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6 Reasons Why a Dishwasher Can Catch Fire

Plastic Sculpture After The Dishwasher Caught Fire
Plastic sculpture after the dishwasher caught fire Source: Much Ramblings

Dishwashers have become an important part of our lives. They are convenient, time-saving, and also conserve water. However, as they operate on electricity, they can be a big threat sometimes. One such threat is catching fire.

Because a dishwasher operates on water and electricity, combining these two can be extremely dangerous sometimes. Besides electric shock as a main concern, they can also raise a concern about catching fires and releasing smoke.

If you face a fire in your dishwasher, you must extinguish it carefully. Moreover, you can take proper safety measures to overcome concerns about your dishwashing unit.

This article will highlight these in detail, so don’t miss out on them.


Can dishwashers catch fire? Yes! They can. There can be several reasons behind this. Such as:

  • Malfunctioning heating element
  • Poor wiring
  • Worn out cables
  • Misapplication of the appliance
  • Poor maintenance of the appliance
  • Leaving the unit unsupervised

You can take proper safety measures to put out the fire caused by a dishwasher and prevent future accidents.

This article will educate you on the risks of a dishwasher catching a fire. Moreover, we will highlight some potential reasons why a dishwasher can catch fire and how you can avoid any such accident.

6 Reasons Why a Dishwasher Can Catch Fire

Dishwashers may seem to be a safe appliances doing their work silently and delivering clean and dry dishes at the end of each cycle. However, like any other appliance operating on electricity, they have some concerns that need to be addressed.

“A dishwasher caught fire in South Carolina, causing serious damage to the building.” You might not encounter such news highlights every other day.

However, it does not mean it does not happen at all. Although not a common occurrence, fire hazards associated with dishwashers should not be taken non-seriously.

We have highlighted 6 of the major reasons why such accidents can happen. Highlighted with the hazard is the preventive measure to avoid such incidents.

1. Malfunctioning of Heating Element

Domestic Appliance Fire — The Burnt Out Control Panel Of A Bosch Dishwasher (French Model)

Heating elements help warm the water for better cleaning and sanitization of the dishes being washed in the dishwasher. Besides that, it is also the basic element that helps dry off the dishes once they are washed and rinsed.

If you leave the heating element on too long, it might get overheated. In some poorly manufactured appliances, the faulty heating element often fails to shut off once the cleaning cycle is complete.

This can lead to overheating the element, posing a serious fire threat to the appliance.

2. Poor Wiring

Echnician Or Plumber Repairing The Dishwasher In A Household. The Rubber Seal Is Damaged

In many cheap dishwasher appliances, poor wiring is the main culprit behind fire and smoke incidents. A faulty wiring can cause the appliances to shut down and overheat the wiring system, leading to sparking and fire.

Besides poor internal wiring, you must also consider the outlet wiring. The dishwasher can be a heavy electric appliance. Poor wiring of the electric socket you are connecting the unit into can be a main threat too.

This can increase the load on the fragile wiring system leading to a large fire or circuit breakdown.

3. Damaged Electric Cords

Damage Of Cable Wire From Rat Bite ,Causing Danger

Sometimes, due to the heating up of the wires, the insulation might melt off the wires when in use. Moreover, a sharp object may also cut off the additional insulating cable covering the wires. This will bare the wires, making room for any potential fire hazard.

If the bare or damaged cords allow the two different electric wires to come in contact with each other, a large spark following a fire can occur. This can lead to severe explosions, which can not be handled alone.

If you smell burnt plastic or sparkling sounds from or behind the dishwasher, address the issue as soon as possible.

If you find bare wires in your dishwashing system, call the professional immediately to replace them before turning on the dishwasher.

4. Misapplication of the Appliance

The Installation Of Electrical Cables That Come Out Of The Green Carpet

Overloading the dishwasher is discouraged mainly because it leaves your dishes dirty or wet. Consider putting the dishwasher on another dry heat cycle to dry the dishes.

This will lead to overheating the dishwasher and the heating element, which is not a good practice since it often leads to fire.

Secondly, make sure there is no flammable object near the dishwasher wiring. Laying the wires under a carpet can also cause fire as it can start burning when met with sparks.

Ensure the dishwasher is plugged into a grounded wall socket and is not close to any water source.

5. Poor Maintenence of the Appliance

Repair Service Worker. Repairman Is Opening The Old Dishwasher Machine. Repair Service Concept. Dishwasher Machine Repair Process. Scale On Metal Parts.

Not cleaning the food bits and particles clinging to the dishwasher’s walls after a wash cycle can be a big hazard sometimes. During the dry heating, the particles might create a chance for them to catch fire.

Moreover, as the water leaks out from the appliance, it may find its way to the back wiring of the unit or any other electric device nearby.

The lethal combination of water and electricity can generate serious sparks and lead to severe fires.

Make sure you clean your dishwasher unit weekly using a homemade vinegar and backing soda mixture or a store-bought cleaner. This will help remove and rinse all the unnecessary particles stuck on the dishwasher walls.

Secondly, you must wipe off the leaking water to prevent it from reaching the wiring system and generating hazards.

6. Leaving the Unit Unsupervised

A Man Turn On And Off The Dishwasher. The Man Puts Dirty Dishes In The Dishwasher. Washing Dishes In The Dishwasher, Close-Up.

We often forget to turn off our dishwasher when busy on a video call with our friend. Sometimes we turn on the dishwasher before leaving for the grocery and forget to push the power button off. Put your paws up if you are guilty of the same!

Leaving your dishwasher on and unsupervised for a long period is as harmless as a lamb. However, it is not! Leaving a dishwasher turned on can cause overheating leading to a fire.


Besides the dishwasher, leaving any other electric appliance running for a long time can pose serious threats. Before leaving or going to bed, walk around the house and turn off all the running electric appliances, such as the dishwasher, kettle, electric iron, etc.


A dishwasher can be a potential source of lighting a fire in your house. If you want to prevent any fire accident at your place, you must educate yourself on the reasons behind such accidents.

A malfunctioning heating element, poor wiring system, damaged or bare electric cables, misuse of the appliance, poor maintenance, or unsupervised use of the dishwasher are the main reasons behind it catching fire.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Prevent a Dishwasher Fire?

To overcome an incident of dishwasher fire, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Educate yourself about the reasons why a dishwasher catches fire.
  • Maintain your dishwasher.
  • Buy a dishwasher with good-quality wiring and cables.
  • Consult a professional if you detect a smoke or burning smell near your appliance.

What To Do if a Dishwasher Catches Fire?

In case you encounter a fire in your dishwasher, don’t panic. Behave like a proactive person and take proper steps to extinguish the fire:

  • Turn off the power supply to the unit right away.
  • Spread a handful of baking soda over the fire or use a blanket to put off a small fire.
  • In case of a large fire, use a fire extinguisher spray and call the emergency immediately.
  • Do not use water to put off the fire, as it can create a risk of electrocuting yourself.

What Are the Main Components of a Dishwasher That Can Catch Fire?

To avoid any risk related to your dishwasher and for its proper maintenance, you need to get knowledge of the components of a dishwasher that can catch fire. The following are the main elements that need to be checked:

  • Heating Element
  • Electric wires
  • Wall outlet

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