect the dishwasher from power
  • Locate the motor and unfasten the screws that hold it in place
  • Open the door, remove the lower rack, spray tower, and the lower spray arm assembly
  • Remove the filter assembly under the spray arm if your model has one
  • Remove the drain hose from the pump and lift the pump and motor assembly form the base
  • Install the new motor and put all the components back in place

Make sure there are no leaks under the unit. Connect your Whirlpool back to power and run it through a test cycle.

Reset the dishwasher and then power it back on ready to clean dishes. The unit should not fill with water and run a wash cycle successfully.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Not Turning On

2. Your Whirlpool Dishwasher’s Sprayer Holes Blocked

The spray arm is one of the most important components of the Whirlpool dishwasher. Its work is to shoot out water so that the unit can clean your dishes.

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But the spray arm doesn’t remain in the best condition for the dishwasher’s lifetime. As you continue to use your Whirlpool dishwasher, food particles, mineral deposits, and hard water will block the spray arm.

So if your Whirlpool dishwasher is getting power, but then it stops working after filling with water, there’s a high chance the sprayer holes have clogging in them.

Clogging in the holes isn’t something difficult to fix, and you don’t have to spend any money to get this done. All you have to do here is to clear away the blockages to get the unit working as it normally does.

You can use any metal clothes hanger to clear blockages from the spray arms’ holes. You can clear the blockages with the arms installed, but it’s best to remove it from the unit and clean it separately for the best results. 

Detaching the spray arm from its place and cleaning it separate from the unit will ensure you remove all food particles and mineral deposits from the wholes.

After using a wire clothes hanger to remove the dirt and debris:

  • Soak the spray arm in warm water mixed with water to dissolve the deposits left in the component.
  • Put the spray arm back in place and secure it accordingly so that it doesn’t fall out.
  • Test the spray arm to ensure it spins. If it doesn’t, remove it and reposition, and then test it for spinning to make sure it does so freely.

I strongly suggest that you also clean the outer part of the spray arm. Doing so will make sure the dishwasher works well for an extended period.

Related: Whirlpool Dishwasher Buttons Not Working

3. The Detergent Dispenser Might Be Faulty

If you notice that your dishwasher fills with water but then it stops, it could be there is a problem with the detergent dispenser.

The problem here is that sometimes the detergent drawer doesn’t open up the way it should when you turn the dishwasher on. Thus, the dishwasher will stop despite having the correct power supply.

To fix this problem: 

  • Start a Whirlpool dishwasher to run a wash cycle.
  • Pause the cycle after 15 minutes.
  • Open the door and check if the detergent dispenser opens, as it should.
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If you notice that the detergent dispenser opens the way it should, close the door and resume running the wash cycle to clean your dishes.

If the detergent dispenser doesn’t open, it could be for two reasons. It’s likely that the dispenser is dirty or the spring that opens the dispenser door is broken.

Giving the unit a good clean can fix the problem if it’s dirt causing the dispenser not to release detergent to the dishes.

If the spring in the unit is broken, the best thing to do in this case is to get a new detergent dispenser for replacement.

dishwasher detergent dispenser

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Most Common Problem with a Whirlpool Dishwasher?

The most common Whirlpool dishwasher problems that you’re more than likely to run into include:

  • The dishwasher not turning on despite having power
  • The dishwasher to cleaning dishes despite having water 
  • Dishwasher not drying dishes
  • The dishwasher not draining
  • The dishwasher control panel not responding despite having lights

Fortunately, these common problems aren’t difficult to fix. You can run a Whirlpool dishwasher troubleshooting to identify what error the unit has and check the manual for recommended DIY fixes.

2. Why Won’t My Whirlpool Dishwasher Run a Cycle?

Your Whirlpool dishwasher won’t run a cycle possibly because of a tripped breaker. You should check your home’s circuit breaker and adjust it accordingly.

It could also be that your unit just jammed, with the control panel getting the wrong signals from different component of the dishwasher. Should this be the case, you should consider resetting the dishwasher so resolve the glitches.

You should consider doing a hard reset. Unplug the unit from the power source, wait at least 5 minutes for the unit to rese, plug it back to power, and then start a new cycle to clean your dishes.

3. How Do I know If My Whirlpool Dishwasher Water Inlet is Bad?

The signs of a faulty Whirlpool dishwasher inlet valve includes:

  • Leaks that fill up the unit with water even when it’s off
  • Lack of enough water to run a full wash cycle

A faulty inlet valve cause water to leak to a point that the dishwasher fills and start to flood your kitchen.

Fortunately, the faulty valve is easy to fix. Remember, many inlet valves malfunction because of defective seal or solenoid failure. So addressing these should help to fix the issue.

4. Does My Whirlpool Dishwasher Have a Reset Button?

Whirlpool dishwashers don’t have reset buttons. So the only best way to reset the unit is to disconnect it from the power source, wait at least 5 minutes, and then turn it back on to run a new wash cycle.


Your Whirlpool dishwasher might fill with water and then stop. But you can be sure that the issue is easy to fix.

If you follow the instructions I’ve provided in this guide, you’ll not only fix a Whirlpool dishwasher that fills and stops, but also never have to worry about hiring a professional technician if you ever experience the same problem in the future.