Dishwasher Sounds Like Popcorn [7 Causes & Fixes]

By: Talen Quire

Have you ever started your dishwasher only to hear a sound like popcorn popping? It’s strange, right? You expect quiet operation, but instead, it sounds like a snack is being prepared. This noise can be both puzzling and annoying.

I’ve experienced this myself. It’s usually caused by debris getting stuck in the chopper or a blocked drain. It’s crucial to figure out what’s going on before it leads to bigger problems.

Did you know a dishwasher should generally operate at around 44 decibels, which is quieter than a normal conversation? When it starts making unexpected sounds, it’s a clear sign something’s wrong.

In this article, I’ll guide you through identifying the cause of these noises and how to fix them. Stick with me, and we’ll get your dishwasher back to its quiet, efficient self.

Popcorn noise coming from the dishwasher

Why Does My Dishwasher Make a Noise Like Popcorn?

Now, let’s look into the causes why your dishwasher is making popping noises:

Incorrect Loading of Dishes

Incorrectly loaded dishes can shift and collide during the wash cycle. This can make noises similar to popcorn popping. When dishes aren’t secured properly, the force of the water jets can move them around. This movement creates that popping noise.

How To Fix It?

Load your dishwasher with care. Make sure large items, like pots and pans, are secured and won’t move. Ensure utensils are placed in the designated holders and not loosely in the bottom of the dishwasher. Each dish should face the center or angle downward, allowing water to flow freely. Avoid overloading the appliance to ensure each item is securely in place.

Clogged Chopper Blade

Clogged chopper blade

Another reason your dishwasher sounds like popcorn might be a clogged chopper blade. This part, also known as the chopper assembly, cuts up food particles so they don’t clog the drain. When debris gets stuck in the chopper, it can make popping or grinding noises.

How To Fix It?

Unplug the dishwasher or switch off the circuit breaker for safety. Next, remove the bottom dish rack to access the bottom panel. Locate the chopper blade, usually found near the drain area.

Carefully remove any debris stuck in the chopper. You might need a small brush or a pair of tweezers to get everything out. Once clean, reassemble everything and test the dishwasher.

Loose Kick Plate

The kick plate, located at the bottom front of the dishwasher, can vibrate and rattle if it’s not secured properly making a popping noise.

How To Fix It?

Start by unplugging the dishwasher for safety. Then, locate the kick plate and check if it wiggles or feels loose. If it does, you’ll need a screwdriver to tighten the screws holding it in place.

If tightening the screws doesn’t stop the noise, consider removing the kick plate entirely and reinstalling it. Ensure all screws are secure and the plate is flush against the dishwasher.

Faulty Drain Pump

The drain pump’s job is to remove wastewater from the dishwasher. When it’s clogged or malfunctioning, it can create popping or crackling noises.

Here’s how you can check your drain pump:

  • First, shut off the water supply valve behind the dishwasher and detach the water inlet hose. This reduces leakage when you remove the pump.
  • Next, unscrew and remove the access panel at the bottom front of the dishwasher. Locate and disconnect the anti-flood switch.
  • Carefully tip the dishwasher back to access the mounting screws and detach the pump assembly.
  • With the pump removed, inspect for debris clogging the hose or impeller. Remove any buildup so the impeller can spin freely.
  • Examine the pump for damage like cracked housing or worn impeller. If defective, replacement is the best option.
  • Reinstall the cleaned or new pump, reconnect everything, and test for normal quiet operation.

How To Fix It?

To fix a faulty drain pump, begin by turning off the dishwasher and cutting the water supply. Unplug the dishwasher from the electrical outlet to ensure safety. Next, remove the bottom basket and move the spray arm to access the filter unit.

Unscrew the filter unit and take out the filter to reach the pump. Carefully clean the pump and remove any debris. There could be small objects like glass pieces stuck in the pump, so use protective gloves and a shop vac to clear any obstructions. If the pump’s shaft is blocked, you might need to remove the pump completely

Electrical Issues

Faulty wires of dishwasher

Another potential culprit for the popcorn noise in your dishwasher could be an electrical issue. Damaged or loose wires can create sparks, leading to popping sounds that resemble popcorn.

How To Fix It?

To address this, start by unplugging the dishwasher and turning off the circuit breaker to ensure safety. Carefully inspect the wires connected to your dishwasher. Look for any signs of damage, such as frayed or burnt wires. Loose connections can also cause electrical noise.

Problems With the Motor

A problem with the motor can also cause your dishwasher to make popcorn-like noises. When the motor is damaged or misaligned, it can create banging or popping sounds as it operates.

How To Fix It?

To fix this, start by unplugging the dishwasher and turning off the circuit breaker for safety. Accessing the motor depends on your dishwasher model, so refer to your user manual for specific instructions. Typically, you’ll need to remove the lower panel to reach the motor.

Once you have access, inspect the motor for any visible damage or signs of wear. If the motor appears damaged, it may need to be replaced. Replacing a dishwasher motor can be complex and costly, so it’s often best to consult a professional technician for this repair.

Air in the Pipe

If your water supply has been recently turned off or if new plumbing has been installed, the air might got trap in the pipe. Air bubbles trapped in the pipes can create a popping sound when water flows through the dishwasher.

How To Fix It?

To fix this issue, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open Faucets: Turn on every faucet in your home, including sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Let the water run for a few minutes to flush out the air bubbles. You can collect the water in buckets to reuse it and conserve water.
  2. Flush Toilets: Flushing the toilets in your home can also help release the trapped air from the pipes. Do this a few times to ensure all the air is expelled.
  3. Run the dishwasher: After following the above steps, run the dishwasher to see if the popping noise has stopped. If the noise persists, you might need to repeat the process or check for other potential issues.

When Should I Call the Professional?

Professional appliance technician

If you’ve tried troubleshooting the popcorn noise in your dishwasher without success, it’s time to consider calling a professional. Here are some situations when professional help is necessary:

  1. Persistent Noise: If the popping sound continues after you’ve checked for common issues like incorrect loading, clogged chopper blade, loose kick plate, faulty drain pump, and air in the pipes, it’s time to call a technician. Persistent noise may indicate a more complex problem.
  2. Electrical Issues: If you suspect the noise is due to an electrical issue, such as damaged wiring or a short circuit, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Electrical problems can be dangerous and require professional expertise to handle safely.
  3. Motor Problems: If the noise seems to be coming from the motor, and you’ve determined it’s damaged or deformed, you should call a professional. Replacing a dishwasher motor is a complex task that requires specific skills and tools.
  4. Water Leakage: If you notice any water leakage along with the noise, it could be a sign of a serious internal problem. Leaks can cause water damage to your kitchen and should be addressed immediately by a professional.
  5. Frequent Repairs: If your dishwasher has needed multiple repairs recently, it might be time to get a professional assessment. They can determine if it’s more cost-effective to repair the current unit or invest in a new one.
  6. Lack of Tools or Experience: If you lack the necessary tools or experience to perform the repairs safely and effectively, it’s best to call a professional. Attempting DIY fixes without proper knowledge can lead to further damage.

How Can I Prevent My Dishwasher From Making Popcorn Sounds In the Future?

To prevent your dishwasher from making popcorn sounds in the future, follow these tips:

You can also follow these steps to prevent your dishwasher from making other abnormal sound like raining sound, grinding noise, etc.

  1. Regular Maintenance: Clean your dishwasher regularly. Remove food particles and debris from the chopper blade, filter, and drain pump. This prevents clogs that can cause popping noises.
  2. Proper Loading: Ensure you load the dishwasher correctly. Overloading or improperly placing items can lead to parts getting obstructed and creating noise. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for loading dishes.
  3. Check and Tighten Components: Periodically inspect and tighten screws and components, such as the kick plate and motor mounts. Loose parts can cause vibrations and noise.
  4. Inspect and Clean the Drain Hose: Ensure the drain hose is free of obstructions. Debris in the hose can lead to popping noises during the drain cycle. Clean the hose regularly to prevent buildup.
  5. Air in Pipes: If you notice air bubbles in your water pipes, let the water run through all faucets for a few minutes to clear the air. This can prevent noise caused by air pockets in the plumbing.
  6. Electrical Inspection: Have a professional inspect your dishwasher’s wiring periodically. Damaged or loose wires can cause electrical noises, which might sound like popping.
  7. Motor Care: Ensure the motor is in good condition. If the motor shows signs of wear or damage, replace it promptly to avoid noise and further damage to the dishwasher.
  8. Professional Servicing: Schedule regular check-ups with a professional technician. They can identify and address potential issues before they become significant problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Normal for a Dishwasher to Make a Popping Sound?

No, it’s not normal for a dishwasher to make a popping sound. This noise often indicates an underlying issue, such as a clogged drain pump, loose kick plate, or an air bubble in the water pipes.

Is It Safe to Use a Dishwasher That Sounds Like Popcorn?

Using a dishwasher that sounds like popcorn may not be safe. The noise could indicate problems like electrical issues or a faulty part, which can pose risks. It’s best to investigate and address the issue promptly.

Can a Dishwasher Sound Like Popcorn Due to Poor Installation?

Yes, poor installation can cause a dishwasher to make popcorn-like sounds. Incorrectly installed components, such as a loose kick plate or improper leveling, can result in unusual noises during operation.

How to Clean a Dishwasher That Sounds Like Popcorn?

To clean a noisy dishwasher, start by checking and cleaning the drain pump and filter. Remove any debris or blockages. Ensure the spray arms and other components are clear of obstructions. Regular maintenance can prevent noise.

Can a Dishwasher Sound Like Popcorn Due to a Faulty Part?

Yes, a faulty part, such as a damaged motor or a defective drain pump, can cause popcorn-like sounds in a dishwasher. Identifying and replacing the faulty component is essential to resolve the noise issue.


Identifying and resolving popcorn noises in your dishwasher involves several key steps. Check for a loose kick plate, as vibrations can cause it to rattle. Examine the drain pump for clogs or damage, which might create popping sounds.

Electrical issues, such as damaged wires, can also be a source of noise and should be inspected carefully. The motor may need replacement if it’s causing unusual sounds.

Regular maintenance, proper loading, and checking components like the drain hose can prevent future issues. By following these steps, you can ensure your dishwasher runs smoothly and quietly. If problems persist, don’t hesitate to call a professional for assistance.

About Talen Quire

Talen Quire is a seasoned mechanical engineer with 20 years of industry experience. He earned his engineering degree from the University of Michigan and holds certifications in research and prototype development. Talen has collaborated with top brands like KitchenAid, GE, and BOSCH. Currently, he works at a leading research and development company. Passionate about technology, Talen actively shares the latest tech updates online, engaging a community of enthusiasts and professionals. Outside of work, he's an amateur astronomer and enjoys woodworking, creating detailed furniture and gadgets in his workshop.

Leave a Comment