While it may seem like a small issue, a leaky dishwasher can be costly, annoying, and in some cases, even dangerous. Slip and fall accidents account for over 1 million emergency room visits every year, most of which happen at ground level, not from an elevated position. The last thing you want is a leaky dishwasher pouring water onto the kitchen floor, only to have a child or elderly person slip and hurt themselves.

But what causes these leaks? Figuring that part out can be a head-scratcher, primarily because the leak can be minuscule. Here are some of the most common reasons for a leaky dishwasher.

  • Cracked Tub. Many of the problems on this list will occur simply because of time, and this one is no different. Depending on the age of your device, it may be that a hole has simply worn in the bottom of the dishwasher tub, allowing water to escape and pool underneath the unit. You may be able to simply patch this up, but if your dishwasher is older, it may be less expensive to actually buy a brand new one. 
  • Off-Balance Dishwasher. Your unit needs to be completely level in order to allow water to drain properly from the tub; if not, it’s very likely that it will spill out of the sides and onto your floor. Grab a level and check to see that the base is balanced, and if it isn’t, grab some wood shims and place them underneath the unit to level it out. 
  • Bad Soap (or Too Much). Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? You want your dishes clean, so you load up your dishwasher with as much of the best type of detergent you can find, only to see pools around your unit every time. The simplest solution is to dial back the quantity and see if that helps, since extra soap will create more suds and force water out onto the floor. Additionally, check your brand to see if you’re using the right type of soap for your dishwasher. 
  • Cracked Hoses. If there’s a hole in your water valve, the hoses leading to and from your dishwasher, or an inlet valve that’s stuck in place, that might be the reason you keep seeing water everywhere. Do a once-over on your unit and inspect all the hoses to make sure none of them have a broken seal or crack anywhere that’s causing the leak. 
  • Faulty Gasket. Open up your dishwasher and check the seal that protects the edges of the door. In some cases, it may be that they’re cracked and worn down, or there may simply be an obstruction breaking the seal. In either case, fixing the gasket usually leads to a non-leaking dishwasher. 
  • Loose Door. The latch on your door is what keeps your unit shut tightly during operation. Over time, it can become loose and even move around during a cycle, which means water will escape and pool outside. It’s harder to identify since it isn’t necessarily a leak, but close the door and press on it a few times to see if it’s tight. If not, buy a new latch and install it. 
  • Bad Switch. The float switch on a dishwasher is what keeps your tub from overfilling with water during a cycle, shutting off the water flow once the water gets too high. If it’s caught on something, then there’s nothing to stop your unit from continuing to fill up with debris and liquid until it finds a place to escape, usually on your tile. The float switch is located on the inside of the unit near the bottom; check it to make sure there’s nothing obstructing its operation. 
  • Leaky Pump. Located underneath your dishwasher is your water pump. Normally, there’s a seal in place to make sure the water is pumped straight into the dishwasher itself, but if the seal is broken or cracked, your pump will inevitably leak water. Remove the pump and replace the seal, and your problem should be solved.