Dishwasher Making Whistling Noise

Unusual and persistent noises from any appliance shouldn’t be ignored. Some may be serious and others might be trivial. Believe it or not, a dishwasher making whistling noise could have an unexpected cause.

According to a dishwasher manual I’m just reading, one of the “malfunctions” it advises on is if, “there is a whistling noise during washing”. The advice is that this is not a cause for concern, but to try using a different brand of detergent.

It’s quite an unexpected solution and amusing to think it could be explained so simply. I can’t think of a fault that would cause an actual whistling noise although unusual noises from any appliance shouldn’t be ignored. If it doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a motor or pump, try a different brand of detergent first. You could also try running the dishwasher without any detergent in to see if the noise stops.

How Big is Big Enough?

The first thing to think about is the physical size of the dishwasher. This can be the determining factor for which type of dishwasher you finally buy. Single people, retired couples or someone living in their RV may only have the option to buy a Countertop Dishwasher. Most people will be able to choose between a standard Built-in Dishwasher or a slimline 18 inch Dishwasher. Then it just depends upon how much space you have in your kitchen.


What really matters is how many dishes, pots and pans you need to load in a single wash. Running a dishwasher that is only half full is a huge waste of water and energy. Regularly needing to run two separate loads because you have too many dishes is even more wasteful.

You need to assess how many place settings you wash after a regular meal, and also remember to include any cookware and utensils that you use. Try to figure out what your average load will be and then use that amount as the minimum that you require. If that means that you only have 2 place settings to wash each day then fair enough. That means that you just saved a bunch of money on both the initial ticket price of the dishwasher and also for ongoing water and energy costs.

All of the manufacturers will display how many place settings they can handle in each model. These tend to be a little optimistic but give you a rough idea. The best way to decide if it will be big enough for you is to test it out. Bring a couple of your regular plates, bowls and pans to the store and see if you can load them successfully. If you bake regularly then bring a cookie sheet too, so you can see how it fits (or not).

My Tub’s Taller than your Tub

One way to increase the capacity of the dishwasher without making it bigger is to have a taller ‘tub’ inside. The ‘tub’ is the name for the internal container that actually holds all the dishes, racks and spray arms. This is different than the outer ‘shell’ which is really just the shiny packaging for the appliance. By keeping the outer shell the same size but increasing the tub height, you get larger capacity in the same space.

To do this, manufacturers have reduced the size of the internal working components such as the water pumps and heating elements. Some have also moved the control panel onto the front door rather than taking up space above the tub.

How Tough Are You?

Older dishwashers used metal that was coated in enamel to construct the tub. This caused problems over time as the enamel would crack or chip and the underlying metal would then rust.

Modern dishwashers use either plastic or stainless steel. The plastic tubs are more than adequate for handling the job. They will usually outlast the mechanical components of the dishwasher.

The use of stainless steel has certain benefits. It can withstand much higher temperatures than plastic tubs which means that you can truly sanitize items. They are also heavier and will therefore be less inclined to cause noise due to vibrations. Stainless steel also retains heat better than plastic. During the drying cycle this means that less energy and time is needed which saves you money.

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