An open dishwasher with a top and middle dishwasher rack filled with dishes

How to repair or replace dishwasher racks

Maintaining the quality of your dishwasher racks is vital to your dishwasher's performance and the longevity of your dishes. When your dishwasher racks become damaged it may be tempting to replace the racks entirely, but there are several solutions that you can try at home first for a fraction of the cost. Read on to learn about potential dishwasher rack repair ideas.

Dishwasher rack problems and fixes

Before attempting to fix your dishwasher racks, you must first assess the source of the problem. While these occurrences are rare when dishwashers are properly cared for, there are some common causes of dishwasher rack problems. See below for what these issues may include:

A dishwasher rack filled with dishes being cleaned

1. Dishwasher rack is rusted

Rust develops on dishwasher racks when water from the dishwashing process touches the metal beneath the rack coating, causing oxidation to eat away at its layers. You can help prevent rust by ensuring that your unit is being operated properly and the dishes placed inside are dishwasher safe.

How to fix rusty dishwasher racks

Dishwashers with a rusty rack can produce rust spots on your utensils and dishes and therefore the racks should not be used. If you find that your dishwasher racks are rusting, it is important to correct the problem right away.

Supplies

  • File

  • Sandpaper

  • Vinyl touch-up paint

Dishwasher racks icon

Step 1: Remove the dishwasher racks

Lift the bottom rack up and out of the unit. The top rack will typically be secured in place by two track stops that will need to be opened. Consult your unit’s Use and Care Guide for rack removal instructions specific to your model.

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Step 2: Sand the rusted areas

Identify the rusted areas and sand them down using a file and sandpaper. Continue until all of the rust has been removed and the metal is clean.

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Step 3: Seal the sanded areas

Apply the vinyl touch-up paint to the sanded areas, ensuring the spots are well covered to guarantee a proper seal and prevent further rust from developing. Allow the paint to dry for eight hours before placing the racks back into the unit.

An open dishwasher with an empty top rack extended

2. Dishwasher rack coating is chipped or missing

Dishwasher racks are typically coated in vinyl that can sometimes get chipped or cracked when dishes are not loaded properly. This is why it is important to ensure you are not overcrowding your dishwasher or placing anything that is not dishwasher safe inside of it. 

Because chipped or cracked coating can lead to rust formation, the problem should be addressed quickly. You can find color-matched coating or repair kits through your manufacturer and follow the same steps outlined above to correct the issue. 

Wine glasses in a dishwasher rack

3. Dishwasher rack tines are bent or broken

Rack tines can get damaged after being put to use over a long enough period of time or when a sudden impact causes them to bend or break. For this reason it is important to be mindful of loading your dishwasher with care.

How to fix dishwasher rack tines

Tines that are bent or broken will need to be fixed in order to keep your dishwasher performing at its best.

Supplies

  • Rotary tool

  • Sandpaper

  • Tine cap

  • Vinyl touch-up paint

Dishwasher racks icon

Step 1: Remove the dishwasher racks

Lift the bottom rack up and out of the unit. The top rack will typically be secured in place by two track stops that will need to be opened. Consult your unit’s Use and Care Guide for rack removal instructions specific to your model.

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Step 2: Remove the bent or broken tines

Use a rotary tool to cut the bent or broken tines from the rack and sand down any residual rust.

Tine tip icon

Step 3: Re-tip the tines

Apply a dollop of vinyl touch-up paint to the tip of the severed tine. Place a new tine cap over the tip and allow the vinyl paint to dry for eight hours before putting the rack back into the unit.

An empty dishwasher with empty racks extending out

4. Dishwasher rack rolls open or stays open

If your dishwasher rack keeps rolling forward when the door is open, this is likely due to a leveling issue. To correct this problem, the unit will need to be leveled.

How to fix dishwasher rack rolling issues

Leveling your dishwasher is essential for optimal cleaning performance and can be done on your own by adjusting the leveling legs with just a few simple supplies. 

Supplies

  • Standard level

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

Level icon

Step 1: Check if the dishwasher is level

Place a level vertically against the front of the closed dishwasher to gauge if it is leaning forwards.

Leveling legs icon

Step 2: Adjust the leveling legs

Use an adjustable wrench to level the legs as needed, turning them clockwise to lower the unit and counterclockwise to raise it. Consult your dishwasher’s Use and Care Guide for leveling instructions specific to your model.

A removed dishwasher rack filled with dishes against a white background

5. Dishwasher rack needs to be replaced

In some cases, your dishwasher racks may be rusted beyond repair and it may be time for a replacement. Whirlpool brand offers a variety of replacement parts to suit your needs.

How to install a replacement dishwasher rack

Removing and replacing a dishwasher rack can be done in just a few simple steps. On most models, the bottom rack can simply be lifted and pulled from the unit while the top rack will need to be removed from the tracks. Consult your Use and Care Guide for replacement instructions specific to your model.

Icon of dishwasher rack being removed

Step 1: Remove the top dishwasher rack

Pull the top rack forward to gain access to the track stops. Once it is extended about halfway out of the tub, open the track stops by flipping them to the side facing the exterior of the unit and remove the rack from the rails.

Icon of dishwasher racks inside dishwasher

Step 2: Replace the top dishwasher rack

With the track stops open, place the back wheels of the new rack into the track slots and roll it back onto the rails until the front wheels slide into place. Once all four wheels are secure on the rails, push the rack all the way into the dishwasher and allow the track stops to close automatically.

A Whirlpool® Dishwasher set in a kitchen

Shop for Whirlpool® dishwasher rack repair kits and replacement parts

To keep your dishwasher performing at its best, you may occasionally need to replace some parts. Whirlpool offers a variety of parts and accessories to keep your appliance running in tip-top shape.

Discover Whirlpool® dishwashers

Whirlpool offers a variety of dishwashers with features to suit your needs. If you’re ready to purchase a new Whirlpool® Dishwasher, you can choose from several efficient and long-lasting options.

Find more dishwasher maintenance resources

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