Dishwashers are an absolute lifesaver in the kitchen. If you recently hosted a get together or a holiday dinner in your household, you’ll know the absolute torture it can be to have to get through endless washing up once the guests have filled up and gone.
So, what happens when your dishwasher decides to throw a hissy fit and stop working? Keep finding dried food spots in your plates, after a wash? Random soap stains not disappearing from your glasses? You’d be surprised to learn that many of the most common dishwasher problems are actually easily fixed, meaning no crazy fees to get yourself back in the game and no waiting around for a pro to become available- you can get yourself back to tip-top hosting condition with these 5 dishwasher tips and tricks.
Dishes Aren’t Drying in the Dishwasher
This is one of the most common culprits, especially for those new to dishwashing in general. The most likely reason this is happening is due to a lack of a rinse-aid being used. Dishwashers need this, since it helps them to dry everything in double-time. Have a multi-tablet or liquid that states rinse-aid is included? Unfortunately, it’s still recommended that your dishwasher gets an extra helping, especially if your dishes are coming out damp.
If this doesn’t work, check out your heating element. It could be that this has gone bust and therefore your dishes end up wet and feeling a little sorry for themselves after a rinse. If you’re able, check your dishwasher’s heating element to ensure it’s still up and running properly. This can be a little fiddly but there’s some great tutorials on YouTube for more detailed explanations of how to locate and test yours.
Dishwasher Leaving Spots on Glasses
Another common problem that be resolved with a little rinse-aid. We know, it’s a simple solution but it’s amazing what a little extra can do to help change the overall look of your dishes, once some extra is popped in. If you’re using this but still not seeing any amazing results, it could be the hardness of the water.
Water hardness is essentially a measurement of the amount of calcium and magnesium present in your water. It’s not a bad thing if these are higher in your area, since they’re two of the essential minerals that your body uses every day- unfortunately it just makes it a little more difficult to do jobs such as washing clothes, shampooing your hair and letting your dishwasher clean the dishes. Luckily, there’s a way to try to counteract this; water softeners such as dish detergent boosters. These even the playing field a little bit and allow your dishwasher to do its job to the best of it’s ability.
Dishwasher Running for Too Long
There’s a couple of culprits that can come into play here. First of all, you’ll need to do the usual checks- are your settings correct for the amount of washing needed to complete? It’s a simple mistake that can result in a waste of time and energy, especially as some models don’t make choosing the difference options all that easy.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that nothing is blocked- your dishwasher runs on a multitude of sensors and if any aspect of your washer isn’t registering properly, it’s more than likely that your appliance will continually flush water through in an attempt to complete its job.
You can also speed along your appliance by running your hot water tap a little before starting the cycle. For some brands and types, it takes longer for your dishwasher to heat up the water than it does for your boiler to jump into action and get the hot water pumping. Give your washer a boost by having your water hot before it gets to the appliance and you should save yourself some time, especially if your heating element isn’t at its peak!
If you’re able, check over your timer, heating element and thermostat too- these are the three main components that can be at fault, so check YouTube or have a Google for the best way to resolve any issues or ways to replace these, before giving up on your dishwasher altogether.
Dishwasher not Draining
This is easily one of the worst issues that can happen, since you know you’re not able to open up your dishwasher and get to your dishes, inside. Not without causing a small flood in your house, anyway. Not to mention that all that water is dirty, tepid and probably smells- no, this is not a good predicament to be in. Luckily, there’s a few resolutions to this, but be prepared to get your hands a little dirty!
The first thing you’ll need to do is check your garbage disposal. Modern dishwashers connect to the garbage disposal, which use a knockout plug which needs to be removed before the water can drain effectively. Your best bet is to get a plumber in to do this, since it can be messy and playing with your pipes is generally a bad idea unless you’re very confident with your system and piping in general.
You should also check the valve of your drain sump. If there’s an obstruction or the valve is moving improperly (or not moving at all), this can have a drastic effect on your dishwasher’s ability to drain the water. While you (or your plumber) are there, you should check the pipes for any issues with the drain pump/motor and remove any obstructions that can prohibit adequate draining from your dishwasher.
Dishwasher Leaving Food on Dishes
If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning your dishes, then it’s fair to say that it’s not much of a dishwasher at all. This is one of the most common problems in this appliance, from small spots of food to dishes looking like they’ve been missed entirely, and it’s fair to say that you don’t have to put up with this, anymore.
Starting from the very beginning: you’ll need to ensure that your dishwasher is clean to begin with. So, take out anything and everything that is removable and wipe it down/wash before replacing and trying again. If this hasn’t taken care of the problem, then you’ll know it’s something to with the inner workings of the machine.
Run a clean cycle on your washer, without any dishes being present, too. This can help flush the system of any grease or general debris that can be present in the pipework (if you do as much washing as I do, you’ll know how quickly this can build up, too!). This will also help you see if you have hard or soft water. Which means that the former can be easily resolved using a detergent/water softener as above. If you have soft water and still notice your dishes coming out dirty, continue reading.
Your spray-arms may be a little worse for wear or simply not have enough pressure available to do their job, properly. These can be easily replaced though, so don’t worry too much about it and have a good look online to find your missing parts. If you aren’t at that point yet, check the filters and see if there’s something in the way, or contact a local plumber to see if there’s any way you can increase the water pressure to your dishwasher.
How to Get Your Best From Your Dishwasher
All of the above are relatively easy problems to solve but, of course, it’s always better to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place than it is to have to solve them, once they pop up. The best way to do that is to maintain your dishwasher on a regular basis, simply by following these simple tips:
- Use vinegar and bicarb of soda, mixed together to get your main dishwasher absolutely gleaming. This combination is used on pretty much any and all kitchen and bathroom appliances and is a send from the cleaning gods of the world to make our lives easier.
- Take your dishwasher apart, completely, regularly. Get every nook and cranny clean, and don’t forget to fish out any rubbish from your spray arms, which are the main culprits for blockages, as food and grime can easily get stuck in those little holes.
- Don’t forget the edges of your door and the gasket, making sure to maintain the seal which prevents your appliance from leaking all over your kitchen floor. Be sure to get the bottom of the door too- this is usually the dirtiest area as the dish trays cover it up when not in use, and the door obviously hides it from view when the washer is closed.
- Regularly run your dishwasher, without any dishes. This essentially allows your washer to flush itself of any rubbish. Bear in mind you should only need a short, eco wash to do this.