Getting the dishes done is one of the main chores of every household. We need clean dishes for every meal and washing the dishes is a task that has to be done right.
If your dishwasher is not getting the dishes clean, there could be a number of reasons why.
Here are a few quick steps you can follow to try and troubleshoot the issue yourself:
Possible Cause: Incorrect Detergent
If you have hard water or often wash heavily-soiled dishes the detergent you’re using may be why your dishwasher isn’t getting your dishes clean.
Check your owner’s manual for recommendations on detergent type. Sometimes gels and tablets dissolve too quickly, leaving much of the cycle without the necessary detergent. A high-quality powdered detergent may be needed in this case.
Hard water can be an issue when trying to wash your dishes. Hard water simply means that your water has a lot of dissolved minerals. Not only can these minerals deposit on your dishes, leaving an unpleasant film, but it can also make it more difficult for the dishes to get clean.
If you have hard water, adding more detergent to the wash cycle can aid the cleaning process. It may also help to use a detergent specially formulated for hard water.
Lastly, be sure to clean the detergent dispenser cup properly to ensure it releases the required amount of detergent during the wash cycle.
Possible Cause: Clogged or Dirty Spray Arm
To get your dishes clean, the spray arm in your dishwasher sprays the dishes with hot water and detergent.
If your dishes aren’t clean when the wash cycle is complete the spray arm may be clogged or dirty. If it is clogged, its function is compromised.
To check the spray arm first switch off the dishwasher and take off the dishwasher arms. Some spray arms will simply pull out, but for others, you may need to unscrew the cap holding it in place. Refer to your owner’s manual if you are unsure how to remove the spray arm. If you no longer have your manual, you may be able to find a copy online.
Once the spray arm is removed, clean it thoroughly with soap and water. Run water through the holes of the spray to ensure they are clear. Once cleaned, replace the spray arm.
Possible Cause: Faulty Food Chopper
Before loading your dishwasher with dishes, make sure the dishes are rinsed lightly and remove any food scraps from the dishes. The dishwasher should be able to clean the dishes easily and consistently if they are pre-rinsed. You could also check to see if the food chopper is functioning normally.
The food chopper chops up the food particles into tiny bits, so they can easily pass through the drain. If the food isn’t chopped finely, the drain could be clogged with debris and this could cause the dirty water to recirculate within the dishwasher during the wash.
Inspect the drain portion to make sure the dirty water is draining properly. If you find debris on the dishes after a wash, check to see if the food chopper is not damaged.
Possible Cause: Faulty Heating Element
Hot water is necessary to properly clean dishes, usually about 140°F (60°C). At the bottom of the dishwasher, there is a heating element heats the water to the desired temperature according to your selection, however, if the water coming into the dishwasher is not hot enough the heating element may not be able to sufficiently heat the water to clean your dishes.
Your hot water heater should be set to between 120°F (49°C) to 150°F (65°C). If it is not, adjust the temperature on your water heater.
If the water heater is at the correct temperature, open the dishwasher mid-cycle and test the temperature of the water using a food thermometer. If the water is not 140°F (60°C) or higher, there may be an issue with the heating element.
Possible Cause: Insufficient Water
Another possible reason your dishes aren’t getting clean may be that the dishwasher isn’t getting enough water. If the dishwasher isn’t getting enough water, it won’t be able to sustain the water pressure necessary to remove food and debris from the dishes.
To check the water supply:
Start a wash cycle. The dishwasher will start to fill up with water. Once the machine starts the spray cycle, open the door and check if the water has reached the level of the heating coil.
If not, check the inlet valve to ensure it is not clogged. Next, check the float valve is operating without any obstruction.
Other reasons you may not be getting enough water in your dishwasher include:
Clogged Inlet Screen
The inlet screen prevents food and other debris from clogging the machinery of the dishwasher. Buildup can block water from flowing through the screen. If your dishwasher takes a long time to fill, it may be the result of a clogged inlet screen.
To clean the screen it will be necessary to access the water inlet valve, disconnect it from the machine, locate the inlet screen and remove it for cleaning.
Typically this repair requires the services of a trained professional to avoid leaks.
Damaged Inlet Valve
If you notice a hammering noise made by the dishwasher, it may mean the inlet valve is damaged and needs to be replaced. Other symptoms may include a dishwasher that is slow to fill or not filling at all.
Plugged Water Delivery Tube
The water delivery tube could be the cause of problems if your dishwasher has an upper spray arm. The water delivery tube is usually made of plastic and supplies water from the pump to the upper spray arm or the middle spray arm depending on your model.
Check and make sure the water delivery tube is properly aligned with the spray arms and there is an unobstructed flow of water to the spray arms. In certain models of dishwashers, there could be a filter in the water delivery tube. Inspect the filter and make sure it is not clogged.
If you need additional assistance, It Is Fixed can help. We offer same and next-day appointments in Atlanta and the greater Atlanta area. Our specialists are available seven days a week and are experts in dealing with dishwasher issues Contact us today!