Regularly Check and Clean the Filter
The filter in your dishwasher traps food debris to prevent it from circulating and getting redeposited on clean dishes. Over time, this buildup can clog the filter and impede water flow. Check the filter monthly and clean it if needed. Remove any large pieces of food, rinse under water, scrub with a brush, and replace.
Use a Dishwasher Cleaner Monthly
Over time, grease, limescale, and soap scum can build up inside the dishwasher, reducing cleaning effectiveness. Using a dishwasher cleaner monthly helps remove this grime and mineral buildup. Run the dishwasher empty on the hottest cycle with the cleaner to fully dissolve and rinse away deposits.
Clean the Spray Arms
For effective cleaning, water needs to reach all areas of the dishwasher. Mineral deposits and food particles can clog the spray arm nozzles and restrict water flow. Remove the spray arms and use a toothpick or small brush to clear any blocked holes. Rinse under water to remove debris.
Don’t Overload the Dishwasher
It’s tempting to cram as many dishes into the dishwasher as possible, but overloading prevents water from properly circulating for cleaning. Stick to loading dishes in an organized manner without cramming. Leave space around items for water to spray all surfaces.
Use the Right Detergent
Use detergent designed for dishwashers, not hand washing detergent which will create excess suds. Check the detergent amount – don’t use too much or too little. Scrape food off dishes before loading – detergent isn’t designed to remove large food pieces.
Clean the Door Gasket
With regular use, the rubber door gasket can get coated in grime, food, and mineral deposits, preventing a tight seal. Dampen a cloth or sponge with white vinegar and gently scrub the door gasket to remove buildup and keep the seal tight.
Don’t Install Next to Refrigerator
The heat from dishwashers can damage refrigerator seals, reducing efficiency. Leave adequate space between appliances, at least a few inches between units. Install insulation between if needed.
Periodically Descale Interior
Hard water can leave mineral deposits inside the dishwasher that reduce performance. Use vinegar or citric acid to periodically descale the interior. Run a hot cycle with vinegar in the bottom to dissolve mineral buildup.
Use Rinse Aid
Rinse aid improves drying by allowing water to sheet off surfaces rather than form droplets that cling and leave spots. Refill rinse aid regularly and make sure the dispenser setting matches the concentration of the product you use.
Dry Plastic Items by Hand
Plastic dishware often doesn’t dry well in the dishwasher since it doesn’t retain heat as well as other materials. Take extra care to fully dry plastic items by hand to avoid trapped moisture leading to bacteria growth.
In summary, keeping your dishwasher clean, well-maintained, and used properly will maximize performance and extend its lifespan. Check filters, spray arms, and the interior regularly. Use the right detergents and aids. Don’t overload. With regular care, your dishwasher can deliver spotless dishes for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I run the dishwasher?
It’s best to run the dishwasher when it’s full. Avoid running small loads daily as this is inefficient. Run full loads every 2-3 days for best results.
What temperature cycle should I use?
For moderately soiled loads, the normal wash cycle (120-140°F) is sufficient. For heavily soiled dishes, use the high temp or sanitizing cycle (150°F or higher) to ensure bacteria removal.
How can I improve drying results?
Using a rinse aid, not overloading the dishwasher, and allowing adequate ventilation space around the unit will improve drying. Hand drying plastics also helps.
What should I do if dishes aren’t getting clean?
Check the spray arms for blocked nozzles, clean out the filter, and don’t overload. Make sure you’re using enough detergent and that it’s fresh. Run appliance cleaner to remove any buildup.
How do I get rid of a bad odor in the dishwasher?
Run a vinegar rinse cycle to deodorize and remove grime buildup. Going forward, leave the door cracked open between washes to improve air circulation and drying.
When should I replace my dishwasher?
On average, dishwashers last 7-12 years. If yours is over 10 years old and needing frequent repairs, it may be time for replacement. Newer models are more energy and water efficient.
Can I wash pots and pans in the dishwasher?
Yes, you can wash most pots and pans in the dishwasher unless noted hand wash only. Avoid cast iron and non-stick coated pans which can corrode. Hands scrub burnt on food before loading.
How can I stop dishwasher stains on flatware?
Using too much detergent can leave a cloudy film on flatware. Only use the recommended amount. Make sure items don’t nest together. Use a quality rinse aid to improve sheeting action.
Why does my dishwasher make noise when running?
Some sounds are normal like water spraying, the motor humming, and water draining. Loud or repetitive banging could indicate a blocked spray arm. Buzzing can mean a food particle is stuck in the pump.
How do I clean hard water spots on glasses?
Soak glasses in equal parts white vinegar and warm water to dissolve mineral deposits. For prevention, install a water softener, use rinse aid, and don’t overload the bottom rack.