Is your dishwasher failing to do its intended job of cleaning your dishes? It's a common complaint, but it's one you might not need to call out an expert to rectify. Before you pay for a dishwasher repair person, try these simple tips.
Five Common Causes of Unclean Dishes
Unclean dishes at the end of the wash cycle can often be caused by incorrect usage of your dishwasher. Check the following to see if they remedy the problem:
- Check your instruction manual to make sure you're loading your dishes in the way your machine was designed to take them. Not loading them properly can result in water not reaching all of your dirty dishes.
- Make sure you're not overloading your dishwasher. Getting all your dishes washed in one load may seem like a good idea until you're having to run the dishwasher twice to get them clean.
- Make sure you're scraping your dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher. You don't need to rinse them, but you should remove any scraps of food.
- Make sure nothing is obstructing the spray arm. This is likely to be cutlery or dishes that fall down from the top basket or items that are too tall in the bottom basket.
- Make sure you're using the correct dishwasher detergent. Only recommended dishwasher cleaning solutions should be used.
If you've tried the above and you're sure these aren't the cause, read on.
Remove and Clean the Spray Arm
A blocked spray arm is a common cause of dishwashers not washing properly. This arm is what the water that cleans your dishes comes through. If it's clogged, water flowing through it can be reduced, resulting in dirty dishes at the end of a cycle.
The mechanisms are usually the same for all dishwashers. However, you should consult the instructions booklet that came with your dishwasher to find out how to remove the spray arm on your make of machine. If you don't have the instructions to hand, you can try the following.
- Remove the wire baskets from the dishwasher to give you access to the arm. There may be caps at the end of the runners to keep the baskets from coming right out. You'll need to remove these before removing the baskets.
- Turn the cap of the arm clockwise, then remove the arm from the machine.
- Check the arm for anything that might be blocking the holes.
- Use a pipe cleaner to poke through any blockages you find. If need be, use a pair of tweezers to pull out any obstacles that aren't budging.
- Hold the large opening at the top of the arm under your tap and run water through it. You'll know that you've removed all obstacles if the water runs through freely.
- Reattach the arm -- give it a spin to make sure it's on properly.
- Put on a load to test that the dishwasher's working.