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.

5 Biggest Plumbing Myths

5 plumbing myths

You’ve probably heard plenty of advice when it comes to DIY-ing your own plumbing from well-meaning friends, neighbors, or others who like to diagnose their home’s plumbing problems. While some advice can be very handy and save you some money and headaches, other pieces of advice are based on common myths and can cause problems if you follow it. Here are five of the biggest plumbing myths and the “real deal” when it comes to your pipes.

1. Lemons will clean your garbage disposal.

You ever heard that putting lemon peels down your disposal will clean it? It’s not true. While lemons will likely make your disposal smell better, putting the peels into it can actually cause a clog and the acidity in them can erode the metal parts in your disposal. You’re better off dealing with smells by using a combination of ice cubes and salt which remove food particles and keep everything clean.

2. If water is going down a drain, it’s not clogged.

Though it’s always a good sign when water flows down your drains, that doesn’t mean there’s not a clog present. Slow-draining water can also be the sign of a clog and some clogs have no visible red flags at all because they occur further down in the pipe. To prevent clogs, use filters to catch large particles and remember to keep grease, eggshells, and thick or hard materials out of your disposal.

3. You can flush anything marked “flushable”.

You’ve probably seen wipes and other healthcare items marked “flushable”, but you still should be flushing them down your toilet. Depending on the shape of your sewer system, these can gather and cause large masses of non-biodegradable waste and cause major problems. Other flushing no-nos include cat litter, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products. Play it safe and don’t flush anything except human waste and small amounts of toilet paper.

4. Boiling water dissolves grease

Think you’re safe putting grease down your disposal as long as you pour boiling water in with it? Think again. Running water down your disposal does not help break up solid or bulky foods and boiling water may actually cause any grease to harden and cause even more problems. Avoid pouring grease down your disposal and don’t put waste like oatmeal, eggshells, or rice in there, either. If you do suspect some undesirable materials have gotten in there, you may want to call a plumber to professionally clean your pipes.

5. Plumbing fixtures can be cleaned with regular soap.

Plumbing fixtures need regular maintenance to prevent clogs and leaks and to enhance their appearance. However, traditional hand soap can damage some fixtures such as those made of brass or stainless steel. Brass fixtures can be cleaned with lemons and baking soda and there are plenty of stainless steel cleaning products on the market to tend to your new fridge or other fixtures. If you don’t know if a fixture can be cleaned with a certain product, test it on a spot that’s not visible.

There are plenty of myths out there when it comes to plumbing. Knowing what’s true and what’s myth can help you keep your pipes clean and your water running freely! If you think you have a clog or other problems with your plumbing, call ASAP for assistance.