modern dishwashers, rinsing the dishes is unnecessary
and a waste of water and time. Most dishes can go from
the table to the dishwasher without a stop at the sink.
Some dishwashers also come equipped with special
cleaning cycles that automatically adjust by the soil
level of the dishes in order to save water and energy.
Wait until you have a full load before running the
dishwasher so as not to waste water and energy. When
loading the dishwasher, make sure no dishes obstruct the
rotating spray arms. There's an arm that spins under the
bottom rack, another above the top rack and often a
third that telescopes up through the bottom rack to spin
just under the top rack.
Load more fragile items in the top rack. The
highest-pressure jets are directed at the lower rack to
help clean pots and utensils.
If you have a garbage disposal, make sure you run it
before running the dishwasher. A clogged drain can cause
a flood when the dishwasher drains. If your dishwasher
has a strainer or scrap bin in the bottom, clear it
before running each load. If your dishwasher has a water
heating option, use it.
The dry cycle uses a lot of energy. During the winter
months, when the air in the house is generally dry, you
don't need to use this option. Instead, when the
dishwasher stops, open it and pull out both racks.
Everything will be dry in about an hour.
If your dishwasher cleans poorly, it could be caused
by one of many things:
Most cleaning problems are caused by the dishwasher not
getting enough wash water, so the water-inlet valve is
often to blame. This valve is usually at the bottom left
or right of the dishwasher behind the lower access
panel. It's the device with the main water line from the
house, a rubber tube to the dishwasher, and two wires
attached to it. If the water-inlet valve is defective,
it needs to be replaced.
Most modern dishwashers have self-cleaning filters that
don't need any routine cleaning, but some have filters
in the bottom of the dishwasher that you need to clean
periodically. You don't need any tools to remove the
filter, and cleaning it is easy. Consult your owner's
manual to determine which type you have and its
maintenance requirements. If your filter is clogged, it
may be causing an insufficient cleaning problem.
Some dishwashers have a valve (or gate) that should open
only during draining. If debris gets lodged in the
valve, it can't close properly, so water drains out
during the wash cycle. Most dishwashers drain into the
garbage disposal. If yours does that, listen for water
flowing into the disposal during the wash cycle. If you
can hear it, the drain valve may be clogged.
There's a spray arm at the bottom of your dishwasher,
which may have a tall spray tube mounted to the center
of it. There may also be a spray arm located directly
beneath the upper rack of dishes and/or above the upper
If debris is blocking the holes in the spray arms
where the water comes out, it could cause unsatisfactory
results. Regularly inspect each of the spray arms and
clean out the holes with hot vinegar and a safety pin.
To get the best cleaning results, the water entering
your dishwasher needs to be hot. Try running the hot
water in your kitchen sink for about 30 seconds to heat
it before starting the dishwasher. Also, if possible,
select a higher wash or rinse temperature to see if it
To check the temperature of the hot water that comes
from your kitchen faucet use a waterproof thermometer.
If the water isn't 120 degrees Fahrenheit, your
dishwasher may have trouble getting your dishes clean.
You could increase the temperature of the hot water to
the whole house by adjusting the hot water heater
However, to reduce the risk of scalding, don't set
the hot water heater temperature higher than 120 degrees