Appliance Troubleshooting

Getting to the Bottom of an Amana Dishwasher Not Drying Dishes

If you’ve ever loaded up your Amana dishwasher expecting sparkling clean, bone-dry dishes only to be met with disappointingly damp results, you’re not alone. An underperforming drying cycle is one of the most common complaints among Amana dishwasher owners. Fortunately, with a little detective work, you can usually get your Amana dishwasher drying properly again.

Diagnosing the Drying Issue

The first step in troubleshooting an Amana dishwasher that fails to dry dishes is to make sure the problem is isolated to just the drying functionality. Are the dishes coming out fully clean and soap-residue free? If not, there may be an issue with the wash cycle that needs to be addressed first. Assuming the wash cycle completes fully, take note of exactly how the dishes are coming out.

  • Are they dripping wet like they just came straight from a rinse? This often indicates a problem with the heating element not warming up to dry the dishes.
  • Are they covered in leftover water droplets and condensation? This may point to an issue with the vent fan not circulating air to evaporate the moisture.
  • Do plastic items like cups and tupperware come out wet while plates and utensils seem drier? Plastics hold onto water more than hard surfaces like porcelain, so this could mean the drying cycle time needs to be extended.

Pay attention to which dishwasher racks and locations seem to remain wettest. Typically the upper rack dries more poorly than the bottom. Make sure you’re loading the dishwasher correctly to allow for maximum water drainage and airflow circulation. Avoid overcrowding and make sure no items are blocking the center vent opening.

Checking Water Temperature

The key to effective drying is getting the dishwasher interior and dishware plenty hot. If the heating element isn’t raising the water temperature high enough, evaporation will be slowed. Most dishwashers heat water to between 140-155°F during the main wash cycle, but then crank temperatures up to over 180°F during the final drying phase.

Check your owner’s manual to see if your Amana dishwasher has a “High Temp Wash” or “Sanitize” option. Selecting one of these cycle settings can help improve drying by ensuring maximum water heat.

If your dishwasher doesn’t have a high-temp cycle, you may need to boost your home’s water heater temperature to get hotter water flowing to the dishwasher. Just be careful, because setting the water heater above 120°F can increase risk of scalding. Also verify that your home’s water pressure is at least 20 PSI to ensure the dishwasher can adequately fill and heat water.

Using Rinse Aid

Adding rinse aid to your Amana dishwasher can significantly improve drying performance. Rinse aid contains surfactants that cause water to sheet off dishware rather than form droplets that cling and resist evaporation. Make sure to regularly check and refill the rinse aid reservoir as needed, and dial in the dispenser setting to the recommended level based on your water hardness. Too little rinse aid can hamper drying, while too much can lead to filming.

Checking Dry Cycle Settings

Many Amana dishwashers have adjustable drying cycle options that allow you to customize the time and intensity of the drying phase. If dishes are coming out consistently damp, bump up the drying setting from “Low” to “Medium” or “High.” This will extend the heated drying phase to ensure moisture can fully evaporate.

Some models have a “ProDry” or “ExtraDry” enhanced drying feature that can be activated to boost performance. Refer to your owner’s manual for details on your dishwasher’s specific drying options and settings. The optimal configuration depends on your dishware materials and just how wet the dishes are emerging.

Ensuring Proper Ventilation

In order for moisture to evaporate from your dishes, it needs sufficient airflow circulation within the dishwasher tub. If steam and moisture are accumulating inside instead of venting out, drying effectiveness will be greatly diminished. Ensure that no large dishware items are blocking the vent opening in the center of the bottom rack.

Check also that nothing has collected in or clogged the vent fan impeller underneath. Dishwasher ventilation systems are designed to force warm, moist air out while drawing cooler, drier air in. This continual exchange of air is key for moisture evaporation. If the movement of air is obstructed, drying performance will suffer.

Examining the Heating Element

The heating element is essentially the engine that drives dishwasher drying. During the drying phase, it heats the air inside the tub to aid evaporation. If the heating element fails to get hot, the air and dishware won’t get hot enough for proper drying.

Testing the heating element is an involved repair process that requires disconnecting power and accessing internal components. Visually inspect the element for any signs of cracks or damage. Use a multimeter to check for electrical continuity. If the heating element is defective, it will need to be replaced.

Checking the Vent Fan

The vent fan is responsible for pulling moist air out of the tub and bringing fresh, dry air in. If the fan motor is malfunctioning, airflow will be disrupted and dishes will remain wet. As with the heating element, testing the vent fan motor requires electrical know-how and access to internal components.

First verify that nothing is obstructing the fan blades inside the tub housing. Then use a multimeter to check the motor windings for electrical continuity. If the fan motor is burned out, a replacement will be necessary. On some Amana models, the vent fan motor is integrated with the circulation pump motor assembly.

Extending the Drying Cycle

If your Amana dishwasher’s drying performance was once satisfactory but has now diminished, the internal humidity sensor may have become faulty. The sensor tells the dishwasher when evaporation is complete so it knows when to end the drying phase. If the sensor misreads the conditions inside the tub, it may terminate drying prematurely.

To work around a faulty sensor, you can override the automatic drying control by selecting a cycle with an extended drying time or activating a dishwasher air dry feature. Air dry options continue running the fan for extra time with the dishwasher door open to pull out residual moisture. Just keep in mind that extended drying times will increase energy usage.

Ensuring Proper Drainage

For effective drying, water must be able to fully drain and purge from the dishwasher tub. If drainage is compromised, moisture will remain trapped inside the cavity, preventing proper evaporation. Several issues can impede proper water drainage:

  • Clogged or kinked drain hoses
  • Blocked sump inlet or drain pump intake strainer
  • Malfunctioning drain valve or drain pump
  • Improper installation causing siphoning issues

Inspect all dishwasher hoses and fittings to ensure there are no obstructions or crimps. Clean out any debris buildup in the sump and pump strainer basket. Test components like the drain valve and pump motor for correct operation. Improper drainage will not only affect drying performance but also lead to foul odors.

Adjusting Detergent Amount

Believe it or not, using too much detergent can sometimes cause drying issues with an Amana dishwasher. How is this possible? Detergent contains surfactants and salts that can leave behind a filming residue. Excess detergent may not rinse away completely, leaving dishes coated in a veil of film that blocks proper evaporation.

Try reducing your detergent amount by half. Stick to the lower end of the recommended dosage range based on soil level. Adding too much detergent doesn’t improve cleaning performance anyway. Also take care to choose fresh, dry detergent that pours and dissolves properly. Old caked detergent can clump up and fail to rinse away.

When to Call a Repair Professional

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting tips discussed with no success getting your Amana dishwasher to dry properly, it may be time to call in a professional repair technician. They have the knowledge, expertise and test equipment to get to the bottom of whatever is causing the drying dysfunction. Some common repair scenarios include:

  • Replacing a burned out heating element
  • Fixing motor or circulation pump problems
  • Adjusting or replacing faulty door latch switches
  • Replacing a defective humidity sensor
  • Repairing drain pump issues

Technicians can also check for installation problems that may disrupt drying, like improper leveling or ventilation. The cost of a professional dishwasher repair ranges from $200 – $350 on average depending on parts replacements needed.

Preventing Drying Issues

You can help avoid drying problems with your Amana dishwasher by taking a few proactive maintenance steps:

  • Periodically clean the door gasket to prevent mold and mildew buildup
  • Remove and clean the filter assembly every 2-3 months to prevent clogs
  • Use dishwasher cleaner monthly to remove sticky residue and film
  • Run appliance cleaning cycles with vinegar to flush lime and minerals
  • Always scrape food debris off dishes before loading
  • Allow proper spacing between items for water circulation
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher or block the vent opening

Catching drying issues promptly and not letting them persist for too long will help minimize headaches down the road. With some targeted troubleshooting, you can get those dishes coming out of your Amana bone dry once again.

Why is My Amana Dishwasher Not Drying?

As an appliance repair enthusiast, I love tackling all kinds of dishwasher drying issues. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting to the bottom of a problem and having a perfectly drying dishwasher again. So let’s dive into some of the common reasons an Amana dishwasher might stop drying properly:

Potential Causes

Here are some of the usual suspects I check when an Amana dishwasher won’t dry:

Faulty heating elementIf the heating element isn’t heating up to dry the dishes, it needs to be tested and likely replaced.
Clogged or kinked drain hosesAny obstruction in the drain hoses prevents water from properly draining out.
Vent fan failureIf the vent fan motor burns out, moisture can’t vent and dishes stay wet.
Water temperature too lowWater must get hot enough, around 180°F, for proper drying.

Useful Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some handy things I try when diagnosing an Amana drying issue:

  • Check the rinse aid dispenser and fill level
  • Run a rinse only cycle and watch if water drains fully
  • Feel inside the dishwasher during drying for high heat
  • Listen for vent fan noise and inspect the blades
  • Test components with a multimeter when needed

The key is methodically ruling out each potential cause until the culprit is found. Patience and persistence pay off!

Satisfying Repairs

I love breathing new life into a dishwasher with key repairs like:

  • Replacing a burned out heating element
  • Installing a new vent fan motor
  • Fixing clogged and kinked drain hoses
  • Adjusting or replacing door latch switches
  • Cleaning debris from the drain pump

It’s very fulfilling to pinpoint just the right repair needed to get everything working again.

Maintain Your Machine

Don’t forget proper maintenance is key for avoiding many drying issues in the first place:

  • Clean the door gasket and filter regularly
  • Use dishwasher cleaner to remove film
  • Fill rinse aid and soften hard water if needed
  • Allow space between items for water circulation

With a little TLC, your Amana dishwasher can keep drying like a champ! Let me know if you need any advice or help getting yours back on track. Happy to share my troubleshooting methods.


In summary, there are several common culprits when an Amana dishwasher fails to dry properly. Faulty heating elements, vent fan failures, and drainage issues are prime suspects to investigate. Methodical troubleshooting and targeted repairs are typically required to restore normal drying function. Maintaining your Amana dishwasher with regular cleaning and care can help minimize drying problems. With the right knowledge and enthusiasm, the satisfying fix is within reach! Let me know if you need a hand getting that Amana back to sparkling dry results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are my dishes coming out of my Amana dishwasher still wet?

A: The most likely causes are a faulty heating element not getting the dishes hot enough to dry, an issue with the vent fan not properly circulating air, or a drainage problem preventing water from fully evacuating.

Q: How can I diagnose the specific problem with my Amana dishwasher not drying?

A: Start by running a short diagnostic cycle and inspecting if water seems to drain completely. Check that the heating element is warm during drying. Listen for the vent fan noise. Methodically test components like heating elements, thermostats, vent motors and drain pumps.

Q: What are some common repairs needed when an Amana dishwasher won’t dry dishes?

A: Typical repairs include replacing the heating element, clearing drain hoses, fixing or replacing the vent fan motor, adjusting door latches, cleaning the drain pump, and replacing humidity sensors or control boards as needed.

Q: How can I maintain my Amana dishwasher to prevent drying problems?

A: Regularly clean the door gasket, filter, and interior. Use dishwasher cleaner monthly to remove residue buildup. Refill rinse aid and salt as needed. Allow proper spacing between dishes for airflow. And always scrape food off dishes before loading.

Q: When should I call a technician for assistance with my Amana dishwasher not drying issue?

A: If you have tried all the basic troubleshooting steps and are unable to diagnose or resolve the problem, it’s time to call a professional. They can use test equipment and expertise to get your Amana dishwasher drying properly again.

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