How to Care For Your Dishwasher: 11 Surefire Tips

Dishwashers are a lifesaver, especially if you hate washing dishes or don’t have the time to do so. They scrub your dirty pots, pans, dishes, and other cutlery, giving them a sparkling clean finish. But do you know how to care for your dishwasher to keep it at its best? Worry not; we’re here for you!

Like any other appliance in your home, a dishwasher needs care and maintenance for optimal performance and a longer lifespan. Unfortunately, dishwasher care isn’t at the top of most homeowners’ to-do lists. And besides, most dishwasher owners don’t know how to properly care for this dedicated kitchen appliance.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top tips on how to care for and maintain your dishwasher like a pro. Let’s dive right in!

1. Clean the dishwasher filter regularly

One of the most important things you can do to keep your dishwasher running smoothly is to clean the filter regularly. A filter traps food particles and other debris, keeping them from recirculating and clogging the dishwasher pump.

Although most dishwashers have a self-cleaning cycle that cleans the filter, it’s important to clean it manually from time to time.

To do this, remove the filter and rinse it under running water. If the filter is especially dirty, you may need to soak it in a solution of vinegar and water.

To know whether your dishwasher filter needs a clean take note of any strange odor when you open the washer or stains in the cleaned dishes. Here’s a simplified video on how to clean a filter. However, always remember that dishwashers are different and you should always consult a manufacturer’s manual before removing the filter for cleaning.

2. Clean the spray arms

spray arms

Over time, your dishwasher’s spray arm can get clogged with food particles and detergent build-up. This clogging can cause reduced water pressure resulting in poor dishwashing performance.

Fortunately, it’s easy to clean the spray arm and keep your dishwasher running at peak efficiency. Simply remove the spray arm and soak it in hot, soapy water for a few minutes. You can also use vinegar instead of dishwashing soap or detergent. Use a soft brush to remove any stubborn dirt, then rinse the spray arm thoroughly and reattach it.

Before detaching your dishwasher’s spray arm, kindly refer to the manufacturer’s manual for detailed instructions on how to do it because each dishwasher is unique.

3. Clean the door and seals

Your dishwasher’s care and maintenance routine should also include cleaning the doors and seals.

Start by wiping the outside of the dishwasher with a damp cloth containing a mild dishwashing soap or detergent. Then, open the dishwasher and check the door seal for food particles or dirt build-up. If you spot anything strange, use a soft-bristled brush or damp cloth to remove it. Finally, wipe down the inside of the door with a clean cloth.

When cleaning the dishwasher’s doors and seals, pay special attention to any cracks or crevices, as these can easily trap dirt and grime. Once you have finished cleaning, dry the doors and seals completely to prevent water spots.

It’s advisable to clean the doors and seals every month or as soon as you notice any food particles or grime build-up.

4. Run a vinegar or  baking soda cycle every month or so

As your dishwasher cleans dirty dishes, it can collect grime and gunk, leading to poor performance. The best way to address this is by running a vinegar or baking soda cycle every month to clean and descale the dishwasher.

To run this cycle, add a cup of vinegar or baking soda to the detergent compartment and run a normal cycle with your dishwasher empty. This cycle will help clean any build-up that might be lurking in the nooks and crannies, and it’ll also keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.

5. Inspect the dishwasher for leaks and damages periodically

Like any other running kitchen appliance, dishwashers are also prone to leaks and other damages. So, a part of your care and maintenance routine should include periodically inspecting the dishwasher for leaks and damages.

If you notice any issue, it’s important to address it immediately before it graduates into a bigger and more costly problem.

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly and removing any food particles, dirt, and grime build-up help keep occasional breakdown and damages at bay.

6. Check the water level before each load and adjust if necessary

Another thing you need to do to care for your dishwasher is to check the water level before each load and adjust it if need be. If the water level is too low, the dishwasher won’t clean your dishes properly. On the other hand, water leakage may occur during cleaning if the water level is too high.

So, it’s advisable to ensure your dishwasher runs at an optimal water level. Balancing the water level helps this dedicated kitchen appliance run smoothly and prevents dishes from being damaged or stained.

7. Keep the dishwasher door closed when not in use to prevent moisture damage

Keeping your dishwasher’s door closed may seem like a no-brainer, but it goes a long way in maintaining your washer at its best. Closing your washer’s door when not in use prevents moisture damage that can cause rusting and other problems.

Your dishwasher runs smoothly, performs optimally, and serves you longer when you keep moisture damage at bay.

8. Use the correct detergent and amount for optimal performance

Adding dishwashing detergent to a dishwasher

Dishwashing detergent is a vital factor in a dishwasher’s performance. So, to get optimal results from your washer, use the correct amount of detergent and place it in the right dispenser.

Different dishwashers have different detergent needs, such as pods, tablets, powder, and liquid. So, always check the manufacturer’s manual on the recommended washing detergent for your washer.

Dishwashers also require different amounts of detergent depending on the water’s hardness. Typically, soft water requires less detergent, while hard water requires more.

If you’re using too much or too little detergent, your dishes won’t come out as clean as they should. So be sure to consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific instructions.

With dishwashers, a little dishwashing detergent goes a long way. So, use your detergent sparingly, don’t be too generous!

9. Properly load your dishwasher

A lady loading a dishwasher

Did you know that the way you load your dishwasher affects its cleaning ability? Well, now you know.

When loading your dishwasher, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Study the washer’s place setting and place your dishware strategically. Here are more tips on loading your dishwasher:

  • Arrange dishes so that they’re not touching each other. Leaving space between your dishes allows water to circulate and reach all surfaces.
  • Scrape off any food scraps before loading. This prevents them from clogging the dishwasher’s spray arm.
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher. If it’s too full, dishes won’t come out as clean as they should.
  • Be careful with plastic items. Some plastics can melt in the dishwasher, so check your dishware labels before loading.

10. Use the right washing cycle

Different washing cycles on a Bosch dishwasher

Here’s another maintenance tip that may sound like common sense but most people often overlook it—using the right washing cycle.

Dishwashers have different washing cycles depending on the amount and severity of the dirt and the nature of the dishware. These include heavy, light, normal, babycare, rinse, etc.

So, even if your dishwasher seems to be cleaning your dishes just fine, it’s still important to use the right washing cycles. Normal is usually fine for most loads, but it’s best to use the heavy cycle if you have a particularly heavy or greasy load. The light cycle is best for delicate dishes or those that don’t need a thorough cleaning.

By taking the time to select the right cycle, you can help extend the life of your dishwasher and keep it functioning optimally.

11. Place your dishwasher on a leveled surface

If you are using a countertop or freestanding dishwasher, always ensure it’s on a leveled surface before running it. An unleveled dishwasher can cause problems with the door seal, leading to leaks. In addition, unstable dishwashers can also be noisy and vibrate excessively, thus disturbing your peace.

Luckily, most freestanding dishwashers come with adjustable feet for easy leveling. So, if your washer isn’t level, simply adjust the feet until it is.

For portable countertop dishwashers, always check how the washer sits on the surface before running it.

Bottom Line

If you dread dishwashing time, a dishwasher is the right kitchen appliance to make this process far less tedious. However, this handy appliance needs care and maintenance to run smoothly and serve you longer.

If you follow the simple care and maintenance tips discussed above, you’ll keep your dishwasher looking its best and enjoy its service for years.

Kindly check out our post on the top 4 quietest dishwashers for under 500 dollars.

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