If you struggle with your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common problems people face with their dishwashers. While sometimes due to an inferior machine, in many cases, your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes can be resolved by finding the underlying issue. In many cases, you can fix this problem yourself, while in others, you may need the help of a home appliance technician to get your dishwasher to clean your dishes properly again.
Here are some common reasons why you struggle with your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes and what you can do in order to fix the issue.
#1. Your Dishwasher Is Dirty
What? But it’s your dishwasher’s job to clean – how can it get dirty? This is a common mistake people make with appliances that clean: assuming that they will also clean themselves in the process. The truth is that if you have a dishwasher not cleaning your dishes, it could very well be because your dishwasher itself is dirty, due to the buildup of food deposits, grease, and soap scum inside.
If your dishwasher is dirty, you can run a wash cycle with 3 cups of white vinegar poured into the bottom of the machine. This will remove the buildup and clean your machine, allowing it to do its job properly once more. Cleaning your dishwasher can even help your dishes smell better once they come out!
#2. The Spray Arm Is Clogged
Your dishwasher’s spray arm is the spinning bit at the bottom of the machine that shoots water through small holes, also called jets, which helps to clean your dishes. If you have a dishwasher not cleaning your dishes, check to see if any jets are clogged up, as this will impact the water pressure of the machine.
You can try spinning the spray arms to see whether or not they’re rotating properly. If there’s something blocking the path, remove it. You can remove the spray arm and clean it with dish soap and a soft brush, use a toothpick to unclog any clogged holes, and then rinse it off with hot water. Your owner’s manual should tell you how to remove the spray arm of your specific make and model.
#3. You’re Using The Wrong Detergent
Another common reason for your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes properly is using either a poor quality detergent, or too much or too little of your detergent. Your dishwasher’s manual will tell you how much detergent it recommends you use. Whether or not a detergent works for you depends on the hardness of your water, as what works wonders for one person can do nothing at all for another. You’ll want to test out different detergents to find one that works for you. Your manual should tell you the type it recommends for your dishwasher.
You may also consider using a rinse aid, which helps your dishes dry quicker and helps keep spots from forming on them.
#4. You’re Not Loading Your Dishwasher Correctly
It’s true: there is a right way and a wrong way to load your dishwasher. If you struggle with your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes, consult with its manual, as the manual will tell you how it recommends you load your dishwasher. Loading your dishwasher properly can be a night and day difference in the cleanliness of your dishes when they come out.
#5. You’re Not Rinsing Properly Before Loading
You can both not rinse your dishes enough and rinse your dishes too much prior to putting them in the dishwasher, both of which can cause your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes. Dishwashers can clean small amounts of food particles from your dishes, but they can’t clean hard, stuck on there pieces, or large amounts. Alternatively, if you rinse your dishes too much, the cleaning agents in your detergent won’t attack the debris on your dishes, which can cause them not to be as well cleaned.
#6. The Filter’s Dirty
Your dishwasher relies on its filter in order to use clean water to clean your dishes. If the filter is clogged or needs replacement, then this causes your dishwasher to use dirty water, which results in dirty dishes. You can remove the filter, run it under hot water, soak it in vinegar, then scrub it with a soft brush, rinse it off, and reinstall it. Your filter should be cleaned approximately every month or every two months.
#7. The Water Temperature Isn’t High Enough
Your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes can also happen if your water temperature is too low, as it needs hot water in order to dissolve food particles. Depending on your dishwasher, you may be able to adjust the temperature right there on the dishwasher, or you may need to go to your water heater to do this.
#8. You Have Hard Water
Hard water is water that is full of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. This can leave residue on your dishes. If you have hard water, a water softener can soften it by filtering out those minerals, leaving your dishes sparkling again.
#9. The Inlet Valve Is Broken
Another reason for your dishwasher not cleaning your dishes is problems with its inlet valve. The inlet valve is what lets water flow into your dishwasher. If it’s broken, you’ll likely hear a hammering sound when you try to run your dishwasher. While you can try to replace your inlet valve yourself, this job can be quite complicated, so it’s best to leave it to a professional.
Is Your Dishwasher Not Cleaning Your Dishes?
These are but a few of the common reasons why your dishwasher isn’t cleaning your dishes. If you’ve done everything you can and your dishwasher still isn’t working properly, VanderDoes can help! We offer dishwasher repair services that will get your dishwasher up and running again. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a service.