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Doc’s Guide to Keeping Your Dishwasher Running Smoothly

Have you ever taken a bowl out of the cupboard only to find it isn’t actually clean? It’s unpleasant and frustrating, after all, what’s a dishwasher good for if it isn’t doing its job?

With some maintenance, cleaning, and tips for running your dishwasher, you can boost your machine’s cleaning power. As an added bonus, keeping your machine clean and well-maintained will ensure a longer lifespan.

  • Use a full load, but don’t overcrowd your machine. If you run your dishwasher when it’s only half full, you’ll be wasting water, detergent, and energy. But if you try to cram every last dish into the dishwasher to avoid washing anything by hand, you’re more likely to end up with unclean dishes. In particular, keep your eyes peeled for dishes that are tightly pressed together. You want to make sure there’s enough room for water and air to flow between the dishes throughout the cycle.
  • Do a little pre-washing, especially if you’re using shorter settings. Many people opt for shorter settings to save time and water. On shorter settings, it’s important that you scrape off bits of food beforehand. Depending on your washing machine, it’s likely that pre-washing will be necessary on normal or long settings, too. It’s important to note that most modern dishwashers actually sense soil levels changing in the water. If you have a newer model, make sure to scrape food off your dishes, but don’t rinse them. Rinsing can interfere with this sensing mechanism.
  • Keep a clean machine. An easy way to clean most of your dishwasher is to put a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher and run an empty cycle. However, there are still parts you have to clean by hand. Scrub off any food or gunk on the dishwasher seals every few months, and check the water trap under the lower rack. Again, vinegar is good for cleaning these components — try a half and half solution with water. It’s natural, safe for dishes, and cuts through grease and gunk. If you’re having trouble with hard water or lime deposits, we do carry special dishwasher cleaners that can handle these no problem. Cleaning isn’t fun, but it’s better than your dishwasher harboring fungi and black yeast — ick!
  • Use a quality detergent. It can be tempting to save a buck or two and go for the cheapest detergent at the store. You get what you pay for, though: cheaper detergents won’t clean as well, and can gum up valves and hoses. For our money, we go with Cascade. Additionally, check your user manual for the recommended amount of powder rather than the detergent box.

Taking care of your dishwasher is just common sense. If you’re uncertain how to clean and maintain your machine, then call Doc’s Appliances today to talk to the experts!

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2 comments on “Doc’s Guide to Keeping Your Dishwasher Running Smoothly
  1. I appreciate the tip you gave, to run a cycle with white vinegar to clean most parts. My husband and I just moved and got all new appliances, so I want to keep them lasting as long as possible. How often do you recommend running a cycle with white vinegar?

    • Docs Appliance says:

      Hello Kourtney,

      You are wise to start off right by keeping your new appliances clean. Depending on the amount of use your machines get, once per month or at least every other month should be sufficient.

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