What to Do If Your Dishwasher Isn’t Cleaning Your Dishes

dishwasher isn't cleaning

Everyone who has a dishwasher knows they are a huge time-saver and can save you from spending time at the sink that you’d rather be spending anywhere else. But when you unload the dishes and find that many of them need to be re-washed, you probably start wondering if it might be time for an upgrade.

When your dishwasher isn’t cleaning your dishes properly, it doesn’t always mean that it’s time to toss it and buy a new one. There are a few different causes for inefficiencies and some of them can be easily remedied by you. Here is what you should check for if you’ve consistently noticed that your dishes are not getting thoroughly cleaned. 

Why your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes well

It needs to be cleaned

Yes, your dishwasher’s job is to clean your dishes, but it needs to be cleaned as well. The interior of your washer should be clear of food bits, grease, soap scum, mineral deposits, and other materials. To clean it, you can run a cycle with three cups of white vinegar in the bottom and then wipe down the interior.

If your washer was made after 2010, it probably has a removable filter that needs to be cleaned periodically. It’s located below the racks and usually has a twist-off cap. Just remove it, rinse it under hot water, and gently clean any food or debris from it with a soft brush.

The spray arm is clogged 

The spray arm is the mechanism that cleans your dishes, so if the jets get clogged, it can reduce pressure and result in not-so-clean dishes. Some dishwashers have arms that snap off to allow you to clean them, while others need to have a screw removed before they can be taken out of the machine. Once you have the spray arm off, clean any clogs wit ha toothbrush and rinse it thoroughly with hot water.

Your water temp is too low

If your water temp is below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not enough to get your dishes clean. Some models have a heat-booster built-in, but if yours doesn’t, you can adjust your hot water heater. The other option is to run the kitchen faucet for about a minute before you run the dishwasher to make sure enough hot water gets into the machine at the beginning when it matters most.

Detergent problems 

The detergent is what is ultimately responsible for cleaning your dishes. If it’s not getting to the dishes at the right time, you’re using the wrong kind, or you’re using too much or too little, it can cause issues. Check to make sure the spring isn’t jammed in your detergent dispenser door. If it seems sticky, clean the dispenser and springs with hot soapy water and a little vinegar. If it’s actually broken, you need to replace it. Always buy high-quality detergent and don’t overfill the dispenser (or use the handy pods for ideal dosage). You can also add a final rinse agent if you find that your dishes are coming out spotty.

When to call a professional for dishwasher repair

None of these seem to be the problem? You may have more complicated issues, such as inadequate water pressure or a failing inlet valve, that need to be fixed by a professional like those at ASAP Plumbing & Appliance Repair. An expert can also tell you if it’s time to give up on your current dishwasher and replace it with a new one. No one wants to rewash their dishes after they’ve already been through the dishwasher. If you’re noticing that your dishwasher just isn’t doing its job lately, try one of the above tips or give our team a call so we can help.

It’s Spring! Time to Clean Your Appliances

time to clean your appliances

With spring just around the corner, most of us have spring cleaning on our minds. Are you making plans to clean carpets, clear out gutters, or do a general deep clean of your home? If so, make sure you add spring cleaning your appliances to the list. Refreshing your appliances when the weather warms up ensures that your home is fresh, efficient, and ready to take on everything the warm weather brings! Here are some helpful tips for spring cleaning common appliances.


The oven gets a lot of use during the cold months when hot, hearty meals always sound good and when it’s too cold to grill. That means it’s usually pretty dirty by the time spring rolls around. While cleaning the oven is usually no one’s idea of a good time, you can make it easier by using a combination of baking soda and vinegar as your (natural) cleaning solution. Before you use that, though, run the self-cleaning cycle if you have one, then scrape out all the dried food that you can. Next, sprinkle baking soda throughout the oven and then spray over it with the vinegar. Let this bubble and soak in for approximately twenty minutes, then repeat the scraping. Finish by wiping with a clean rag.


The other appliance that tends to get heavy use over the winter is the microwave oven. To make it easier to clean off all that cooked-on debris, try filling a glass or other heatproof container with a cup of water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. Microwave it until half of it has evaporated, then let it sit in the microwave with the door closed for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the container with oven mitts, then use a dishrag to wipe out the interior.

Garbage Disposal

Whether it’s due to putting heavy winter meals down the disposal or holiday house guests who aren’t sure what can go down the sink and what can’t, the garbage disposal is a common appliance that could use some attention come spring. A dirty disposal may not work as efficiently as a clean one and it can also start to smell. To freshen it up, put some ice cubes and salt down the disposal and run some water. If you feel your disposal isn’t working correctly, it’s usually best to get a professional to come out and have a look.

Washing Machine and Dryer

Washing all those winter coats and other heavy clothes can take a toll on your washer and dryer. Residue from the detergent and mold can build up over the winter months and it’s important to clean them thoroughly once spring arrives. Start by washing out the detergent and softener dispensers with soapy water, then run through a hot cycle with a cup of bleach. When that’s finished, run the same cycle with two cups of vinegar.

For your dryer, take out the lint trap and vacuum out all the dirt and debris. Then replace the trap and wipe down the interior of the dryer with a rag and an all-purpose cleaner.


The fridge is a common appliance that can get very dirty, very quickly – especially if you aren’t cleaning out expired food regularly. The first order of business is to throw out all the expired and moldy food as well as the food that you know your family won’t eat. Then make sure the temp in your freezer is less than zero degrees Fahrenheit and the fridge is under 40. Finally, grab that all-purpose cleaner and wipe down all the interior walls, shelves, and rubber gaskets. If it’s been a long time since you’ve given the fridge a good cleaning, you might want to remove all the contents so you can get to corners and can remove any shelving to get between cracks and crevices before putting everything back in.

As you’re preparing to spring clean your home, don’t forget to give your appliances some love. As you’re cleaning them, keep an eye out for any damage or signs of problems so you can get a professional appliance repair person like those at ASAP Plumbing & Appliance to get them working again before the season changes.