Is your dishwasher breaking down more often than usual? Before you leap to replace or repair it consider analyzing how you’ve been using your dishwasher. If you’re committing some of these bad dishwasher habits, a few simple changes could have your machine up and running in a snap.
Overloading your Dishwasher
You only want to run your dishwasher when it’s completely full, right? It’s a line of reasoning that makes sense, but you need to be careful that you aren’t overloading your dishwasher. When the dishwasher is overloaded and the dishes are crammed and crowded, there’s no way for everything to get sprayed and clean. Furthermore, overloading your dishwasher can cause nasty leaks. If water from inside the appliance is diverted from the tank bottom, it can splash out from under the door, leaving you with a watery mess. Determine the line between full and too full and you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient your dishwasher becomes.
Skipping the Pre-Scrub Ritual
Yes, your dishwasher is specifically designed to clean dishes, but that doesn’t mean you can leave food caked on those dishes and still expect them to come out squeaky clean. Excess food scraps can get into washer arms and pump screens, eventually causing your appliance to break down.
The amount of pre-cleaning you’ll need to do will depend on the type of dishwasher that you own. At the very least you should scrape food off of plates and other dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.
Just be sure not to rinse too much. Alan Johnson, owner of an appliance service company in Tempe, Arizona cautions, “If you wash your dishes off completely before putting them in the dishwasher, the detergent has nothing to attach itself to, so it ends up on the walls, racks and spray arms. This can cause cloudy glasses and film left on plates.”
Using Too Much Soap
More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to dishwasher detergent. An excess of soap can lead to buildup inside of the appliance, damaging the motor assembly and spray arms. It’s also important to use detergents that are specifically formulated for dishwasher use. For example, hand washing dish soap produces foam and suds that can cause leaking.
Not Running Hot Water Before Running the dishwasher
The temperature of the water entering your dishwasher has an impact on the appliance’s performance. Hotter water is key because the higher temperatures help break down food particles and other grime on your dishes.
Consider running hot water from your sink before you start your dishwasher up. This small change can have a surprisingly large impact.
Washing Things That Aren’t Dishwasher Safe
Just because you use something to prepare or consume food doesn’t mean it’s dishwasher safe. Here’s a list of eleven things that should never go into your dishwasher:
- Cast Iron
- Good Knives
- Wooden Utensils
- Nonstick Pans
- Copper and Pewter Items
- Soft and Hard Plastic
- Disposable Aluminum
- Gold-Plated Dishware
- Insulated Mugs
- Anything with Adhesives
Never Cleaning Your Dishwasher
Even though your dishwasher is for cleaning dishes, it still needs some cleaning of its own. If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning dishes as well as it once did, it may just need some TLC. Tackling this task on your own will take some time, but it’s not all that difficult. For some tips read through this post. You’ll learn how to remove your dishwasher’s spray arms and unclog them, as well as how to get the inside of your appliance squeaky clean.
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