How to Maintain and Troubleshoot Your Dishwasher - dummies

How to Maintain and Troubleshoot Your Dishwasher

By Gill Chilton

Your dishwasher, like all tools, needs to be maintained to continue to do its job in the kitchen. If the dishes aren’t coming out clean it’s probably because it hasn’t been cleaned itself.

Clean out dishwasher filters – ideally after every wash. You don’t need to get the grease off, just stuck-on bits of rice and so on. If you don’t clear it off, that gunk just flies back over the dishes.

Wipe dirty seals dry with paper towelling.

Now and again, take off the water spray arm and check that it isn’t clogged (sweet corn is a likely culprit). Use toothpicks to carefully unblock any logjams.

A capful of white vinegar keeps shut-up smells at bay. Pour some in on a day when you’re not going to use the dishwasher and leave it to sit in the machine. You can also buy branded leave-in freshener blocks.

Dishwashers are a blessing and a curse! The short and far-from-complete list that follows tells you how to take care of some of the most common dishwasher problems. Your dishwasher manual should have additional advice.

  • Cups still tea-stained: You’re not putting enough cleaning powder into your machine. Add dishwasher salt, as described in the preceding ‘Loading the dishwasher’ section, or switch to a premium dishwasher powder and avoid light wash settings.

  • Detergent residue or half-dissolved tablets left in the machine: This indicates that hot water isn’t getting through. Check the spray arm for blockages and clear them out with a toothpick. Also, tablets can be too much for small machines. Switch to powder.

  • Too many suds: Use less rinse-aid in the dispenser. Also, scrape away egg- and –cheese-based sauces, as too much protein in the machine causes over-soaping.

  • Wet plates and glasses: Add more rinse-aid.

  • White film on inside of the machine and glassware: Descale the dishwasher with a limescale remover.