Without the spray arms, a dishwasher is basically useless as it won’t be able to perform its basic cleaning tasks.
Spray arms do go through some issues such as malfunctioning or the spray holes getting clogged, which need to be diagnosed and fixed for them to run smoothly.
This article will discuss what you need to know about the functioning of a spray arm (including speed), and solutions to problems you might face with it.
How Fast Do Dishwasher Arms Spin?
The speed at which the arm of a dishwasher spin depends on the pressure of the water being pumped into it. For most machines, if the pump is working correctly, the arm should spin at 30-40 rotations per minute (RPM).
Some GE dishwashers horizontally spray water while rotating at 60 RPMs.
The position of your spray arms depends on the model of your dishwasher. Most dishwashers only have one spray arm at the bottom while others have one arm on top or even one on the side.
The spray arm looks like a plastic blade or fan in your machine. It should feel flexible when you touch it.
Here’s How the Arms Rotate!
The spray arms of a dishwasher are moved by pressurized water being forced into the arm by a pump, which makes the arms spin.
The water pressure dictates how far the water is sprayed as well as how fast the spray arm moves. The less pressure, the slower the arm rotates and the lower the reach of the spray (the opposite is also true).
The water is sprayed at about a 45-degree angle which ensures that the water is evenly sprayed throughout the machine.
Both Arms Don’t Spin at The Same Time!
If your dishwasher has multiple spray arms, the machine will alternate between sending water to the lower spray arm then the upper spray arm, or vice versa.
This is to maintain water pressure in the machine. If the pump sends water to both arms at the same time, the water pressure may be too low for either of the spray arms to spin.
Why Won’t my Dishwasher Arms Spin?
Dishwasher arms may not spin due to a number of reasons. These reasons include:
1- Your Spray Arm Is Dirty & Clogged
A dirty spray arm is usually the most common reason for it not spinning. This dirt may be from food debris clogging up the holes of the spray arm.
You may also be using the wrong detergent, which may create a chemical imbalance and clog up the dishwasher’s spray arm.
2- Spray Path May Be Blocked
If you fill up your dishwasher too much with dirty dishes, one of the utensils such as a pan handle or a cooking spoon may be jammed into the spray arms path, making it unable to spin.
3- Water Valve Needs Replacement
The problem might be that the inlet valve isn’t letting enough water into the machine. This results in a reduction in water pressure and the spray arms will not move. The inlet valve may either be clogged or faulty and need to be replaced.
4- Spray Arm Itself Is the Culprit
Your spray arm may be faulty and may need to be replaced. The spray arm endures wear and tear while in the dishwasher and may be broken. The holes in the spray arm may have become too big from getting debris stuck in it to properly jet water around the dishwasher.
If this is the case with your spray arm, it might be time to buy a new one.
5- Reduced Water Supply
The overfill float switch is the dishwasher component responsible for limiting the amount of water that enters a dishwasher. If it is faulty, it may be cutting off the water supply to the dishwasher before it has enough water.
To check the functioning of the switch, check below the dish tub and you’ll find a relay switch. Lift the float and if you hear a clicking sound, it is working properly but if you fail to hear the click, you need to get a replacement switch.
6- Dirty Pumps or Filters
Neglecting to clean the pumps and filters of your dishwasher could be the reason why your spray arm isn’t working. Blocked or dirty pumps and filters may cause them to malfunction and pump less water into the dishwasher, hence disrupting the ability of the spray arm to effectively function.
Many moving parts of a dishwasher experience moments where they don’t function as expected. If you fail to diagnose what the problem is, consider reaching out to a professional for a thorough inspection.
Why Does my Spray Arm Keep Falling Off?
A defective bush may be the cause of the dishwasher spray arms falling off again and again. A bush is a cushion made of rubber that attaches to your spray arm to control its movement. You can buy a replacement bush to better hold your spray arm.
The problem might also be that you are not correctly putting back the spray arm after you have taken it out to clean it.
To put back your spray arms, some models require you to push down on them until you hear a click while with other models, you need to twist it into place. Look through your manual on the guidelines of how to correctly place back the spray arm.
How to Tell if Dishwasher Arms Are Spinning?
Remove the racks in your dishwasher then reach to the bottom and manually rotate the spray arms. You shouldn’t feel any resistance when rotating them.
If you are met with resistance, the spray arm may be faulty or the connection may be clogged with debris, and your spray arm is probably not spinning.
Also, pull on the spray arms. They should be flexible when you tag on them. If they feel stiff, your spray arm may be having a hard time spinning and spraying water around your machine.
Solutions to Spray Arm Not Spinning!
There are some simple ways that you can make your spray arms function properly. They include:
1- Clean the Arm
Remove the arm manually (this may be a good time to consult your manual) and wash it gently using a toothbrush or any other small soft brush and some dish soap. Poke the spray arms’ holes with either a toothpick or a large needle to clear any debris that may be clogging the holes.
Rinse the spray arm under running water then put it back into the machine and check whether it is functioning normally.
2- Clear the Path
While loading your dishwasher, ensure that nothing is in the way of the spray arm. Rotate the arm before turning the dishwasher on to ensure that all the dishes are correctly placed and not obstructing the arm’s movement.
3- Replace the Arm
Your spray arm may be damaged and you will need to buy another one. You can contact your manufacturer and order a new piece for your dishwasher. You could also go on amazon and look up the specific piece that will work well with your dishwasher.
Ensure you get the right size because spray arms are not a one size fits all commodity.
4- Replace a Leaky or Damaged Valve
Replace any valve in your dishwasher that is damaged. A damaged valve will interfere with the amount of water getting into the machine and subsequently the spray arms.
Before you switch out your valve, ensure that it is faulty and not just loose. A loose valve can be tightened or repaired.
5- Try Some DIY Recipes
You can run a concoction of baking soda and vinegar through your dishwasher to clean the spray arms. Place the mixture in your dishwasher and run a hot water cycle for the best results.
This simple yet effective method of cleaning the dishwasher helps break down clogs caused by soap, food, or grease and may help unclog the holes of your spray arm. This method helps solve your dishwasher problems with things you already have in your house.
Testing Your Dishwasher Spray Arms!
To test your spay arms, put them in a specific position in an empty dishwasher and turn it on. After a few minutes, check to see whether the arms have moved. If they have, your arms are moving correctly.
You can also run the dishwasher during a cold-water cycle and open it while it is still on. Despite the fact that most dishwashers are designed to stop when the door is opened, you will still be able to catch your spray arms spinning.
Any Possibility of Running a Dishwasher Without Its Spray Arms?
This is an ineffective and damaging way to run your dishwasher. This is because the water will just shoot up in one direction instead of being spread out evenly around the machine as the spray arm does.
None of your dishes will be cleaned effectively and your dishwasher may even sustain damage to the spray arms connector in case debris gets caught in it.
The spray arm is a crucial part of a dishwasher’s normal functioning. It should be looked after and cleaned when necessary.
We hope that this article has given you better insight into how to diagnose spray arm problems and how to deal with them.