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How to make a failing dishwasher work properly

make a failing dishwasher work properly

At some point it starts to happen: The dishwasher does not wash clean properly. Hazy deposits on glasses, rust on cutlery, dried food leftovers on plates and bowls — all these problems can occur even after years without trouble. But you do not need to replace the device right away: Often it’s just a question of the right operation. Here is how to make a failing dishwasher work properly

Make a failing dishwasher work properly: prewashing is important

The fact that the dishwasher does not wash clean, can be due to excessively dirty dishes : If you do not wash your dishes, in the long run it ensures that food remains collect in the bottom of the dishwasher and then lead to problems. The collected dirt can then spread during later rinses. That can then leave unsightly residues even with almost clean glasses.

Before you put the dishes in, you should rinse them quickly. This is especially true for:

  • Larger leftovers that could get caught in the machine in the sieve. They prevent the dishes from getting dirty and contribute to the contamination of the appliance.
  • Remains of tomato sauce, ketchup or carrot: The colorants in it are strong enough, for example, to permanently discolor plastic objects in the machine.
  • Pureed fruit : If you love smoothies, you should rinse the used glasses, otherwise a veil will form on the dishes in the machine.

Although pre-rinsing can be annoying – it is necessary for the dishwasher to work efficiently. Remove coarse leftovers by hand , before you hand in the dishes. If the leftover deposit has already dried, put the dishes in warm water for a while. You can fight stubborn fat deposits and calcifications by, for example, soaking them in water with denture cleansing tablets.

Make a failing dishwasher work properly: Stack correctly

If the dishes are not cleaned properly, it may be because the machine was incorrectly filled. Be sure to distribute plates, jars, cups, pots and utensils optimally in the machine to get the best rinse results.

For the dishwasher to rinse properly, it must be filled correctly

The right order in the dishwasher makes a lot of difference. 

Put cutlery in the machine properly

Cutlery belongs in the appropriate cutlery box or in the cutlery drawer, if your dishwasher has one. You should pay attention to the following things:

  • In the cutlery box the cutlery should be with the handle down. This is how blades, spoons and forks get the most out of cleaning. Be careful when loading and unloading with sharp blades in between.
  • Make sure that the water jets of the spray arms can reach as much as possible. The arms should not be blocked by large bowls, high boards or plates. If they can not turn, the whole flushing process is disturbed.
  • Also screw caps, clips and other small parts belong in the cutlery basket or the cutlery drawer. Make sure that light parts can not fly around and can not collect water anywhere.

Plates, pots and other dishes

Especially with larger items you should pay attention when placing in the dishwasher to place them properly.

  • Avoid stacks of dishes, otherwise remain remains stuck in between.
  • Spaces are not too close together the dishes ; otherwise, the water jets can not reach dirty places.
  • Always place pots, bowls, cups and glasses in the dishwasher with the opening facing down so that no water collects inside. That would not only prevent the cleaning of the affected piece of tableware, but steals the rest of the flushing even water.

If the dishwasher is not full after you have filled it in and you do not turn it on immediately, leave it ajar. So no mold of food remains. If a semi-filled machine has not been on for a long time, a quick and easy rinse is recommended as a pre-rinse before the actual cleaning cycle to softeneverything.

Make a failing dishwasher work properly: Use cleaning agents correctly

The different detergents available for dishwashers serve different purposes. If you use them properly, the result will be better too.

Tabs or powder?

Mutitabs for the dishwasher are not always the best choice

While dishwasher tablets are handy, they also have disadvantages.

Multitabs include rinse aid, salt and detergent . This does not mean that you can do without the separate filling of the dishwasher with regenerating salt and rinse aid. Instead, you must make sure that the machine doses salt and rinse aid properly – otherwise there are residues that look ugly, especially on glasses.

If you are using an older dishwasher, you should set the dosage of salt and rinse aid to the lowest level when using multitabs. Newer appliances have a separate button for using multitabs – this prevents excessive mixing of dishwasher salt and rinse aid.

While it does not make much of a difference financially, whether you use multitabs or the combination of powder, salt and rinse aid, there are arguments for both options.

Tabs are practical, quick to use and do not clump together. But they are usually individually wrapped and ensure more plastic waste . If you use cleaning powder, you can dose it better compared to tabs: If the dishes are not particularly dirty, you also need less detergent. This relieves both the wallet and the environment. It can happen that the powder clumps.

Why salt and rinse aid?

In addition to cleaning powder, salt and rinse aid are also important components of the dishwashing process:

The salt regenerates the ion exchanger of the dishwasher . This ensures that lime and magnesium are not deposited as residues on cutlery and glasses. How much salt the machine needs per rinse depends on the water hardness — sometimes the dishwasher doses it automatically, and in part you can adjust it yourself. Your local water supplier can tell you what water hardness is in your case. 

So that glasses are properly clean, the dishwasher needs salt and rinse aid

Especially glasses will benefit if you use rinse aid and regenerating salt properly.

The rinse aid is to prevent lime deposits . Again, the water hardness is relevant: the softer the water, the less rinse aid your machine needs per wash cycle.

Tip : Cleaning powder , dishwasher salt and rinse aid should ideally come from the same manufacturer — so you make sure that the products are perfectly matched.

Choose the right rinse

Most dishwashers use a variety of rinses to rid dishes of dirt. If the dishwasher does not wash properly, you should consider changing your program habits .

Continuous use of the eco-rinse may cause the dishwasher to stop washing properly

The eco-program is good for saving energy and water. From time to time dishes and machine but tolerate higher temperatures.

Most of the eco-rinse seems sufficient to get the dishes clean. It is energy efficient and solves the dirt well if you have rinsed correctly. However, the low temperature has long-term disadvantages, because it does not kill off all germs – both on the dishes and in the interior of the dishwasher can collect bacteria.

From time to time you should therefore choose a rinse with 75 degrees . This cleans the dishes at a microscopic level and the machine cleans itself a bit. At higher temperatures, however, you should make sure that dishes and cutlery are suitable , so that nothing breaks.

Clean the dishwasher regularly

If your dishwasher does not wash properly, it may be worthwhile cleaning it thoroughly. There are various cleaning tasks that you should perform in different frequencies:

  • The sieve must be cleaned regularly, otherwise there may be problems with the drain. In addition, food residues in the lower part of the dishwasher are a breeding ground for germs.
  • From time to time you should wipe the spray arms of the dishwasher with a damp cloth or even remove and clean thoroughly. These can become clogged and then lose their radiance and cleanability. Check the instructions for use of your device to see whether the arms can be removed.
  • You should also clean the interior and the seals from time to time. Angle, in which dirt can deposit, there are plenty. These should be cleaned very thoroughly.

So, as you can see, if the dishwasher does not wash properly, it may be due to various causes: accumulated dirt in the appliance, poor distribution of the dishes, errors in the choice of washing program or wrong dosage of salt and rinse aid.

Before you buy a new machine, you should first try the options mentioned. With a little luck, success will soon set in and the dishes will become as clean as the advertising for detergents promises.

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Author: Genevieve Dumas is a food, fashion and beauty stylist from New York, who has worked for a range of major magazines.

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