Dishwasher problems

by Louise

When I use my dishwasher, the dishes never feel clean sometimes I run it twice. How do I thoroughly clean my dishwasher?

q dishwasher, appliance repair, appliances, kitchen design, berries
  40 answers
  • on May 07, 2016
    We now have anew rule.We geta bucket of water, then rinse he disches before we put it in the the disches is clean every time

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 07, 2016
    Try cleaning the dishwasher out by putting orange juice inside and run a full cycle. The citrus aids in naturally removing debris.

  • Jean Myles Jean Myles on May 07, 2016
    Have you ever cleaned the inside of the dishwasher?There is a product called FINISH that cleans the grease and lime scale that accumulates in the hoses and the drain .You put the container in a empty machine on the bottom shelf, then you run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle. Yes it cost a few dollars but you don't have to do it very often. I do it once every 6 month it work very well .. You can also add a package of lemon Kool aid and run the machine empty for a cycle. I have never done it ,but really nothing to lose just the cost of a pkg of Kool aid.

  • William William on May 07, 2016
    You can also use one cup of vinegar and run one light cycle. I do this at least once a month. Also check that there are no food particles blocking any of the holes in the sprayers and that they spin freely.

  • MN Mom MN Mom on May 07, 2016
    I use Finish in each cycle. It keeps the dishwasher clean and also helps with spotting on dishes and glassware. You might try scraping your plates and bowls of leftovers before sending them through the cycle. Maybe your machine is just recycling bits of food instead of cleaning everything as it should.

  • Louise Louise on May 07, 2016

    • See 1 previous
    • Amy Dietz Amy Dietz on Mar 26, 2017
      Okay .... this sounds silly but trust me! Turn your sink faucet on HOT, all the way HOT. Do jot start your dishwasher before the sink faucet gets its hottest water - turn faucet off & start dishwasher immediatel. This insight came from a professional plumber when our neighbor had the same issue , now my DW is 6.5 yrs old & ive cleaned it several times , but I too now have to get my water supplying the DW hot first. The other thing is greasy dishes basically have to be pre-washed with Dawn & rinsed - then added to DW badically just to sanitize. Lastly don't overloa ( stacking bowls too close etc) water has to be able to get between. Try it! Won't hurt 😊

  • Creativeme Creativeme on May 08, 2016
    Make sure to run your garbage disposal before starting the DW. I think some of the DW soaps have changed too. You might want to change out to some different ones and see how they work. Plus the other suggestions.

  • Jemma Dee Jemma Dee on May 08, 2016
    My extremely hard water leaves a powdery grit on my dishes. I use a small amount of Lemi Shine (citric acid) in each load. It also helps to make sure that your liquid rinse agent reservoir is kept filled.

  • Phil a Phil a on May 08, 2016
    Since there are only sprays and no physical wiping of the dishes, really hot water is a prime key to clean dishes. If your dishwasher has a "hi-temp" setting, it helps to use that, since it actually heats the water in the dishwasher to 140° to clean. If the water coming out of the adjacent faucet tap is below 120° , raise the temp on your water heater to at least that. If you feel a film on the inside surfaces of the dishwasher, use AFRESH for Dishwashers once a month, as this has cleaners that clean that film off. (If you have a High Efficiency Clothes Washer, AFRESH once a month keeps clothes smelling clean as it cleans the washing machine of any soap film). We also use 1/4 Cup of Chlorine Bleach every so often, especially when cleaning plastic dishes with tomato / chile stains. If there's any excess water left in the bottom of the dishwasher after draining, the pump may not be working correctly, or the drain line to the Air-Gap might be plugged. If you don't have an Air-Gap in the drain line, you open yourself up to siphoning dirty water from the disposal back into the dishwasher. Make sure nothing is blocking the spinning of the spray arms, make sure any spray arm attached to the roll out tray "plugs" into the water supply socket in the back of the unit. Not knowing how old the machine is, it's hard to say if it's just tired, with weak seals and weak spray. If it doesn't "sound" like it used to when new, with loud spray sounds, it might be an issue with the pump. Dishwashers can be complex machines doing a simple job, but if you ensure the basics are working, you should get clean dishes. Good luck and let us know what you find out. Also, see the related posts below this subject.

  • Linda Johnson Linda Johnson on May 08, 2016
    We always rinse before putting things in our dishwasher, but we had the same problem you did. I looked on youtube and found a video about how to clean a dishwasher. I took it apart and cleaned it. That did the trick! It's easy to do...

  • Louise Louise on May 08, 2016
    don't have garbage disposal

  • Sheenaireland Sheenaireland on May 09, 2016
    I had the exact same problem with really hard water, gritty dishes and stained cutlery and glasses etc. You could buy CLR and run it empty with it. After that use lemi shine in both the pre -rinse compartment and split half your washing powder with the lemi shine in the wash compartment, I have also changed to solely using powders, I was told by the dishwasher service mechanic that they are much more effective and I am much happier than using them, I think they are substantially better than they mini packs or liquids. The dishwasher stays sparkling clean by using the lemishine, as do all the cutlery and dishes! (I have no connection to any companies!)

  • Louise Adkins Louise Adkins on May 09, 2016
    Maybe it is time to replace the dishwasher.

  • Louise Louise on May 09, 2016
    where do u buy clr?

  • Louise Louise on May 09, 2016
    clr,where 2 buy

    • Sheenaireland Sheenaireland on May 10, 2016
      @Louise Hi Louise I picked up CLR in Home Depot but I think our local Walmart sells it too - it was under $5 and it works really good - its a useful thing to have in the cupboard anyway. It removes Calcium Lime Rust.

  • Deanndeb Deanndeb on May 09, 2016
    Have you checked the drain filter? Sometimes they can get clogged and the stuff you're trying wash away just keeps circulating back onto you dishes. Hard water can leave your dishes feeling chalky as well. Run a cycle w/o dishes using 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons of Citric Acid to get the residue out of the DW (I get it bulk on Amazon...much cheaper than the brand name stuff they sell in grocery stores). After that use 1/2 teaspoon in the pre-wash cup and 1 teaspoon in the main wash cup with each load of dishes along with your regular detergent.

  • KellyAnn Clark KellyAnn Clark on May 10, 2016
    I have added vinegar to mine about 1cup. I've just poured it in the bottom also dish cleaning soap where it's goes and start. Hope it helps.

  • Louise Louise on May 10, 2016
    tried that also. thanku

  • Louise Louise on May 11, 2016
    used it. smelled like ir was burning when it finished, should i run again with plain water?

  • Phil a Phil a on May 12, 2016
    How old is your dishwasher? If this issue happened gradually over time it just may be worn out. If it happened all of a sudden, you must have a blockage in one of the spray or drain lines. If it's a newer dishwasher, it might be worth calling an appliance repair shop to check it out. I'm in California and I can get an appliance repair estimate for $40, so you should be able to find something even less. Then you'll at least know what the problem is. It's been almost a week since you reported this issue and it appears you haven't yet resolved it.

  • Louise Louise on May 12, 2016
    thanks, they chg u and and leg here for repair.

  • Louise Louise on May 12, 2016
    i tried the CLR,haven't washed any dishes since i did it.

  • Phil a Phil a on May 13, 2016
    If you've tried everything suggested and still can't find or fix the problem, just call a few repair shops and see how much they charge for an estimate? Then you can decide if it's worth repairing or replacing. Until you find out what's going on, you'll be washing dishes by hand or using extra water. Water is probably cheap in Tennessee, but here in California, it's worth its weight in gold. Sometimes, it's just easier, and cheaper in the end, to call a pro.

  • Sandra Sandra on May 15, 2016
    Are you rinsing your dishes before you load the washer? If it's an older model you have to do that. Sorry, I had to ask. Have you tried using one of the rinse agents. Like Finish? I have a dishwasher that is about 4 years old and I have a problem with the pre-load dispenser. It leaks out of the bottom into the dishwasher. So I just use the one time wash system that it also has in it. No problem. It works very well. I hope you figure it out without spending a bunch of money. It's certainly a GR-R-R-R.

  • Louise Louise on May 15, 2016
    yes, aways rinse.

  • Cynlane55 Cynlane55 on May 15, 2016
    I use baking soda & white vinegar, to remove the soap residue, It also cleans out the sprayers while your doing it. Works great for me. Now I can run with no soap, Just the baking soda & vinegar instead, my dishes sparkle now.

  • Louise Louise on May 16, 2016
    tried that, did not work

  • Phyllis Marsh Phyllis Marsh on May 16, 2016
    Did you check to see if the holes on the spray arms are clogged?

  • Louise Louise on May 16, 2016
    where r they?

    • Phyllis Marsh Phyllis Marsh on May 17, 2016
      @Louise My Maytag has arms that spray out the water. There are little holes that the water comes out of. I know mine had gotten clogged and the dishwasher performed better when we cleaned them.

  • Cynlane55 Cynlane55 on May 17, 2016
    Sorry it did not work. if you have had it for years and never took care of it:; It will take more than once. Use the whole box & whole bottle. " if you don't know where the sprayers are CALL A PLUMBER.

  • Amy Sue Amy Sue on May 17, 2016
    If you have hard water you're going to have a problem with your dishwasher after a while. If your dishwasher is pretty old it may honestly need to be replaced. The dishwasher in the house I moved into did the same thing and I was able to extend the life of it by about two years by doing the following. And to help hard water deposits, you can do this every 2-3 months to help keep it clean. I used plain old white vinegar and poured 2-3 cups in the dishwasher then started the cycle (no soap, please!). Midway through, when the sprayers have been going for a while, stop the cycle and let it sit for two hours. This allows the vinegar to penetrate through hard water deposits, etc. in the sprayers. Then restart it and let it finish. I then ran it again with the the same amount of vinegar but let it run without stopping. Also, you have to check the catch in the bottom for lint, hair, icky stuff and clean it on a regular basis. If it gets clogged your dishes will not clean properly. Be sure you use a good detergent. The cheap ones often leave build up and can really be hard on your washer. I am Miss Frugal but I do use a name brand detergent as it does not cause build up. Lastly, make sure you use a good rinse aid, it helped my dishes immensely and if they start looking icky I check to be sure it's not running low on that. I hope this helps!

  • Louise Louise on May 17, 2016
    what kind if dish washing stuff do u use?

  • Amy Sue Amy Sue on May 19, 2016
    I typically use Cascade though the Walmart comparison brand has done a good job as well. I've tried other brands and for the water we have, Cascade is the only one that has not left any residue in my dishwasher. But a word of caution, I no longer use their lemon type. I wash a lot of old china and glassware on an occasional basis and the lemon type is very hard on these items. I know, I know, I'm not supposed to run them through the dishwasher. But I buy them from everywhere for a vintage rental service and I want to be sure they are clean for my customers. And I use actual Jetdry rinse aid. Good luck!

  • Louise Louise on May 19, 2016
    washed a load last night, still don't feel clean.

  • Louise Louise on May 23, 2016
    can't afford 2 replace it.

  • Phil a Phil a on May 24, 2016
    You might be able to wash clothes in cold water, but you need hot, hot water to clean dishes in a machine. How hot is the water? If your dishwasher is a long way from the water heater and it takes a long time to get hot water to the kitchen sink, you need to run the kitchen sink hot water faucet until you get hot water. Then turn on the dishwasher. Otherwise, you're just using cool or at the best, warm water, which will NOT clean well. Use a thermometer to check the temp. If you can hold your hand under a faucet running hot water, it's no more than in the 120° range, which is the ADA "safe temp" range to prevent scalding for people who might be paralyzed and can't feel temperature. If your dishwasher has a "hi-temp" option, use it as it actually heats the water to a good cleaning temp.

  • Linda Johnson Linda Johnson on May 24, 2016
    Do you use a drying agent like "Jet Dry"?

  • Linda T Linda T on May 25, 2016
    We use Jet dry, which was always wonderful (We too, run the kitchen tap, usually while rinsing, until it's totally hot) However suddenly the knives were coming out dirty. Only the knives, on the side of the load. Didn't understand, but it kept happening. One morning, I woke up suddenly................ light bulb moment! Maybe the holes in the end of the top arm had a blockage !!! Ding, ding, ding, ding ! I got a flash light, tiny crochet hook and tweezers, and sure enough, both end holes were full of what looked like egg shells, only when I tried to pull them, they were not so fragile, more like rubber. it was difficult to get them out, but I stuck to it, and, behold ! the knives are clean once more!

  • Louise Louise on May 25, 2016
    will try the holes.2 clean.

  • Vickie Raymond Vickie Raymond on Mar 18, 2017
    All the answers I am seeing are referencing "hard water" deposits, etc. Perhaps you have VERY "soft" water, and what you are getting is inadequate rinsing, leaving a build up. Our water is so soft, it only requires minimal amounts of any soap/cleaning agent, even when using low-suddsing products. Try running a load of clean dishes, with nothing but vinegar, and check them, again. If it improves, use less product and hottest settings, in the future