Dishwasher Sounds Like Popcorn

May 22, 2022
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Those Strange Noises that Your Dishwasher is Sometimes Makes

If your dishwasher sounds like popcorn, you can try a few different fixes. You should pinpoint the root cause behind the dishwasher noise to determine the most relevant solution. Don’t hesitate to call a professional if you can’t figure out where the popcorn popper noise comes from or don’t feel confident with making repairs yourself.

Photo of pocorn

A dishwasher that makes popping noises may be indicative of a more serious problem

Read on to learn more about the most common causes behind unusual dishwasher noises and how to fix them.

Issues With the Dishwasher Load

You might hear a popping or clicking noise coming from your appliance if you fail to load your dishwasher correctly. Once the cycle begins, the spray arm might hit a glass or dish and make a noise.

Avoid blocking the spray arms when loading your dishwasher, lay items flat on the dishwasher racks to prevent them from slipping through the racks, and try running a new cycle with fewer items in your dishwasher to see if the noise goes away.

You can also get some dishwasher clips to hold dishes and other items in place during the dishwasher cycle.

There Are Debris Stuck in the Appliance

If your dishwasher sounds like popcorn, you should inspect the inside of the appliance and clean it. Food debris can get stuck in the chopper blade and cause the appliance to make a grinding noise.

A dirty dishwasher drain filter

You can prevent debris from accumulating in your dishwasher by rinsing dishes before loading the appliance. You should also clean your dishwasher with some baking soda and vinegar once a month to get rid of germs and food debris.

Water Is Circulating and Parts Are Moving

Some dishwashers make a clicking or popping noise when the detergent cup opens. You can also hear snapping noises when the appliance starts draining water at the end of the cycle. You might also hear a noise when the drain solenoid operates the drain valve.

Photo of dishwasher circulation pump

Dishwasher circulation pump

If your dishwasher sounds like popcorn during specific times of the cycle, you might simply have an appliance that makes a few noises when it operates. It’s no cause for concern since these noises come from moving parts and not from an issue with your dishwasher.

Your New Dishwasher Makes Noises

A new dishwasher will often make a rattling noise the first time you use it. The appliance doesn’t have any water in it, and the circulation pump will make unusual noises the first time hot water circulates through it.

You might also hear unusual noises if you let your dishwasher sit without using it since water will drain from the appliance. These noises aren’t caused for concern as long as they go away after running a cycle.

Noisy Ball Bearings

If your dishwasher sounds like popcorn, you might be dealing with a faulty motor. Dishwashers have a pump that pushes water through the spray arm before draining the water through the drain hose at the end of the cycle. There is a motor to operate this pump.

In most cases, you’ll find the pump motor underneath the appliance. The wash pump motor is the most likely culprit if you hear a popping or crackling noise from underneath your dishwasher.

Ball bearings are one of the most common issues with dishwasher motors. Ball bearings and other moving parts need lubrication. As time goes by, your dishwasher can run out of lubricant, and ball bearings and other moving parts will make noise.

This process also increases wear and tear on the different parts and can reduce the lifespan of the motor and wash pump. In old dishwashers, the seal will sometimes start leaking water into the motor compartment and the humidity will strip ball bearings from the lubricant they need to work properly.

If you catch the problem early, you might fix it by adding lubricant to the ball bearings. However, you should consider having a professional look at your dishwasher. You might need to replace worn-out ball bearings or get a new motor assembly if there is extensive damage.

The Motor Assembly Is Coming Loose

Because of all the moving parts in a dishwasher motor and pump assembly, it’s possible for vibrations to cause screws and other fasteners to come loose.

Most appliances have a sturdy bracket that holds the motor in place and limits vibrations. If this bracket comes loose, you might hear a humming or thumping noise coming from your appliance.

You should open the panel located at the bottom of your dishwasher and see if the motor assembly is loose. You can usually fix a problem by tightening or replacing old fasteners.

You Have a Blocked Dishwasher Pump

A blocked drain pump can cause unusual popping or suction noises. A blocked pump can also cause the motor to make a low humming sound since the impeller will not turn.

You’ll have to take your dishwasher apart to check the pump:

  • You should turn off the water supply at the back of the appliance and remove the inlet hose.
  • Remove the panel at the bottom of your dishwasher and disconnect the anti-flood switch located behind the appliance.
  • You’ll have to lay the appliance on its back to access the screws holding the pump in place. Remove these screws and you should be able to remove the pump assembly from the appliance.
  • Once you have removed the pump, you can look inside the hose and remove debris. You can also check the impeller and make sure it can rotate properly.

Electrical Problems

Faulty wiring can cause electrical problems with your dishwasher. You might hear a loud popping noise coming from the appliance and even see the lights flicker in your home. Issues with the wiring can cause a short circuit and can also cause circuit breakers to trip.

You might run into electrical problems with your dishwasher if there is an exposed or damaged wire in the appliance.

It’s best to unplug your dishwasher and call a repairman. Electrical issues can be dangerous, and you shouldn’t attempt to fix damaged wires yourself.

Noises Coming from the Walls

You might notice some popping or rattling noises coming from the walls when you turn on your dishwasher.

Dishwashers can cause a phenomenon known as a "water hammer". If a valve shuts off suddenly, pressurized water will make a banging, loud noise when it comes into contact. You might also hear a popping sound caused by air bubbles in the pipes when the dishwasher comes on.

It’s also possible to hear unusual noises coming from the walls due to an obstructed pipe or loose pipes that rattle. Adjusting the water pressure on your water heater can fix some of these issues, but you should consider calling a plumber to check the noisy pipes.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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