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Dishwasher Dos and Don'ts: Maximizing Efficiency and Longevity

December 22, 2023

Dishwashers are a staple in most modern kitchens, making the chore of washing dishes a breeze. But are you using yours to its full potential? Are you taking proper care of it to ensure it lasts for years to come?

In this article, we'll cover some dos and don'ts for maximizing the efficiency and longevity of your dishwasher.

stainless steel Samsung dishwasher between blue counters

Dos for Maximizing Efficiency

Load Dishes Properly

Properly loading your dishwasher can make a substantial difference in its efficiency. Here is our advice on how to load a dishwasher properly.

  • Make sure to load dishes in a way that allows water and detergent to reach all surfaces.
  • Avoid overcrowding and stacking dishes on top of each other. This can block water and detergent from reaching all areas.
  • Place larger items, such as pots and pans, on the bottom rack.
  • Place smaller items, like cups and bowls, on the top rack. This will ensure that all items are properly cleaned and prevent damage to delicate items.
  • Place heavy items on the back of the racks so that they are not being weighed down in the front when pulled out.

Use the Right Detergent

Using the right detergent is crucial for the efficiency. Use dishwasher detergent, not regular dish soap, to avoid excessive suds and mess in your dishwasher. Also, choose a detergent that is suitable for your water hardness level. Hard water requires a different type of detergent than soft water for optimal cleaning.

Run Full Loads

Running your dishwasher with a full load is more efficient than running it with a half load. This not only saves water and energy, but also ensures that your machine is working at its full capacity. If you do not have enough dishes to fill a full load, consider using a rinse setting until you have enough for a full load.

Regularly Clean Your Dishwasher

Deep cleaning your dishwasher regularly is important to remove food particles and debris that build up over time. This prevents clogs in the drain and ensures that it can effectively clean your dishes.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean a dishwasher:

  1. Start by removing the bottom rack to access the filter and spray arm.
  2. Check the filter for any visible food particles or debris. If you have a removable filter, take it out and rinse it under warm water to remove any buildup. Use a soft-bristle brush or toothbrush to scrub away stubborn residue.
  3. Inspect the spray arm for any clogs or blockages. If there are any, use a straightened paperclip or toothpick to carefully remove the debris.
  4. Fill a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl with white vinegar and place it on the top rack. Run a hot water cycle without any dishes. The vinegar will help to remove any grease or grime buildup inside the dishwasher.
  5. After the vinegar cycle, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run another hot water cycle. Baking soda helps to deodorize and remove any lingering odors.
  6. Wipe down the interior of the dishwasher, including the door, walls, and gasket, with a damp cloth or sponge. Pay special attention to any areas with stubborn stains or residue.
  7. Finally, clean the exterior with a mild detergent and a soft cloth.

Keep Up With Regular Maintenance

Remember to regularly perform maintenance to keep your machine running smoothly. Select smart dishwasher models have automated reminders that can help remind you of these tasks. Here are the top dishwasher maintenance tasks you should regularly perform to keep your dishwasher running at its best.

  • Clean the filter: Regularly remove and clean the filter to prevent clogs and improve water flow.
  • Check for leaks: Inspect for any signs of leaks or water damage.
  • Clean the spray arms: Remove the spray arms and clean any debris or buildup that may affect their performance.
  • Wipe down the interior: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the interior, including the door seal, walls, and racks.
  • Check and clean the drain: Remove any food particles or debris from the drain to prevent clogs.
  • Inspect and clean the door gasket: Check the door gasket for any signs of wear or damage and clean it regularly to maintain a proper seal.

Use Rinse Aid

Rinse aid is crucial in ensuring your dishes come out clean and spot-free. It helps to prevent water spots and residue from forming on your dishes, leaving them sparkling clean. Make sure to refill the rinse aid dispenser regularly for optimal results.

Use Your Dishwasher Regularly

You may not have considered this, but regularly running your dishwasher can improve its performance. Regular use helps to prevent the buildup of food particles and debris, ensuring that your dishwasher operates at its optimal level. It also prevents the formation of stagnant water, which can lead to odors and mold growth. By maintaining a regular cleaning routine, you can maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your dishwasher.

Don'ts for Maximizing Longevity

Don't Overload Your Dishwasher

While it may be tempting to cram as many dishes as possible into your dishwasher, overloading it can cause damage and decrease its efficiency. Overloading can lead to dishes not being cleaned properly, and it can also put strain on the dishwasher's motor and other components. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for loading capacity to avoid any potential issues.

If you feel you need more space, consider upgrading your dishwasher to a large-capacity model.

Don't Use Too Much Detergent

Using too much detergent can cause a buildup of suds, leading to leaks and a messy kitchen. It can also cause damage to your dishwasher's components, such as the pump and motor. Follow the recommended amount of detergent for your dishwasher and water hardness level to avoid any issues.

Don't Use Hot Water for Pre-Rinsing

Many people pre-rinse their dishes with hot water before loading them into the dishwasher, thinking it will help with cleaning. However, this can be counterproductive. Hot water can cause food particles to stick to dishes, making them harder to clean. Instead, scrape off any excess food and load dishes into the dishwasher as is.

Don't Put Chunks of Food in The Dishwasher

It is important to scrape off excess food from dishes before loading them into the dishwasher. When large food particles are left on dishes, they can clog the dishwasher's filters and spray arms, preventing water from reaching all areas of the dishes. This can result in inadequate cleaning and the need for rewashing. Additionally, food debris can accumulate in the dishwasher's pump and drain, leading to clogs and potential damage to the appliance.

Don't Use the Wrong Cycle

Using the wrong cycle for your dishes can lead to inefficient cleaning and potential damage to delicate items. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended dishwashing cycle for different types of dishes. For example, delicate items may require a gentle cycle, while heavily soiled dishes may need a heavy-duty cycle.

Don't Neglect Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your dishwasher. Make sure to clean the interior and exterior of your dishwasher regularly, including the door seal and control panel. Check for any leaks or unusual noises and address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Shop for Dishwashers at Howard's Appliance

Whether your dishwasher needs replacing or you are ready for a new, more efficient model, the experts at Howard's Appliance are ready to help you find the perfect dishwasher to meet your needs.

With over 13 appliance stores conveniently located throughout Southern California, we're nearby and ready to help. Use our location finder to see more details on our stores in Covina, Long Beach, Tustin, and the surrounding area.

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