Dishwasher Normal / Abnormal Noises

There are many normal sounds you can hear from a dishwasher. Some sounds are normal, while others may be abnormal but have easy solutions. Here are some of the normal and abnormal sounds you may hear and how to correct them.

Normal

  • Clicking or Grinding Sound in the Control: Timer model dishwashers and some models with electronic controls will make clicking sounds as the dishwasher progresses through its cycle.  
    • Some models of dishwashers with electronic controls have a motor driven electrical switching device in the control panel. This type of sound will be heard when the dishwasher is changing cycles, for example, when the dishwasher moves from circulation mode to pump-out mode. The sound is normal.
  • Humming: The dishwasher motor may make on and off humming sounds during operation that are normal. This sound occurs because:
    • The fan that cools the main pump motor is rotating.  
    • The soft food disposer may be grinding up food waste.
    • The drain pump may be operating.
  • Pausing During Drain: Drain pump starts and stops several times during each drain. This helps pump out food debris more effectively. If your dishwasher pauses briefly or seems to start and stop during the draining period, this is normal operation.
  • Snapping Sound While Running:  
    • Throughout the Cycle: A dishwasher fills and drains several times during the washing and rinsing cycles. Each time it begins to drain, a solenoid energizes, causing a definitive snapping sound. This will happen several times during each cycle depending on the model and options selected. This is normal, though some models do not have drain solenoids, so this sound will not be heard on all models.
    • Loud Snap Mid-Cycle: It is normal to hear a snapping sound when the detergent cup opens  
  • Snapping When Opening the Door:  It is normal to hear a snapping sound when the detergent cup opens as it hits the door or upper rack.  
    • On flip cover detergent cups: The cover only opens to a 90 degree angle when in the wash cycle. When the door is opened at the end of the cycle you may hear a snap as the cup opens fully. The sound is normal.  
    • On some models: You may hear a snap from the door latch as you open and close the dishwasher. This is normal.  
  • Swishing or Sloshing: The dishwasher will make a swishing noise as the water is sprayed around inside the tub during the rinse cycles and the main wash.  
  • Whining Noise: The dishwasher wash pump motor can make a whining sound when operating. This is normal.


View a short video about normal dishwasher noises:


Abnormal

  • Beeping: Occurs when the dishwasher is opened mid-cycle (including the dry cycle). Shut the door and hit start to allow the dishwasher to resume the cycle.
  • Grinding: Occurs when no water is in the dishwasher and the circulation pump is running. For information on how to correct a dishwasher filling issue, visit: Dishwasher – Not Filling with Water
  • Pipe Rattling/Banging/Booming: This is a household plumbing issue called water hammer. Please contact a local plumber to have an anti-hammer device installed. For more information, see Dishwasher Causes of Water Hammer
  • Rattling: While the dishwasher is in operation, the water action can cause the dishes to rattle, and lightweight plastic objects can be forced out of the rack. Make sure the dishes and utensils are secure and not banging together. This rattling sound can be hard to distinguish from normal motor noises. To determine if a rattling noise is a loading issue, run the dishwasher again without any dishes. If the noise is not present, please consult the Owner's Manual for loading suggestions. Download a copy of the Owner's Manual
  • Rhythmic Knocking or Thumping: Most likely caused by the spray arm hitting something inside the dishwasher as the spray arm rotates. To solve the problem, rearrange dishware inside the dishwasher to provide clearance for the spray arms. The spray arms must be free to rotate for good wash performance. For more information: Lower Spray Arm Not Spinning
  • Squealing or Rattling Pump Noise: If the dishwasher is new, it may not have any water in it. This can cause a "squeal" or "rattling" sound the first time it is used. The sound may also occur if the dishwasher is run after an extended period of time without any use.
    • Add one quart of water to the bottom of the tub and the noise should go away. The water lubricates the pump seals and keeps them quiet.
    • Refer to the installation instructions for more information about this sound. Download a copy of the Installation Instructions

View a short video about abnormal sounds:


If the above suggestions do not resolve the issue, service may be needed. For service, please schedule a service appointment with GE Appliances Factory Service.