Dishwasher Overflowing? Here’s What to Do Right Now 

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 26, 2024

Your dishwasher works hard, and you trust it to do its job. When it starts malfunctioning and overflowing, then, it can be a startling experience.

After all, nobody wants to be surprised by a puddle of water on their kitchen floor or the expensive damage left behind.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. In this blog, we break down steps to take right now to minimize the damage caused by an overflowing dishwasher and restore your space.

Let’s dive in.

Why is My Dishwasher Overflowing? 

why is my dishwasher overflowing

Dishwashers overflow for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most common:

1. Too much detergent or the wrong type of detergent

Detergent is a primary culprit in dishwasher overflows.

In some cases, the dishwasher was accidentally overloaded with dishwasher detergent, causing an abundance of soapsuds and a subsequent overflow.

In other cases, the dishwasher may have been loaded with cheap or inadequate detergent, which caused an overflow.

To prevent these issues, stick with a quality dishwasher detergent and always use the recommended amount for each load. 

2. A faulty door gasket

Dishwashers have rubber seals around their doors. These rubber seals are called gaskets.

When they’re working well, they contain the water inside the dishwasher and stop it from leaking onto your floor.

Over time, though, gaskets rip, tear, or break down. When they do, they create gaps that water can leak out of.

The result is a flooded kitchen floor and a nasty surprise for you. 

3. A broken water inlet valve

Your dishwasher relies on an inlet valve to pull water from your main water line.

When the valve works correctly, it fills your dishwasher with the correct amount of water and then automatically shuts off.

In some cases, though, the valve fails and begins filling the dishwasher with too much water.

One telltale sign of this is a dishwasher that’s filled with water, even though it hasn’t been used recently. 

4. A faulty float assembly or float switch

The float in your dishwasher is responsible for controlling the water level.

Much like a float in a toilet tank, a dishwasher float rises as the water level in the appliance increases.

When the water hits the ideal level, the float signals the water to shut off. When a float breaks, however, it won’t move freely, and the dishwasher will overflow. 

9 Fast Steps to Fix an Overflowing Dishwasher

When your dishwasher overflows, it’s easy to panic. Instead, keep calm and follow these steps on how to fix an overflowing dishwasher:

What to do if Your Dishwasher is Overflowing with Bubbles

1. Stop the cycle

The first step is to stop the dishwasher’s current cycle. This should prompt the dishwasher to drain, which will contain the mess. 

In the meantime, place several large, absorbent towels under and around the machine to sop up the suds and water on the floor. 

2. Use salt to disperse suds

Once the dishwasher has drained, pull out the bottom rack and dump table salt on top of the remaining suds. 

This will break down the foam and make cleaning the mess more manageable. Next. run a rinse-only cycle to get rid of the remaining suds. 

If this process creates more suds, add more salt and repeat the process until the suds are no longer overflowing. 

3. Add ice cubes

Next, toss a tray of ice cubes onto any remaining suds in the dishwasher and allow them to melt.

Press the “cancel” button on your dishwasher to drain all melted ice. Rerun the rinse cycle and repeat step #3 until the suds are entirely gone.

What to do if Your Dishwasher is Overflowing Water Onto the Ground

1. Stop the cycle

Any time your dishwasher overflows, the first step is to stop the cycle. This will prompt the dishwasher to drain its basin and help stop the water flow. 

2. Clean up the mess

Now that you’ve contained the leak, it’s time to clean up the water around your dishwasher. If you caught the overflow early, this might be as simple as mopping up standing water with a few towels.

If the leak was extensive or sat unattended for hours, you may need to do a more thorough cleaning.

Once you’ve removed all standing water, place standing fans in the area and open windows to encourage airflow and drying.

3. Find the source of the problem

Do a quick overview of your dishwasher to locate the source of the overflow problem. 

Start by inspecting the door gaskets. Are they cracked, torn, or dirty? If so, replacing or cleaning the gasket may solve the overflow problem. 

If the gasket looks good, move on to the dishwasher drain. Is the filter or drain clogged with food scraps? If so, it may be preventing your dishwasher from draining properly. 

Next, check the dishwasher’s hose for leaks. Occasionally, a dishwasher overflows because of a leak in the water supply or drain hose. 

If you can’t quickly identify the source of the problem on your own, contact a plumber to inspect and repair the dishwasher before using it again. 

4. Assess the damage

After a dishwasher overflow, some damage is easy to spot. There may be warped floorboards, for example, or soggy drywall. 

Other damage, however, could be lurking under the surface. For example, mold and mildew can start to grow within just 24-48 hours of water damage and may be invisible to the naked eye. 

What to do if Your Dishwasher is Overflowing into Your Sink

1. Stop the cycle

Stop the dishwasher’s cycle to cut off the water flow and drain the dishwasher basin. If needed, you may also want to turn off the water line that feeds your sink, which should also contain the water flow to the dishwasher.

2. Find the problem

Dishwashers that overflow into the sink may have clogged drains or filters. Check for food scraps blocking the dishwasher drain or contact an emergency plumber to identify the issue for you. 

Whenever Your Dishwasher Overflows, Call a Water Damage Restoration Company

dishwasher water damage restoration chicago

Regardless of whether the overflow damage was minimal or severe, you’ll want to call a water damage restoration company to assess the area. 

A water damage restoration company will be able to spot mold damage or additional leaking that may be occurring beneath the floorboards or behind adjoining walls and cabinets and remediate the water damage caused by the dishwasher.

If you’re in the Chicago area, contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. Our team will assess the extent of the damage, provide comprehensive restoration services, and help you get your kitchen back to normal. 

How do Water Damage Restoration Experts Clean up Dishwasher Overflow? 

overflowing dishwasher water damage repair chicago

What can you expect when you contact a restoration team to clean up your dishwasher overflow?

Here’s the process our team follows:

1. Water removal

First, we use state-of-the-art equipment to remove all standing water.

We set up industrial-grade pumps and fans to remove as much water as possible and prepare the area for restoration. 

2. Drying

If the overflow has significantly impacted your flooring or drywall, we continue our drying efforts and work to lower the humidity in the area.

This reduces indoor moisture and helps stop mold growth in its tracks. 

3. Cleanup

Once the water is gone, we clean the area. We use commercial-grade cleaners to decontaminate and sanitize the space and remove all traces of mold or mildew. 

4. Flooring removal and replacement

If the overflow destroyed your flooring, we remove all affected materials, including flooring, subflooring, and backing. 

5. Restoration

Once we’ve cleaned, dried, disinfected, and prepared the area, we take steps to rebuild and restore your kitchen to like-new condition. 

How to Avoid an Overflowing Dishwasher

While an overflowing dishwasher is inconvenient, it’s also preventable with these five tips:

1. Have your dishwasher serviced regularly

Hire a professional to provide professional dishwasher repair and maintenance. This keeps parts in good working order and prevents breakdowns.

3. Wipe your plates

Instead of putting dishes in the dishwasher full of food, wipe your plates before they go in. You should also check and clean your dishwasher’s drain and filter routinely. 

4. Clean and replace your gasket

Check your gasket for tears, wear, and stuck-on food. Replace or clean it as necessary.

5. Use the right detergent

Always use detergent formulated for dishwashers, and be sure only to use the recommended amount. 

Is Your Dishwasher Overflowing in the Chicago Area? We Can Help! 

If your dishwasher is overflowing, our team is here for you. Here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, we provide dishwasher overflow restoration services for customers throughout Chicagoland and the suburbs.

Contact us today to learn more or request your service appointment: 773-647-1985