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  • Writer's pictureMy Handyman of Savannah

Tips on Maintaining Your Dishwasher


You would think that using a dishwasher would be one of the easiest ways to keep your dishes clean. After all, you don’t have to spend time scrubbing each dish and you don’t have to hand-wash each item either. Instead, simply load up the racks, press start and let the machine do the work for you. It sounds so simple, but keeping your dishwasher running smoothly is not as easy as you might think. The maintenance process may seem a little time-consuming at first glance, but these tips and tricks will help you to get the most out of your appliance and avoid common problems in advance. Run the Dishwasher Before Using It You may be tempted to load up your dishwasher with dirty dishes, but hold up! Before you start running cycles with dirty dishes, you need to go through the start-up process. The first step is to run a water cycle without any dishes inside the machine. This ensures that any deposits that may have built up in the machine since the last time it was in use will be removed. This might seem like a small step, but it is an important one. Without cleaning the inside of your dishwasher, you run the risk of dirty dishes coming out of the machine with a foul odor and spots. If you’re unsure when your dishwasher was last used, it is recommended that you run a cycle without any dishes inside the dishwasher before you begin your regular cleaning routine. Clean Out the Drain and Filter The drain and filter are one of the most important parts of the dishwasher. If any of the parts break or get clogged, it impacts the efficiency of the machine’s water usage. The filter is usually found near the bottom of the dishwasher near the drain. You can use a wet/dry vacuum or a pair of pliers to remove any debris that has built up in the filter. For the drain, use a long screwdriver or wrench to clear out any food that may have clogged the line. Avoid using a brush, as bristles can break off and clog the filter. A clean and unclogged drain and filter will make your dishwasher more efficient. Add Detergent at the Bottom You may be tempted to throw in a handful of detergent at the beginning of the cycle, but you should actually add it to the bottom rack of the machine. Detergent is designed to be in contact with your dishes throughout the entire cycle. If you place it at the top of the machine and then load your dishes on top, they may not come into contact with the detergent at all. At the bottom of the machine, the detergent will be less likely to fall out of the machine and onto the floor. Rinse Dishes Before Loading This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is often overlooked. Before loading your dishes into the machine, run them under hot water to remove any food particles or grease. If you don’t rinse your dishes before loading them, this can clog the machine, cause odors and result in an unbalanced load. Dishwasher detergent is designed to get your dishes clean, but it washes with water that is at a certain temperature. If there are particles of food on your dishes, they will prevent the water from reaching the right temperature and your dishes will come out dirty. Install the Correct Type of Dishwasher Filter When you install the wrong filter, it can clog the piping of your machine and cause a host of problems. If you install a screen filter in a machine designed for a paper filter, the screen will clog the pipe and cause a back-up of water and food in your machine. This could lead to many problems, such as an inefficient clean and a foul odor. If you install a paper filter in a machine designed for a screen filter, the paper filter could clog the pipe and cause a back-up of water and food in your machine. This could lead to many problems, such as an inefficient clean and a foul odor. Don’t Use too Much Dishwasher Detergent It is easy to throw in a handful of detergent and feel like you are doing everything right. Stop! You only need a small amount of detergent. Overloading the machine with detergent can cause the machine to become unbalanced and result in an inefficient clean. If your dishes are coming out dirty or you notice an unpleasant odor, it could be caused by too much detergent. Conclusion It is easy to think that loading your dishes into a dishwasher is as easy as pressing a button. However, there is a lot more to it than that. Dishwashers need to be regularly maintained and you should follow these tips to get the most out of your appliance and avoid common problems.

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