How to Maintain Your Dishwasher at Home

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The family dishwasher is one of the single most used appliances in the home, perhaps second only to the coffee pot or the dryer depending on your family. A dishwasher is a marvel of modern plumbing and engineering combined that can ensure that your family never has to scrub a dish with a sponge by hand again. At least if you take good care of your dishwasher and know how to troubleshoot when something goes wrong.

Today, we’re here to present an everyday guide to keeping your dishwasher in good repair so it continues to clean your dishes reliably every single day. 

Clean Out the Drain

The drain of a dishwasher is, naturally, in the dishwasher floor and can usually be spotted by sight. This is not only where water drains out after being shot at high velocity through the sprayer arms. This is also where any leftover food debris winds up swirling and, ideally, skittering down the drainpipe. However, dishwashers come with built-in drain screens for a reason.

Food debris that is too large or too numerous can clog your drain and it catches at the bottom of your dishwasher. Check the dishwasher drain from time to time and clear any visible debris. 

Scrape Debris from Dishes into Garbage Disposal or Trash

To prevent that debris from building up in the first place, make sure to pre-rinse all dishes immediately after they are used. Or set half your kitchen sink as the ‘soak sink’ so that all dishes and cooking pans. This softens caked-on grit and will prevent any silly mistakes like allowing a whole leaf of lettuce to go into the dishwasher where that soon-to-be-rubbery leaf can cause a surface clog. 

Wipe Down the Seal

Your dishwasher door seal is very important for preventing leaks while the water swirls around inside. It is also made of rubber or something like rubber which means that it can dry out and become less effective. Be sure to wipe down your dishwasher door seal with a sponge and then coat it with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to improve the sealing quality. 

Clean the Door Handle Latch

Have you ever heard or felt crunching as you pulled the dishwasher door handle? This occurs when grit and possibly crumbs are allowed to fall over the top of the dishwasher and that crunching sound eventually can damage your dishwasher’s ability to open or close properly. If you hear or feel grit in your dishwasher handle, give it a thorough wipe with a sponge. 

Keep Clear of Obstructions

When you fill the dishwasher, make sure that no butter knives or pan handles are sticking out in a way that might catch the door or sliding racks. We’ve all done this once by accident but you can also very carefully avoid obstructions to the sliding racks. This can really help in preventing impact, scraping, and warping caused by a piece of silverware reaching from the correct compartment to scrape everything nearby. 

Run Empty with Vinegar

If your home runs hard water and you can see the white spots on the glassware, your dishwasher is likely ailing from the hard water as well. One of the best ways to fight hard water in a dishwasher is to run it empty and hot with a single cup of white vinegar in an upright bowl on the top shelf. This will mix vinegar with all the water that sprays around, breaking down hard water deposits and overall ensuring your dishes will be cleaner. 

Wipe the Sprayer Arms with Vinegar

Finally, if you have reason to believe that your sprayer’s arms aren’t working correctly, it may not be anything about the dishwasher itself. But if hard water minerals build up inside the sprayer arm nozzles, then you can actually solve this problem with vinegar. Fill a sponge or cloth with white vinegar and wipe down the sprayer arms and scrub as necessary until you see that the little holes are clear again.  Contact us for more helpful appliance tips and guides!

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