Dishwasher Buzzing Like A Beehive? 6 Common Causes

Dishwasher buzzing

Is your dishwasher buzzing?

You’re not alone! I understand how concerning a buzzing sound can be, especially when you’re not sure what’s causing it.

The good news is that you’ve come to the right place for answers.

If your dishwasher is buzzing like a beehive, you’ll need to ensure you’re loading the unit correctly, clean the spray arms, and inspect the drain pump. If the issue persists, it’s also important to check the water valve and motor.

Read on to fix the buzzing sound!

Troubleshooting a Buzzing Dishwasher: 6 Simple Steps

It’s normal for dishwashers to make a soft buzzing sound during operation. However, if the noise is new or louder than before, it can indicate an issue with one of the internal components.

But don’t worry! In this section, I’ll walk you through the six steps you must follow to inspect your dishwasher and solve the loud buzzing sound.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

#1 Load Your Dishwasher Correctly

When fixing a buzzing dishwasher, I always rearrange the dishes.

You see, the buzzing sound can occur when the dishes obstruct the movement of the spray arms or when they’re touching each other. Loose items can also fall and get caught in the pump, contributing to the noise.

To fix the buzzing sound, it’s important to make sure the dishes and cutlery aren’t touching each other or obstructing the spray arms. I also recommend placing larger items like pots on the back and angling bowls and cups facing downward.

Loading dishwasher
To fix the buzzing sound, ensure the dishes are not obstructing the spray arm or pump.

Properly loading your dishwasher not only helps reduce the buzzing sound but also ensures the best cleaning results!

However, if rearranging your dishes doesn’t solve the issue, one or more internal components are likely causing the buzzing sound. Keep reading to learn more.

#2 Clean the Spray Arms

If you hear a buzzing sound from your dishwasher, consider cleaning the spray arms.

During the washing cycle, the spray arms are responsible for distributing water and detergent through their holes. Unfortunately, if these holes become clogged with food debris or mineral deposits, it can disrupt the water flow. As a result, the unit will struggle to push water through the obstructed spray arms, leading to a buzzing sound.

Dishwasher spray arm
Clogged spray arms can cause a buzzing sound.

Therefore, inspecting and cleaning your dishwasher’s spray arms regularly is important. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Turn off your dishwasher and remove the necessary racks to access the spray arms.
  2. Carefully detach the spray arms. Keep in mind that the process of removing the spray arms can vary depending on your dishwasher’s model, so please consult the owner’s manual for detailed instructions.
  3. Use a toothpick or old toothbrush to clean the spray arms. For stubborn debris or mineral deposits, please soak the spray arms in white vinegar for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the spray arms with warm water and let them dry.
  5. Reattach the spray arms and make sure they spin freely.

Once you’ve cleaned the spray arms, select a cycle and check if the buzzing sound has disappeared.

#3 Level Your Dishwasher

In my experience, a dishwasher can start buzzing if it’s not properly leveled.

If your dishwasher is not level, it can affect the drainage system, rotation of spray arms, water flow, and certain internal components. As a result, you’ll notice a buzzing sound and experience different performance issues.

Spirit level
Level your dishwasher to fix the buzzing sound.

To level your dishwasher, you’ll need to:

  1. Open the door and place a spirit level on the bottom to check if the dishwasher is level from left to right.
  2. If the bubble isn’t centered, please turn off the power to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker.
  3. Remove the lower panel to access the leveling legs.
  4. Turn the adjustable feet clockwise or counterclockwise to raise or lower them.
  5. Check the spirit level. The bubble should now be centered.

Once you’ve followed the instructions above, turn your dishwasher back on and start a wash cycle to check if the buzzing sound has disappeared.

#4 Check the Drain Pump

I find that when a dishwasher is buzzing, it’s typically due to an obstructed or malfunctioning drain pump.

At the end of each cycle, the drain pump forces the dirty water out of your dishwasher and into the drainage system. If the pump is obstructed or its components are damaged, you’ll notice a buzzing sound during the draining process.

Don’t worry, though. Inspecting the drain pump is very simple. You’ll just need to:

  1. Unplug your dishwasher or turn it off at the circuit breaker to prevent electrical hazards. It’s also important to turn off the water supply.
  2. Remove the necessary racks to access the drain pump, which is typically located at the bottom or back of the unit. Remember to consult the manufacturer’s manual for detailed instructions on how to access the pump.
  3. Wear thick gloves and carefully look for any visible obstructions. Sometimes, broken glass or food debris can obstruct the pump and cause a buzzing sound.
  4. Remove the obstructions and check the impeller. If it doesn’t move freely, you’ll need to replace the pump.
  5. Reassemble your dishwasher and run a short wash cycle to see if the buzzing sound has disappeared.

Note: While you’re at it, please ensure the drain hose is securely fastened to prevent it from moving around and causing unusual noises.

Find any replacement part:

If you’re uncomfortable inspecting or replacing the drain pump or any other internal components yourself, please check your warranty status and call a professional. They’ll be able to diagnose and solve the issue safely.

#5 Examine the Water Inlet Valve

If your dishwasher is still buzzing, then there’s probably an issue with the water inlet valve.

During operation, the water valve opens to let water into the dishwasher. Unfortunately, if there’s an issue with the valve, it can produce a buzzing sound as it fills the unit.

To fix the buzzing sound, please access the water inlet valve, which is typically at the bottom of the dishwasher, behind the kick panel. Then, check the valve for any signs of damage and make sure it’s mounted properly.

If the water valve is indeed faulty, you’ll need to replace it. Here’s how:

  1. Unplug your dishwasher from the power outlet or turn it off at the circuit breaker. Then, turn off the water supply.
  2. Use a screwdriver to remove the lower access panel.
  3. Carefully disconnect the wires from the solenoid and remove the screws holding the water valve.
  4. Place a towel underneath and use some pliers to remove the hose attached to the water valve. Then, disconnect the water line.
  5. Install the new water valve and reconnect the wiring.
  6. Reassemble your dishwasher and run a short cycle.
If you prefer to watch, here’s a detailed video that provides step-by-step instructions on how to replace the water inlet valve.

#6 Inspect the Motor

If you’ve tried all the fixes above, but your dishwasher is still making a buzzing noise while running, there’s probably an issue with the wash motor.

The wash motor is one of the most important components in your dishwasher, as it pumps water through the spray arms to clean your dishes. Over time, motors can wear out and start making unusual sounds, like humming or buzzing.

A diagram of where a dishwasher's motor is located
Issues with the wash motor can cause a buzzing sound.

Unfortunately, replacing a dishwasher motor can be quite challenging and expensive, with costs reaching up to $700! So, if you only hear the buzzing sound coming from the motor, but your dishwasher is working perfectly, you can avoid the hassle of replacing it.

However, if the motor is buzzing and your dishwasher is not cleaning properly, you should consult your warranty status and consider the dishwasher’s age. If it’s over ten years old and experiencing other performance issues, it’s best to think about replacing the entire appliance.

Wrapping Up: Quieting Your Buzzing Dishwasher

Hopefully, now you know how to prevent your dishwasher from buzzing.

Remember that if your dishwasher is buzzing more than a beehive, you’ll need to ensure it’s loaded properly and level. It’s also important to clean the spray arms and inspect the drain pump. Remove any visible obstructions.

If the issue persists, don’t forget to examine the water inlet valve and motor.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. If you ever experience a different issue while using your dishwasher, please check out our site.

Good luck!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more