What to Do if Your Dishwasher Won’t Clean Dishes

If your dishwasher isn’t washing or drying dishes properly, the problem could range from simple to complex. Before you start diagnosing, make sure that the water your machine is using is hot enough. Temperature is critical to the efficiency of your dishwasher.

Check your hot water availability

Before starting your dishwasher, run the hot water faucet at the kitchen sink for a few minutes. This will ensure that, by the time the dishwashing cycle begins, hotter water is flowing. Using hotter water in the dishwasher enables the dishwashing detergent to dissolve more fully and improves washing and drying efficiency, so that dishes are cleaner and dryer. If the dishwasher continues to leave dishes wet cycle after cycle, a heating element might be broken. 

Look closely for white residue or water marks

Keeping dishwasher rinse aid levels topped off will help ensure that dishes dry properly, without water spots. This is especially important if you have hard water or if your water contains heavy mineral content. If the problem persists, follow the manufacturer guidelines regarding rinse aid use. If the problem continues, call our professional team for assistance.

Examine your dishes for scratches

Dishwashing detergent contains enzymes whose purpose is to break down food particles on dishes; if there are no food particles for the enzymes to “attack,” the enzymes may etch into the glassware instead. (Even the most inexpensive, basic types of glassware are susceptible to this problem.) As a result, we suggest that you not pre-wash dishes unless it’s necessary to remove really tough, baked-on grime. 


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