Is there a way to ensure the dishwasher thoroughly cleans your dishes?

We bought a new house almost two years ago. The dishwasher was brand new but it never gets our dishes clean. That has been the case with every single dishwasher I've had. When I lived in apartments the dishwasher didn't get the dishes clean. What is up with that?

I have tried all sorts of dishwashing detergents ... Electrosol, Cascade, Palmolive, Sunlight ... all of them. All of the claim to get the caked on food off your dishes, but none of them do. My husband hand washes the dishes and then runs the dishwasher. They get clean that way, but I think it's only because he's washed them.

I've seen commercials for dishwashing detergent that said if you put a whole cake on a plate and ran the cycle, that product would remove all the residue and you'd have sparkling dishes. Not true. I've also tried Jet Dry and it didn't make a difference. I've also tried adding a drop of dishwashing liquid ... and bleach (which I put in my dishwater) ... no difference. If I put it on heated dry that makes it worse because then all the food that didn't come off is crusted to the plates.

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have a dishwasher and it's about 5-10 yrs. old. However, I've NEVER had the problems you mentioned. Have you tried cleaning the filter? There could be food particles trapped in it and it's getting on you dishes... .I use an OLD toothbrush and clean it every couple months or so..... To clean my dishwasher I use flavored drink mix like COUNTRY TIME LEMONADE or KOOL-AID sweet or non-sweet. The citric acid works really well and it's NOT a harsh chemical... It also make the kitchen smell like lemons, oranges, cherry whatever.. .I do this about once a month....

    I also "air dry" my dishes I don't use the heat cycle... Rinse if you need to or have stuck on food like oatmeal, eggs etc.... However, I've never had a problem with these foods.... Also, don't overload the dishwasher and make sure that the water can reach all the dishes.. After my husband loads the dishwasher I usually have to reload it... So, it's more efficient.... I use ELECTROSOL or FINISH brand tablets and it works really, really well.... If the dishes are especially dirty I'll use TWO tablets..

    If you run the washer, take a shower or use other water maybe the water pressure is changing.. Just a random thought... So, I only use one major applance at a time.. You save energy that way as well. I also RUN THE HOT TAP for a few moments to make sure the water is HOT... Even though we have our hot water heater on the lowest setting...!

    Good luck

  • 1 decade ago

    Most dishwashers do not need to have all of the food scraped off before you run the dishwasher.

    If there is not a disposal in the bottom of the dishwasher, you'll need to check the filters and rinse them out if they are clogged up. A clogged filter will result in unclean dishes.

    Make sure that the dishes are not sitting in the dishwasher for too long. The longer they are allowed to dry, the harder it is for them to get clean.

    Don't add bleach to your dishwasher. The detergent already has the bleaching agents, and you may mix the wrong chemicals and have toxic fumes.

    Jet Dry softens the water so you do not get water spots, it doesn't remove food. If you have soft water, jet dry can etch your glasses.

    Adding dish washing liquid can result in a huge mess. Suds everywhere. The detergent meant for the dishwasher doesn't foam, and can't be used in the sink. The chemicals in the detergent are very harsh and will hurt your hands.

    I have a new Bosch dishwasher. I put the dishes in dirty, with just scraping off the food, leaving lots of residue. I use Cascade tablets. My dishes come out sparkling clean.

    My old Kitchen Aid dishwasher did a pretty good job as well until the motor and water pump died.

    Useing the dishwasher with the air dry option will save water, and energy used to heat the water vs. handwashing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have never pre-washed or rinsed anything i put in the dishwasher and only on the rarest occasions will a bit of dried on egg remain on a plate at the end of the cycle.

    If you have hard water there may be a build up of lime on the heating element which will greatly reduce cleaning effectiveness.

    Always select the High Temperature Wash option or the Pots and Pans option (which activates the water heating cycle and extends the length of the pre-wash ) if High Temp wash is not a choice.

    I agree with adding a 1/4 cup of bleach to the D\W as it disinfects and improves the cleaning effectiveness of the detergent.

    Check also to see if the machine is filling properly - about 4 minutes after starting a load stop it momentarily by releasing the latch - hold the door closed for 30 seconds before opening it up and look in the bottom of the machine there should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom if it is filling properly if there is less than 1 inch of water the problem is that it is not filling correctly which may be due to low water pressure or a restriction in the fill line ( valve not fully open?)

    It will also help if there is a "Rinse - Wash Later" option available to do a rinse cycle as soon as you put the dirty dishes into it after eating or cooking - fresh food will clean off much easier than dried on stuff.

    Source(s): experience
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I always rinse my dishes off in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher - but I normally do this right after using, so the food does not get dried or crusted on. My dishwasher is about 9 years old and still does a fine job. Every once in a while I get something that does not come clean, and I just soak it and put it in the next load.

    Could you be overloading the dishwasher? Just a thought, my sister does that and nothing comes clean when uses the dishwasher.

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  • Sandy
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Most d/w use cold water to start with and the element in the bottom heats the water. Despite the fact that it says you don't have to "wash" your dishes b/4 you load them it is recommended that you at least rinse them before loading. Your dishwasher does have a small grinder to grind up small food particles. To ensure that your dishes are clean make sure your filter on the bottom is clear and clean that there is no paper, plastic, or food left around it to prevent it from draining properly, Rinse your dishes. If it is "baked" or dried on it may not get it clean try washing those dishes by hand. Use jet dry, it does help with the over sudsing issue which will happen if you continue to use regular dish soap in your dishwasher.

    Source(s): parts manager appliance repair service 10 years AA, Inc. md/dc/va
  • 1 decade ago

    According to a dishwasher expert on the Shopping Bag program the dishwasher only works as good as the water pressure in your taps. Rinse your dishes as soon as you are finished eating or soak them in hot soapy water for an hour before washing them in the dishwasher. The bottom line - dishes have to be free of food particles before washing in the dishwasher. When you think about the commercial with the dishwasher and the cake, it seems logical that the cake would dissolve in the hot soapy water.

  • 1 decade ago

    Just rinse as much off the dishes as you can before you put them in the dishwasher. You shouldn't have to wash them by hand, but run them under the water to get as much food off as possible first. This should get them relatively clean. Our dishwasher won't clean anything unless we rinse everything off first.

  • 1 decade ago

    Just skip the dishwasher. If you husband does a good job hand washing them, then why not leave it at that. My husband washes the dishes by hand and they're always clean, if not he does them again ;-)

    By not running your dishwasher you save money on water, electricity, and dish washing detergent which could have bleach in them.

    Get a rack and you won't have to dry them by hand either. We air dry.

  • 4 years ago

    I wash my son's by hand with a bottle brush, nipple brush and that pipe cleaner it came with. When he was younger I would steralize them once a week in boiling water. Now he is 15 months and only takes 2 bottles a day(morning and bed time) so I just wash them after each use in hot soapy water and place them to dry on the bottle drying rack...

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