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09.Troubleshooting

Problems with your dishwasher?

Problems with dishwashers can be frustrating because you can’t see what’s going on in the dishwasher. Often it depends on what you’re loading into it, detergent, rinse aid, how dishes are loaded, and the type of soil that’s on your dishes. As always, check your instruction manual from the manufacturer first to see whether they list any troubleshooting options, or try some of the suggestions below. Most maintenance such as cleaning and troubleshooting require the dishwasher to be powered off.

Noise
Installation
Dishes aren’t clean
Dishes aren’t dry
Spots or detergent film
Stainless steel
Smells and cleaning
Water issues
Touch controls stop working

Noise

Dishwashers can be noisy, ranging at the highest levels between 35dB and 56dB - that is, between the volume of a whispered conversation to a normal level conversation. The noise will range between different wash and rinse cycles. If you’re hearing really loud noises coming from the dishwasher, it’s likely that some plates or other items are bumping against each other or that something is loose within the cabinet. Make sure that plates and glasses are secure in the racks. Some dishwashers come with special devices to lock items in more securely.

Noises can also be caused by spray arms not rotating, so pause the dishwasher to check the arms can freely spin and no plates are stopping them from rotating. Some dishwashers also come with sound-proofing material that should be installed prior to use; it usually looks like foam or cloth attached to a plate.

Installation

Most manufacturers are going to recommend getting this done by a licensed professional.

Dishes aren’t clean

Detergent: Too much, too little, and detergent that’s too old can have an effect on how clean the dishes are. It’s worth remembering that, particularly if your water hardness might affect the amount of detergent you need (as well as salt for your dispenser if required). Check the manual for precise dosage requirements.

Loading: Wash only items that are dishwasher safe. Depending on your load, you may need to use a program that’s more intensive than normal. Hard, baked-on dirt can be difficult for dishwashers to remove, so experiment with the other programs to see if they can improve results. In extreme cases, you may need to soak your pots or pans prior to loading into the dishwasher. Where you place your dishes matters; do your best to make sure they avoid shadowing each other, preventing access of detergent and water to soiled areas. Leaning plates against each other will also create contact points for water and soil to accumulate. If you can, adjust the basket tines (the vertical spikes that support your dishes) to accommodate each plate without touching another. Instructions manuals will often have recommendations for the best places to put common items. For instance, many dishwasher manuals recommend the lower basket for pots and pans. Small, light items can bounce around from the pressure of the spray arms during a wash and prevent either the filter from working when they get lodged in it, or the spray arms.

Filter: Every dishwasher has at least one filter which needs to be periodically cleaned to get rid of some dirt; check the filters to see they are clean and make sure they are fitted correctly when replacing, as an incorrectly fitted filter can be the cause of dirty dishes.

Spray arms: Check that the spray arms can rotate freely within the cabinet and that no plates or long utensils are stopping their action. Some dishwashers allow you to remove the arms to make sure nothing is blocking the holes for water to spray through. Those that cannot be removed can have remaining parts of soil removed with a thin pointed object.

Water: Dishwashers often specify the water pressure required to operate effectively. Check to see that your water pressure meets the specifications.

Dishes aren’t dry

Opening the door a little immediately after a program stops will aid drying, as will making sure the dishwasher is fully loaded (more thermal mass, more drying ability). Plastic doesn’t retain heat, so will not aid drying. It can also be quite light and flip during washing, which will then fill with water. Some dishwashers have options for drying that may improve drying, but will use more energy. The rinse aid setting may need to be adjusted, or refilled. How you load can also affect drying performance. Cups, glasses, pots, bowls or mugs with deep recesses need to be loaded on an angle so water can drain out rather than accumulate.

Spots or a detergent film

If you are seeing spots on glasses or a film of detergent on plates, try adjusting your rinse aid setting which aids to getting rid of these problems. Check the rinse aid setting of your instruction manual. Too much rinse aid can cause streaks or stains and too little means water won’t sheet off the dishes as well as possible. Lipsticks and tea can also be difficult to remove; so experiment with programs, or wipe off prior to cleaning. If you place glasses so they lean against each other, they may develop a staining point where they touch – there is also the possibility they may break from knocking against each other.

Stainless steel

See our page on these items. Some food items (mustard, vinegar, lemon, salt, and mayonnaise, for example) can leave permanent spots on cutlery if left on cutlery for a long time. If you are going to leave items for a long time prior to cleaning, minimise this possibility by scraping off as much as possible. Black or gray marks can be created from putting aluminium items in the dishwasher.

Smells and cleaning

Periodically cleaning the filter will help to maintain the dishwasher. Some dishwashers have both coarse and fine filters, so remember to clean both. It’s also a good idea to wipe over the seals of the dishwasher with a damp cloth and in any corners where dirt and grime can accumulate. Using a higher temperature program once a month can also aid in getting rid of any smells, and some dishwashers come with a cleaning program. You can also try running a normal program with detergent but without loading the dishwasher. Using any abrasive cleaners, solvents or scouring cloths on the dishwasher, internally or externally, is not recommended.

Water

If there is water left over in the dishwasher after a wash, there are a couple of things you can check: that the filter is not blocked, that it's locked into its appropriate place, and that the pump area is not blocked by any debris. Also check to see that the drainage hose is not blocked and that there are no kinks in the drainage hose.

If the dishwasher is not filling with water, check the water inlet tap to see if it’s turned on and that it is not blocked or restricted with lime scale – often this will have a filter as well so make sure this is cleaned periodically under running water. Dishwashers are sensitive to water pressure; very low water pressure will mean it may not fill with water. Check with your local water supplier.

Touch controls stop working

Some dishwashers come with touch controls requiring only a slight touch to activate. If these stop functioning, it may be that the touch controls have been touched too soon after opening. They may need to be wiped over with a damp cloth as they are too dirty and no longer recognise touch. It could also be that the child lock controls have been activated and need to be deactivated. Consult your manual for the correct sequence to deactivate child lock controls.
 
 
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