Dishwasher not cleaning properly?

Published

It's annoying when dishes come out of the dishwasher dirty. Here Matt explains some reasons your dishwasher may be letting you down, and how you can get it sorted with minimum fuss.

Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Matt from eSpares.

I just love my dishwasher - anything that saves me having to wash up by hand is worth its weight in gold. But isn't it really annoying when the dishes come out and they haven't cleaned properly. You've still got to wash them by hand then. Let me show you one or two things you can do to avoid that happening.

Let's start by looking at detergents and so on. We've got salt, detergent and rinse aid here. Now, why do we put salt in a dishwasher? Well, it's to soften the water because these detergents are only really effective when the water is soft. You should only ever use dishwasher salt - if you use table salt then that could damage the machine itself.

Let's have a look inside. If I just take the bottom rack out of the way there, this is the water softener here and the salt just goes into there. People often want to know how much salt you should put in. Well, you can't really overfill it, keep going until it comes up to the top. A bit of water might spill over, but don't worry about that. If you keep that topped up nicely, that'll keep the detergent working well. Only ever top up with salt when you're about to use the machine because you don't want salt sitting around here where it might corrode the bottom of the dishwasher.

When it comes to the detergents themselves, there's lots of choice. That's a standard powder, and then there are lots of these all-in-one, five-in-one type tablets and gels. They very often say "contains salt action". But if you're in a hard water area, it's really important that you add salt to the water softener in the bottom of the machine as well.

These also typically tend to contain rinse aid. If you're using a normal powder detergent, then you'll need to add a separate rinse aid. The rinse aid helps the water run off the glassware and crockery really quickly so you avoid these streaky limescale stains like we've got here. The other good thing about adding rinse aid yourself is that most machines nowadays allow you to vary the amount of rinse aid that's released. So, if you look under this rinse aid cap here, if you've got streaky glasses you can turn that up and add a little bit more. If you start getting a blue film or milkiness then that's probably too much rinse aid and you can turn it down.

Do try and remember to check your filters regularly. These can often get gunged up with bits of food. They come away fairly easily - just give them a good rinse under the tap so that they're nice and clean. And if there's any damage to them, they're pretty inexpensive and really easy to replace.

When you're filling the dishwasher, make the best use of the space you've got available. This spray arm has got to be able to spin around, so if there's anything blocking that then nothing in the top basket is really going to get clean. If you are short of space like we are here, then on most dishwashers you can actually change the height of the top basket fairly easily. There we go, that's much better, there a lot more space for that now to spin round and get our plates in there.

Check the bottom of your cutlery basket - make sure you haven't got any holes in there. If you have, then your cutlery is going to poke through and stop that bottom spray arm from spinning.

The final thing that's going to stop you from getting clean dishes is damaged parts on your dishwasher. Limescale's normally the biggest culprit there. If you run through a service wash every month or two with one of these limescale and detergent remover sachets (just empty that out into the bottom of the machine, run it through with no dishes in there, but on its hottest setting) that'll help to break down some of that limescale.

Where you have got damaged parts, they can be replaced. Almost everything on a dishwasher can be replaced: the baskets, the wheels, the cutlery basket, the spray arms, the filters, the detergent dispenser. And you can find all of those parts on the eSpares website, where you'll also find some really great videos where we show you how to fit them.

Thanks for watching.