Why is my Frigidaire dishwasher not drying?



You’ve done a load in your Frigidaire dishwasher and are getting ready to put the dishes away only to find they’re still wet. Now, you’re faced with waiting for the dishes to air dry or drying them by hand, which is a hassle and defeats the purpose and convenience of having a dishwasher.

Why is your Frigidaire dishwasher not drying? The answer could be as simple as improperly placing the dishes, glasses and cutlery inside of the dishwasher. Are your dishes nesting into each other on the bottom rack (as opposed to having proper space between them), or are you forgetting to put glasses and mugs on the far edges of the upper rack (so they’re tilting down) or not placing your bowls and pans face down? All of these things can contribute to wet dishes.

Of course, troubleshooting problems to get dry dishes could also be more difficult if mechanical problems are involved. Read on to discover some reasons one of the most used home appliances might be leaving your dishes and mood soggy.


Types of dishwasher drying: Heated vs. condensation drying

Dishwashers generally use one of two drying methods:

  • Heater drying: A heating element raises the temperature inside the dishwasher during the dry cycle, making water evaporate. At the same time, the dishwasher fan runs, drawing moisture from inside the home appliance and whisking it out through the vent.
  • Condensation: This method combines the properties of a stainless steel dishwasher tub and hot water. At the end of the cycle, moist air in the dishwasher condenses into water droplets on the stainless steel surface and then drains away. While plastic items in a heater dryer might run the risk of melting when on the lower rack, this isn’t an issue with the condensation drying process.


Possible causes of Frigidaire dishwasher not drying

When troubleshooting why a Frigidaire dishwasher isn’t drying properly, the most common culprits are improper drying cycles, unused rinse aid or clogged dispensers, broken heating elements, faulty high-limit thermostats and vent doors that don’t properly open and shut.

Check that you’re using the right drying cycle

When looking for simple solutions to wet dishes, this is a fast and easy one. Are you actually using a wash cycle that has a heated dry finish? For example, quick-wash options don’t do a heated dry but leave the dishes to air dry or drip dry.

Pro tip: Consider opening your dishwasher door a bit after finishing a load of dishes. This will help extra water to evaporate.

Check the rinse aid dispenser

Rinse aid helps prevent water spots on dishes, especially glasses, which can be an issue if you have hard water. Rinse aid reduces the surface tension in water so it’s more likely to spread out on dishes, rather than creating mineral deposits that require a second cleaning by hand after the dishes have gone through clean and dry cycles. 

The rinse agent also helps your dishes dry faster. The first thing you’ll want to do is buy rinse aid and use it with the automatic dispenser that many dishwashers have (usually released during the final rinse). Some Frigidaire dishwashers have controls that allow you to adjust how much rinse aid is dispensed.

If the rinse aid doesn’t seem to be doing its job, check that there isn’t any buildup in the dispenser, impeding its progress. Make sure the chamber opens and closes without issue.

A broken dishwasher heating element

The heated dry cycle might not be drying dishes sufficiently if the heating element is broken or not working properly — it should usually warm the interior of the washer to anywhere between 110 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

To be safe, be sure to unplug the unit or shut off the dishwasher’s power source and then turn to the user manual to locate the heating element assembly (usually found behind the lower panel, under the tub). Check the heating element for broken or burned-out areas.

You might also need to have a service professional use a multimeter (also called a multitester), which measures electrical voltage, current (amperage), resistance and other values. This can tell you if you have a continuous electrical path or have continuity issues that are affecting the heating element’s performance.

If you need to get the heating element repaired or replaced, it’s best to turn to a service professional unless you have serious DIY skills with electrical systems. 

A faulty high-limit thermostat

Usually found at the bottom of the dishwasher tub, the high-limit thermostat is designed to turn off the heating element when it detects a water temperature above a certain level. If defective, it might get tripped by a cooler temperature, causing the heating element to fail.

At a cooler temperature, a defective high-limit thermostat might prevent the heating element from heating. Dishes won’t dry as well without heat. A service professional can check for electrical continuity through the high-limit thermostat using a multimeter. If they measure no continuity at room temperature, you’ll need to replace the high-limit thermostat.

Replacing your high-limit thermostat involves removing the outer door and control panels and the bottom front access and toe panels, then removing the old thermostat and replacing it with the new one. This is why many homeowners prefer an appliance repair professional to take care of the issue for them.

A stuck vent door

Many dishwashers rely on a vent door to release hot, steamy air during the rinse cycle. If the vent remains closed or doesn’t operate, the moisture will remain trapped in the washer, keeping dishes wet. Use your manual to find the vent in the machine and then check that it isn’t stuck in the closed position or not opening fully. Again, you will probably need professional help to repair or replace the vent door.

Many vents also work in conjunction with a fan motor. If the fan motor isn’t working, the dishes won’t dry. To determine if the fan motor has stopped working, a service professional can test the motor for continuity with the multimeter. It’s also worth trying to turn the fan blade by hand to see if it spins freely. If the vent fan motor is burned out, it will need to be repaired or replaced by a professional.


Other dishwasher drying tips

Besides the dishwasher problems already covered, here are other tips to help your dishwasher better dry dishes:

  • Ensure that your home’s water heater is set to at least 120 degrees. 
  • Check to see if debris is stopping your dryer fan from turning.
  • Unload the bottom rack of the dishwasher first so you don’t risk water falling down from the top of the dishes on the upper rack.
  • Keep in mind that plastic items tend to stay wetter than other items, so they may need to be hand dried.


Dishwasher repair costs are a thing of the past with Cinch

If you don’t want to worry about the cost of repairing or replacing a built-in dishwasher (as well as other covered major home appliances), you should check out the home protection plans offered by Cinch Home Services. Dishwashers are covered by both our Appliances Plan and our Complete Home Plan.

If your dishwasher requires repairs or replacement, you can request service at any time online or by phone, and we’ll search through our network of vetted and experienced service professionals in your area to diagnose and remedy the problem. Our home warranty plans are also backed by a 180-day workmanship guarantee.

With a Cinch home protection plan, you can keep your dishes clean and dry and get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your budget is protected. Request a free quote today. 

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to provide potential solutions but aren’t guaranteed to fix the problem. To avoid further issues, though, please seek an expert opinion similar to one offered by a Cinch service provider.


Discover some common reasons your Frigidaire dishwasher won’t dry properly and what you can do to fix them.