Why doesn’t my KitchenAid dishwasher work? Could be user error.

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By Christopher Elliott

Dorothy Lathan’s dishwasher is a lemon — or is it? Our team of advocates looks into the matter and makes a startling discovery.


Last year, I paid $1,007 for the top KitchenAid dishwasher. I’ve had nothing but problems with it, and my one-year warranty was extended another year by KitchenAid. What kind of trouble? It leaves dishes dirty and doesn’t turn on consistently. I’ve reported the problems 11 times and had six service calls.

Today, a technician reported that there was nothing wrong with the machine — even though he found cornbread crust covering the entire pan along with other dirty items.

Now I am told by KitchenAid that they will do nothing more for me unless I have a motor or control panel failure, despite the extension on my warranty. I contend that the problem was caused by one of their agents advising me to pour a box of baking soda in the machine after I had inadvertently used the wrong detergent when I first got the dishwasher. This was the beginning of my problems.

Can you help me? I want them to correct this once and for all or give me a new dishwasher. — Dorothy Lathan, San Francisco, Calif.


If KitchenAid sold you a nonfunctioning dishwasher, it should either fix it or replace it, no questions asked. But was your dishwasher really a lemon?

I began to wonder about that when I reviewed your correspondence. You said you believed pouring baking soda caused problems with dishwasher. But that shouldn’t have harmed the machine. You also mentioned to one of your advocates that you are “not very proficient” with the computer, which suggested there might be something else going on.

You can always reach out to one of the KitchenAid executive contacts — they’re listed on the Whirlpool executive contacts page on my advocacy page Elliott.org — if you’re not getting an adequate response. But a look at your correspondence shows the company was being more than responsive and accommodating.

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So what’s really going on? After I reached out to the company, and after my advocacy team reviewed your case, we concluded that you needed to take one more look at the owner’s manual, and follow the instructions. It shows you how to turn on the dishwasher and properly load it, which you apparently weren’t doing. That addressed both problems, and I understand the appliance is working exactly as advertised, and that your dishes are now sparkling clean.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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