We’ve done posts before about how to clean your dishwasher and the best way to load it for maximum efficiency but what happens when the dishwasher isn’t well, actually washing the dishes? Items that are coming out still dirty means there’s likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. The good news though is that this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to get a new dishwasher. Here are some tips we’ve found to be most helpful in getting pots, pans, plates, and utensils sparkling again.
Dishes go in too dirty. Yes, we’ve mentioned before that dishes that are too clean going in can sometimes make your dishwasher less effective, since the more modern appliances need some food particles to sensor. But putting in pans with caked-on grease or bowls with hardened cereal bits still stuck to it isn’t a good idea either. Giving a quick rinse with hot water will loosen debris, not only helping to get dishes cleaner during the cycle, but also ensuring large bits of food scraps don’t get clogged in the filter, making your dishwasher less efficient.
Low water temperature. Water that’s not hot enough won’t get your dishes as clean. Before running the dishwasher, try putting a thermometer in a glass of tap water and checking the temperature. It should be between 120-150 degrees F. If it’s not, then adjust the temperature on your hot water heater (usually found in the basement).
Using the wrong detergent. It may seem like dishwasher detergents are interchangeable and if you don’t see a noticeable difference in how your dishes come out, then it may not be a problem. But oftentimes, depending on if you have hard or soft water running through your home, using the wrong detergent can create buildup and cause dishes to not be cleaned as well (this is especially noticeable with glass, cups, and mugs). Know what kind of water you have and make sure to read the label on a detergent to make sure it’s the right one for your needs.
Not enough water in the dishwasher. Not surprisingly, how much water your dishwasher gets in a cycle is directly related to how clean the dishes ultimately get. Think about how difficult it would be to get shampoo or conditioner out of your hair if water was only trickling out of the showerhead. To determine if your dishwasher is getting enough water, start a wash cycle and then open the door when you hear the appliance stop filling with water. The water should reach the heating coil, in the back. If it doesn’t, make sure the float valve (found in the front of the dishwasher) is operating freely.
If none of these tricks work and you’re still seeing insufficiently-cleaned dishes after a cycle, then it could be a faulty part like an inlet valve or pump. That’s where our Service Department can be of help. Give us a call and speak to one of our expert technicians. We can walk you through some troubleshooting and then, if necessary, come out for a service call.
At Better Housekeeping Shop, we know your appliances need to be working at their best every day. Should you ever have a problem with one, even if it wasn’t originally purchased from us, give our Service Department a call at 732-741-4310. You can be confident that our certified technicians will always be honest and give you an expert and straightforward assessment.