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Dishwasher not cleaning well? How to make it clean better.

One of the most common issues our customers come to us with is a dishwasher not cleaning well. They ask, “How can I make my dishwasher clean better?” Dishwasher not cleaning well

It can be a complicated answer, because there are many things that influence the performance of your dishwasher. But here are several easy tips, well within your control, that could help create spotless dishes.

1) Run hot water at the sink before starting a cycle.

The hot water pipe can have gallons of cool water trapped between the dishwasher and the water heater. Evacuating this water by running the nearby faucet helps to prime the pipe with hot water, which is necessary to get good wash performance.

2) Use rinse aid (such as Jet Dry).

Don’t just use it, make sure that your rinse aid dispenser is set at the highest setting. The highest setting on most dishwashers dispenses approximately 5+ mL of rinse aid, which performs well in reducing water spots and helping food debris slide off of the dishes during rinse. At a default setting, only 1 mL is typically dispensed. This is simply not enough to be effective, which is why many people imagine rinse aids to be ineffective. They’re not; they just need to be properly administered.

3) Use high quality detergent.

Your dishwasher likes good detergent. If you think that cheap powder detergent is just as good as anything else, you’re wrong. Several of the cheaper powder detergents actually contain sand. SAND! It ruins your glassware slowly, and makes it more prone to damage or etching. Gel detergents are also generally inferior to powder detergents because they cannot contain both enzymes and bleach, as the bleach would kill the enzymes.

4) Use an appropriate amount of detergent.

Too much detergent is as bad as too little. The more you use, the more suds you create; the more suds, the less likely the dishwasher washes it all off your dishes. If you keep finding a soapy residue on your dishes, you’re probably using too much. You should use no more than necessary, which is usually about 1-2 tablespoons of detergent. Prepacked doses, like Finish Quantum tabs, are useful in keeping you from overusing detergent.

5) Use a water softener.

In Nebraska we have very hard water, and this impedes our wash performance. Using Rinse Aid and a good detergent will help. To really make a difference though, and we know this isn’t an option for everyone, adding a water softener, whether on your house water or specifically on the water supply to the dishwasher, can help wash performance. Some dishwashers, like Cove, offer models with built-in water softeners.

6) Clean your dishwasher and filter.

Yes, it’s gross, but if you want your dishwasher to continue to, you know, actually clean dishes, it’s essential you do the small task of cleaning your dishwasher. If you allow food debris and soap scum to build up, it can clog internal parts like the pump, preventing it from operating at all.

  • For European-style dishwashers, you should clean the debris basket between every cycle.
  • For American-style dishwashers, disassemble the pump screens annually to remove large debris (or if loud noises are heard during operation.

After you clean the filter, run some Dishwasher Magic to complete the cleaning. In fact, you should run a cycle with Dishwasher Magic at least quarterly, maybe even monthly if you wash a lot of dirty dishes.

7) Be thoughtful with how you load the dishwasher.

Turns out there is a right and wrong way to load a dishwasher. If you’re the type to haphazardly stack as many dishes in the dishwasher as you can, you’re not allowing for water flow among all the dishes or drainage at the end of the cycle. If water can’t get at a spot on a dish and also flow away, the dish won’t get clean. To load your dishwasher properly, use common sense:

  1. Respect the tines. Manufacturers place dishwasher tines an appropriate length apart to ensure dishes get cleaned.
  2. Respect gravity. Water drains down, so stack bowls and cups top down to prevent water from pooling.
  3. Don’t stack dishes on top of other dishes. If your dish is no longer touching the rack, but is resting on other dishes, then there will be issues with the cleaning.

If all else fails, call a certified and trained technician.

Let an expert look at the dishwasher. There may be a mechanical problem within the unit that can be easily solved by an expert.

If you need dishwasher repair in Omaha, please call Nebraska Home Appliance at 402-399-0202 or schedule online for all of your appliance repair needs in the Omaha metro area, including Council Bluffs.

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