Usage Tips \ Dishwashers \ Dishwasher Parts: The Ultimate Guide

Dishwasher Parts: The Ultimate Guide

Explore the parts of a dishwasher with this extensive guide and pictures. It can help you troubleshoot and pick the right replacement parts for your dishwasher.
Dishwashers are a great alternative to handwashing dishes. They can save energy, time, and water. They are intricate pieces of machinery composed of many parts that work together to help achieve the best result and clean dishes. However, when something goes wrong, you might not even know where to begin, as specialist knowledge is required.
That’s where our dishwasher parts guide comes in. We’ll help you get acquainted with the most common dishwasher parts, so you can have an easier time repairing your appliance.

Table of Contents

The Main Tub

One of the largest and most prominent parts of the dishwasher, the main tub takes up most of the space on a dishwasher part diagram. It’s where cleaning the dishes happens and where most of the parts are held. The tub varies in size based on the dishwasher’s capacity and can hold multiple racks.

Rack, Rack Supports, and Accessories

A dishwasher tub usually contains two racks, but larger models can have a third rack for items such as smaller dishes and cups.
Each rack is made to be durable and withstand water, heat, and weight. It’s connected to the tub with a rack support system, which typically includes a track, a few wheels to get it rolling, and a stopper to prevent the rack from getting ejected from the tub.
Common problems with the rack generally include breaking the track or the stopper. In some cases, the rack won’t fit in the broken track, which will then need to be replaced. If the stopper is missing, sudden jerks may pull the entire rack out of the tub.

Tub Gasket and Outside Connections

The main tub has a large rubber gasket running around the edges that seals it when the door is closed. The gasket prevents water from leaking. If you notice water leaking from the dishwasher, check to see if the gasket on the tub or the door is deteriorated or detached.
The tub also has insulating elements that protect the surroundings from the heat inside. Additionally, the tub holds the latches that connect it to the external parts of the dishwasher.

Spray Arms

The spray arms rotate and blast hot water around the tub to help ensure the dishes are cleaned evenly. Some models feature a spraying tower on the bottom rack that dispenses water instead. If parts of your dishes aren’t clean enough, the spray arm assembly might be stuck.

Heating Element

The heating element heats the water and dries the dishes after they’ve been washed. It’s located at the bottom of the tub. If the plates aren’t dry after a washing cycle, the heating element should be inspected and replaced if necessary.

Float Bulb and Float Switch

Located on the bottom of the tub, the float bulb prevents the dishwasher from overflowing. When it floats sufficiently, it will trigger the float switch, which cuts off the water supply.

The Door

The door of the dishwasher is vital to keeping the water inside the dishwasher. It also holds all the dishwasher controls.

Door Gasket

The door has a gasket running alongside its bottom, which seals the dishwasher when the door is closed. It can deteriorate and leak over time.

Latch and Switch

The door latch, as its name suggests, latches the door onto the main tub. The latch may also act as a switch, allowing the machine to turn on only when the door is closed. If the dishwasher doesn’t power on after the doors are closed, the latch and switch should be inspected for possible faults.

Control Panel

The control panel can be located on the front of the door or on top of the door panel and is the main control centre for operating the dishwasher. It is usually composed of buttons or pads and may have an LCD or touchscreen. It may also indicate errors and failing dishwasher components.


Depending on your dishwasher parts diagram, the timer (assuming time display) is typically located on the top of the door when it is opened, on the front of the door near the top, or in some rare products, projected onto the floor. It controls the washing cycles. If the dishwasher appears stuck on some cycles, the timer may be faulty.

Cycle Selector

The cycle selector is typically located on the control panel or on top of the dishwasher itself. The selector controls how long the dishwater will run and how much water is used.

Detergent Holder and Dispenser

Usually located on the inner door panel, the detergent holder is one of the essential parts of dishwasher machines. The holder may sometimes fail to open properly, preventing the detergent from being dispensed into the machine.

Rinse Aid Dispenser

While not universal to all dishwasher models, the rinse aid dispenser’s purpose is to add surfactants to the final rinse water for improved drying performance and fewer spots on items like glassware. It’s usually located on the inner door panel.


A dishwasher vent is typically located on the door, with the vent grill located on the inside door panel. The entire vent is usually a single assembly and generally needs to be replaced as a whole rather than taken apart. The vent is responsible for exhausting the hot air during the drying cycle. If the dishwasher fails in the middle of the drying cycle, a failed vent is a likely cause.

Silverware Basket

The silverware basket holds utensils. It can often be found on the inner door panel, but some dishwasher models have a detachable basket that sits on, or hangs from, the rack. It’s usually made of plastic and can deteriorate due to exposure to hard water.

The Inner Workings

The motor and piping elements are located below the main tub.

Kick Panel

The kick panel is a large plate beneath the doors. It needs to be removed to provide access to the motor and pipes.


The motor converts electrical energy into kinetic energy to power the washing arms. It’s located under the main tub, usually between the wash arm and the pump. The motor is one of the more commonly replaced parts, as it can be prone to breaking over time. The motor is typically connected to the pump as a single assembled piece.

Water Pump

The water pump is an elaborate mechanism composed of many smaller parts. It pumps water in and out of the machine. The pump is rarely disassembled but instead replaced as a whole.

Wash Impeller

The wash impeller, also called a pump impeller, pressurizes water to the spray arms and is located inside the pump assembly.

Drain Pump

The drain pump pushes water from the dishwasher into the drain pipe. It has a seal to prevent water from leaking under the dishwasher. If there are water leaks beneath the tub, check the drain pump seal and the drain hose.


The thermostat can be located under the tub or in the doors. Its main task is to regulate the water temperature. A lack of hot water can be attributed to a faulty thermostat.

Water Intake Valve

The intake valve controls water flow into the dishwasher. It’s usually in a corner behind the kick plate. The water intake valve opens when the dishwasher needs water, and water pressure does the rest, pushing water into the holding basin.

Drain Hose

The drain hose connects the dishwasher to the house’s plumbing. It can clog or leak if the water is too hard.


The macerator is responsible for chopping up small food items and helps to reduce the size of larger soil particles. It’s part of the pump mechanism.

Thermal Fuse

The fuse helps prevent the dishwasher from overheating the water. It’s mounted below the main tub. A blown fuse needs to be replaced but can point to a problem with heat regulation.

Shopping for Dishwasher Parts

Now that you know more about this appliance’s workings with our dishwasher parts guide, you can troubleshoot problems quicker and replace the broken parts. If you don’t know where to find the right replacement parts, and you own an appliance that is part of the Whirlpool family of brands, check out Whirlpool Parts. They have a vast selection of parts and can help you locate the perfect part for your model. Replacing your dishwasher parts can be a challenging task if you’re ill-equipped, so contact your local service centre to install the parts quickly and professionally and inspect the machine for other possible issues.

Keep performance at its peak. Give your dishwasher the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.
Did you find the article helpful?
You already voted!

2 Responses

  1. Linda Thomas says:

    Is there a way that bugs can enter into the dishwasher from the sewer? I have had roaches inside my dishwasher & I keep the sinks drains plugged & door closed. But when I open after a wash cycle there’s roaches inside – I do not have roaches anywhere else in my home. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    1. Moderator says:

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for visiting our Appliance Answers website and for asking your question. I have reached out to our product experts to see if there is any feedback they can provide for the issue you are having with bugs in your dishwasher. We have heard back and our product expert has stated that cockroaches are attracted to dark moist and warm environments and are attracted to food. They may be either established behind/underneath the dishwasher or getting in some other way and making their way into the dishwasher because that’s where food and water is. This could possibly be an infestation. If an infestation exists, they would be very “comfortable” in the many crevices in a dishwasher (i.e the door panel, under the unit, behind the unit, around the pump etc). We suggest this may need to be addressed by pest control and/or a plumber and highly recommend giving one a call to come out so that they can take care of this issue you are having. We hope this information helps. Please feel free to reach out again should you have any other questions.

      Thank you,
      Whirlpool Customer Care Team

Comments are closed.

Related Articles

Keep performance at its peak. Give your dishwasher the care it deserves beyond the manufacturer's warranty. Learn more.

Share this article

This will come in handy.

Get monthly answers to household challenges, and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*

Popular Articles

Gas vs. Electric Dryers

When the time comes to buy a new dryer, you have some decisions to make as far as features and design options but, choosing your

How to Buy a Dryer: The Full Guide

Table of Contents Planning considerations Decide on Your Preferred Set-up Washer and dryer sets can be installed in one of two ways. You can position

Fix it, clean it,
adjust it, love it.

Sign up for monthly tips & tricks and more from Appliance Answers and Whirlpool Canada.*
By closing this message, you consent to our cookies on this device in accordance with our Privacy Notice unless you have disabled them.