Bosch Dishwasher E21: A Big Issue On The Horizon?

You’re in the middle of washing a load of dishes in your Bosch dishwasher when you notice that the water isn’t draining properly. 

Concerned, you take a quick look at the control panel and see an error code E21 displayed.

What does E21 mean on a Bosch dishwasher? Well, E21 typically indicates a problem with the dishwasher’s pump, specifically a pump blockage, impeller issues, or a jammed motor. It’s not that severe, just potentially a little heavy on your wallet. In order to resolve this issue, you’ll need to clear or replace these affected parts. You can even potentially fix it by simply resetting your bosch dishwasher.

Let me help you bid farewell to the E21 error, so you can enjoy the convenience of your Bosch dishwasher again.

What Does E21 Mean On A Bosch Dishwasher

What Does E21 Mean On A Bosch Dishwasher

Let’s talk about the causes in detail.

Pump Blockage

One possible reason for the E21 error code is a blockage in the dishwasher’s pump. 

Over time, bits of food, debris, or other objects can clog the pump, preventing water from flowing properly. 

This buildup happens when dishes aren’t rinsed or prewashed thoroughly, and it leads to the E21 error.

Impeller Issues

Another cause of the E21 error code could be problems with the impeller. 

The impeller is responsible for moving water through the dishwasher’s spray arms to clean your dishes effectively. 

If the impeller gets damaged or stuck, it disrupts the water flow and triggers the E21 error. 

This can happen due to wear and tear, buildup of debris, or objects getting in the way of the impeller’s movement.

Jammed Motor

Lastly, a jammed motor can also be the source of the E21 error on your Bosch dishwasher. 

The motor powers various functions of the dishwasher, such as circulating water and draining it. 

If the motor gets jammed or obstructed, it affects the dishwasher’s operation and results in the E21 error. 

This can happen because of foreign objects, too many dishes in the dishwasher, or mechanical problems with the motor.

How Do I Fix Error Code E21 Bosch Dishwasher

How Do I Fix Error Code E21 Bosch Dishwasher

Here’s how to take care of all the issues. I’ll tell you how to check the parts first before you fix them, so you’re not wasting time. 

Checking for Pump Blockage

To check for pump blockage in your Bosch dishwasher, follow these steps:

  1. Check if your dishwasher drains properly, if it doesn’t, go to the next step. 
  2. Remove the bottom dish rack from the dishwasher.
  3. Lift the cylindrical tube of the filter unit to remove it.
  4. Inspect the pump visually.

Fixing Pump Blockage

To fix the pump blockage issue, continue with the following steps:

  1. Find the white plastic pump cover below the filter unit you removed.
  2. Use a small spoon to carefully lift and remove the pump cover.
  3. Clean out the pump, removing any debris.
  4. Put the pump cover back, making sure it fits securely.
  5. Place the filter unit back in, aligning the arrows properly.

Checking for Impeller Issues

Here’s how to check the impeller:

  1. Turn off power and water supply to the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the lower dish rack and access the wash impeller.
  3. Inspect the impeller for any visible damage, such as cracks or broken blades.
  4. Rotate the impeller manually to ensure it moves freely without obstruction.
  5. Check for any debris or blockages in the impeller or surrounding area.

Replacing The Impeller

If the impeller is damaged, not rotating properly, or if there are significant blockages, it’ll need to be replaced, there’s no proper fix.

  1. Turn off power and water supply to the dishwasher.
  2. Remove access panels, disconnect hoses and wires.
  3. Take out the lower dish rack, wash arm, and filters.
  4. Tilt dishwasher back, remove pumps and assembly.
  5. Replace impeller, seal, and spacer with new parts.
  6. Reassemble pumps and secure them in place.
  7. Put back filters, wash arm, and dish rack.
  8. Reconnect hoses, wires, and panels.
  9. Restore power and water supply to test the dishwasher.

Checking The Motor

Follow these steps to check your motor for faults:

  1. Make sure the dishwasher is unplugged or disconnected from the power source.
  2. Take off the panels and covers to access the motor.
  3. Look for any obvious signs of damage like broken parts or burnt wires.
  4. Try spinning the motor’s blades by hand to see if they move smoothly without resistance or strange noises.
  5. Check the electrical connections to ensure they are securely attached.
  6. Use a multimeter or continuity tester to check the motor’s electrical continuity.
  7. If there is no reading or tone, it indicates a faulty motor and the need for replacement.

Replacing The Motor

If your motor is in a bad condition, you should get it replaced. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Flip the dishwasher upside down so you can reach the motor underneath.
  2. Take off the front panel and the covers on the right and left sides of the dishwasher to expose the motor.
  3. Disconnect the springs that hold the dishwasher door, remove screws, and unhook the hose that drains water and the valve that controls water flow. This gets everything ready for replacing the motor.
  4. Disconnect the old motor and put in the new one.
  5. Make sure all the rubber parts and the thing that senses the water level (it’s called the float switch assembly) are securely attached.
  6. Put a plastic cover back over the electrical connections to protect them from water damage.
  7. Connect a wire to the frame of the dishwasher for safety.
  8. Once the new motor is in place, check that the blades can turn smoothly and there are no water leaks.
  9. Test the dishwasher to make sure it runs properly and drains water as it should.
  10. Close up the dishwasher by putting the panels back at the bottom.
  11. Double-check for any leaks and make sure everything is working correctly.

Regular Maintenance Tips To Keep E21 Error Away

Regular Maintenance Tips To Keep E21 Error Away

To prevent the E21 error code on your Bosch dishwasher, follow these simple maintenance tips:

  • Clean The Filter Often: Make it a habit to clean the dishwasher’s filter once a month. This helps remove any food particles or debris that can cause clogs and blockages.
  • Check And Clean The Spray Arms: Take a look at the spray arms for any clogs or debris. If you find any, give them a good cleaning to ensure water can flow freely during the wash cycle.
  • Keep The Drain Pump Clean: Regularly inspect and clean the drain pump to prevent blockages that can trigger the E21 error. Clear away any gunk or buildup that might be hindering its proper functioning.
  • Avoid Overloading: It’s tempting to stuff as many dishes as possible into the dishwasher, but overloading can lead to problems. It restricts the movement of the spray arms and puts extra strain on the pump and motor. So, be mindful of the dishwasher’s capacity and load it appropriately.
  • Use good-quality detergent: Choose a high-quality dishwasher detergent that effectively dissolves food particles and prevents residue buildup. This helps keep your dishwasher clean and reduces the chances of encountering error codes like E21.

By following these easy maintenance practices, you can minimize the occurrence of the E21 error and keep your Bosch dishwasher running smoothly.


Can I clear the E21 error code on my Bosch dishwasher without professional help?

Yes, you can try to fix the E21 error code on your Bosch dishwasher yourself, though you might need to look around in your dishwasher manual for a bit, if you can’t find any locations. Your Bosch model could be different.

What is E20 error on Bosch dishwasher?

The E20 error on a Bosch dishwasher indicates a control board problem. 

What is E15 error in Bosch dishwasher?

The E15 error in a Bosch dishwasher indicates a water leak.

What is an E25 error on a Bosch dishwasher?

The E25 error on a Bosch dishwasher means there is a drainage issue. Check the drain pump and hose for clogs or obstructions, remove them, and ensure proper drainage.

What is Bosch E 24 code?

The Bosch E24 code points to a drain filter blockage causing improper drainage. Clean the drain filter thoroughly and remove any debris or obstructions.

Final Thoughts

The E21 error code on your Bosch dishwasher can be an annoying obstacle in your quest for spotless dishes. 

However, armed with the knowledge of its causes and potential solutions, you’re well-equipped to conquer this challenge. 

Regular maintenance, like cleaning filters and spray arms, prevents issues such as clogs, impeller problems, and motor jams. 

Taking care of your Bosch dishwasher will keep the E21 error away so you can have great performance and spotless dishes, making your kitchen routine hassle-free.

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