There’s nothing worse than needing a dish, opening your dishwasher, and finding that it hasn’t gotten the dishes clean. If your home dishwasher isn’t getting the dishes clean, it can put the brakes on your kitchen operation in less than a heartbeat. Modern dishwashers can be complicated and difficult to understand, but with a little help from this guide, you’ll be able to understand why your dishwasher doesn’t get the dishes clean, and what you can do to improve its performance.
Before you embark on any cleaning or repairs, be sure to check that your dishwasher is plugged in properly to both power and water sources. Try doing a “hard reset” by unplugging your dishwasher for thirty seconds, and then plugging it back in. You should also check the circuit breaker switch for your dishwasher, as well. Read your manual and be sure that you are using the right kind of soap, and that you’re loading the dishwasher properly as well. If all of these elements seem to be correctly in place, continue with the steps below.
We don’t usually think about cleaning the appliance that cleans our dishes, but sometimes all that stands between you and a perfectly-operating dishwasher is to clean the appliance itself.
While the spray arm is out, or while you’re cleaning the spray arm, is also a great time to clean the filter. All modern dishwashers have a filter (usually in the bottom or the back of the basin tub) to prevent particles from entering your home’s drain system. Follow the manual instructions to remove and disassemble all filter components. Many filters have multiple parts like screens and cages. Clean each of these with warm soapy water, or commercial cleaners if necessary. Make sure you reassemble the filter properly, as well.
You can perform this task while the spray arm is still inside the unit, but it may help to remove it according to the manual’s instructions. Use a toothbrush and a fine-tipped object like a paperclip to clean the arms and each individual spray nozzle or hole. Warm soapy water should do, but if there is built-on grime or mineral deposits, you may need to turn to a commercial cleaning product.
Make a visual check of the cleanliness of your dishwasher basin. A dishwasher tub/basin will not usually require regular cleaning, but if your dishwasher has gotten particularly dirty, scaly, or coated with mineral deposits, it may be time to clean the entire basin. Start with warm soapy water and a wash rag, but graduate up to tougher cleaners if you’re dealing with scale or stuck-on mineral deposits.
A dishwasher can’t do its job without enough water, so be sure to check that your unit is getting enough water if the dishwasher doesn’t get the dishes clean. The inlet valve is responsible for letting water enter your dishwasher, and stopping it from going back out prematurely.
Run a wash cycle on your unit and open the door when the machine is done filling with water. The water level should be at or close to the heating coil. If it doesn’t, you could have an inlet valve problem. A hammering noise during operation is also a sign of inlet valve failure.
Note: be sure that the dishwasher is unplugged and that water to the appliance is turned off (either at the dishwasher location or at the house main) before proceeding.
The inlet valve will be located where the water supply to your dishwasher enters the cabinet. Unscrew the nut that connects the water line to your dishwasher, and remove the line. Remove any screws or nuts that connect the inlet valve bracket to the dishwasher cabinet and lower the valve. Pinch the hose clamp to remove the rubber hose, and unplug any wires attached to the valve.
Whether you’re replacing the valve or simply cleaning the valve assembly, you’ll have to unscrew the brass fitting that connects the water line to the valve. Remove the screws or bolts that secure the valve to the bracket to access the filter screen. Reassemble and reinstall the valve in the reverse order. Be sure to wrap plumber’s Teflon tape around the fitting threads before screwing the fitting into the valve. This will ensure that you don’t have any leaks after adjusting the valve.
We hope this guide helped you get your dishwasher cleaning properly again. If you feel you need professional dishwasher repair service, give us a call.