Unless you can identify a specific malfunction with you dishwasher , VERY FEW cleaning issues will be corrected by a Service Technician. Environmental laws within the last few years have had a big affect on Dishwasher operation.
These Changes Mandated by government Regulations will affect the way your dishwasher works:
1. Water Temperatures Reduced
2. Amount of Water used Reduced
3. Phosphates removed from All Detergents
These are true if your machine is a few years old or if it is brand new!
In this article we are going to try and suggest the things you should do to improve the situation before calling for service.
Check the Basics before Scheduling Service
Start your empty dishwasher on a Normal wash cycle. Do not add dishes or soap. Position all spray arms in a twelve o’clock position. After the dishwasher has filled and started the wash cycle, let it run for a couple of minutes. Listen for normal pulsing sounds of water circulating. You will then open the door and check the first 3 items.
1. Check the water.
Theoretically, if you are running a clean, empty dishwasher, you should be circulating clean water. There should never be soap suds in your dishwasher. It would be normal to see a few suds bubbles when you open the door that dissipate within a few seconds. If the water is murky or if there are suds on the surface of the water, you probably have a significant soap issue. If this is the case, the system MUST be purged of the soap build-up. One way to do this is to run the dishwasher on the heaviest soil cycle (i.e. pots & pans) until the water is clear. You may also pour a cup of milk or vegetable oil into the water during the main wash to help dissipate the soap. This may resolve itself in as few as 1-2 cycles, or may take many cycles, depending upon the severity of the build-up. Reduce detergent and /or change brands to correct problem. If you have a water softener you may need to buy detergent formulated for soft water. For softer water or very well rinsed dishes you may need as little as 1 teaspoon of detergent for good results. You may need to do this test for a few weeks to be sure it is not reoccurring.
2. Check the amount of water.
Has the water filled the bottom of the tub to within 1 inch of the side walls? If there is not enough water in your dishwasher, it will not clean well, and the spray arms will not spray with enough force. Be sure you are in the middle of a wash when you check this, 2-3 minutes after you hear water circulating. Check this twice. Call for service for this issue.
3. Are the spray arms turning?
Have all of the spray arms moved, or are they in the same position? Some dishwashers don’t use all spray arms simultaneously, so you may have to check again after the cycle has run for more than a couple minutes. If spray arms are not turning, check for obstructions or stopped up nozzles in the arms. Some machines have filter screens in the sump area. If they are removable, take them out and clean them. On Machines where the screens are not removable use of Dishwasher Magic once or twice a year will help keep them clean. If the arms are not turning and these steps do not correct the problem then call for service.
4. What is the temperature of the water?
The water temperature should be a MINIMUM of 120 degrees. An easy way to check this temperature with a meat thermometer. Assuming the dishwasher is next to the sink, run hot water into a cup until at it’s hottest. You may need to raise the temperature of your hot water heater, or make sure you run the faucet in the kitchen to get hot water to the sink before starting your dishwasher. Water that is too hot may cause some issues. Maximum recommended for home situations would be 135 degrees.
5. Draining For best washing results.
be sure the machine is pumping out all the water after each wash and rinse. Sometimes you can tell this by listening, but the simplest test is at the end of the cycle. There should be no water in the bottom of the tub, except the center sump area after the machine finishes the cycle. Some machines leave a small amount of water around the center sump, but no more than a cup or two. If the machine is not pumping out all the water this could be related to your washing issues. This will need to be repaired. Call for a service appointment.
General Guidelines for Some Common Problems
1. White film or cloudiness that can be cleaned off by hand
Sometimes this is a very simple adjustment, but it can also be the most difficult of any problem to improve. First you should check our list of Basics. If you do not see any specific malfunction you may be dealing with issues relating to the hardness of your water, which may be helped by changing detergents, changing amounts of detergent, adjusting your loads, and/or use of additional additives.
It is important to note that ALL Dishwashing Detergents have underwent big changes to their formula in the past few years. Whatever brand you are using is NOT the same stuff it was before January 2012. We recommend powdered detergent. Try 2 or 3 different brands. Adjust amount, start with small amount, (1 teaspoon). Many more problems are caused by too much detergent than too little. If you are rinsing your dishes well, do not put detergent in the pre-wash cup. Be patient. It may take 5-10 loads to test each brand.
This is a very complex path to start down. There are dozens of additives on the market, and some work well for specific problems. Some are particularly recommended for cleaning the dishwasher and some are for regular use. The most common ones are Glisten, Glass Magic, LemiShine, and Dishwasher Magic. Many of these originally contained phosphates and have formula changes in 2012. Also note that most of these have a basic detergent under the same brand. We are speaking of their additives used for improving poor washing results, NOT their basic detergents. Most additive manufacturers recommend using this type of product in the prewash cycle to help remove residue. We generally recommend following the instructions on the box, but we have been hearing about some good results mixing equal parts LemiShine or Dishwasher Magic with your detergent in every load. Another product we have recently seen advertised which claims to still contain phosphates can be found on line at www.bubblebandit.com. We would be interested in hearing back from you with your results if you try this.
If you want to try an additive here is where we suggest you start———–
1. Try the BubbleBandit detergent.
2. Try additives in the Pre-Wash dispenser and Detergent in Main-Wash dispenser.
3. Mix 1 Teaspoon Lemishine Additive or Dishwasher Magic and 1 Teaspoon of your regular detergent in the Main Wash dispenser. Try this for 5-10 loads.
Loading your machine:
Follow common sense when loading your dishes. All dishes turned down. Load light enough that water can reach all surfaces. Make sure dishes are not blocking spray arms. See the Use and Care manual for your machine for other loading tips.
2. Food not washed off
Some materials may not completely wash off in dishwasher. Food such as burned on grease and dried eggs will have to be manually cleaned off before putting in machine. If you do not run machine every day, but add items until you have a load then you may improve this issue by using the Rinse and Hold cycle. Each time you add items run Rinse and Hold. Other than this, follow the same suggestions as in number 1 above for poor washing.
3. Gritty residue, not on dishes when put in machine, easily cleaned off by hand.
This problem is usually caused by low water fill, restricted filters, or incomplete drain. Be sure you have read the section on Dishwasher Basics. If the information there does not help resolve your problem this is one that can probably be helped by a Service Tech.
4. Water spots dried on dishes
Be sure rinse Aid is present and being dispensed. Most dispensers only put out a few drops per load, so it may take 20-30 washes to actually see a difference in the liquid level. Some machines have an adjustment for the amount dispensed. For hard water turn setting up. Try both Air Dry and Heat Dry to see which gives you best results.
5. White film or cloudiness that cannot be cleaned off by hand.
This may be etching. This can be aggravated by water that is too hot and too much detergent. Check water temps as outlined in Dishwasher Basics. Reduce detergent use to a minimum.