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Dishwasher Maintenance

A dishwasher is generally a low maintenance appliance. Below are some tips for keeping it clean and running well.

Cleaning & deodorizing

  1. You don’t need to clean the interior of your dishwasher if you use it regularly. If you don’t use it for a week or more and it begins to mold or smell bad, you can clean it by running a cup of white vinegar through the entire cycle of the empty dishwasher to remove all soap film.
  2. For exterior cleaning, just wash the exterior of your dishwasher with a damp sponge and a little dish detergent.
  3. For rust removal on the inside of your dishwasher try fine steel wool or a rust remover product.
  4. On many dishwashers, there’s a filter near the bottom, or under the lower spray arm that needs to be cleaned twice a year or so. If you have this sort of filter, check your owner’s manual to find out how to remove and clean it. If it has holes in it, replace it to protect the pump and motor seals from particles that may be in the dishwasher.
  5. Over time, the small holes in the spray arm(s) of your dishwasher may become clogged with bits of paper, toothpicks, glass, etc. Your dishwasher will do a better job of cleaning your dishes if you take a moment to clean out these small holes, from time to time.
  6. Remove the spray arm and clean it by poking a piece of stiff wire through the holes. Then shake the spray arm to make sure nothing is inside, such as seeds from fruit like watermelon.
  7. Finally, scrub any mineral deposits off the spray arm with hot distilled white vinegar. (The cap holding the spray arm in place is typically reverse-threaded, which means you should turn it clockwise to remove it. Be careful not to drop the nut or washer into the motor.)

Dish rack repairs

If the plastic coating wears off of the tines of the dish racks in your dishwasher, they may corrode and rust. Promptly repair cut or chipped plastic coating on racks to prevent rust.

Use steel wool to remove rust and cap the damaged rack tines with slip-on rubber tips. You can get a rack- or tine-repair kit from the manufacturer (around $40).


My dishwasher won’t drain.

If your dishwasher won’t drain, clean the filter at the bottom and try running it over again. If this doesn’t work call a qualified repair expert.

My dishwasher is not getting dishes clean.

Overloading could cause this. Try taking some of the dishes out. On some machines it is important not to cover the “power tower cleaner” located in the center of the dishwasher. If you put too many pots and pans on the bottom rack the water won’t be able to get to the dishes on the top rack.

Won’t Fill.

  • Be sure the door is latched securely.
  • Be sure the water is turned on.
  • Check that the dial pad is properly selected for a cycle.
  • Allow time for select models to drain/pause before filling.
  • Check home’s circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Check inlet hose for a kink.
  • Check water valve inlet for sediment and clean if necessary.

Won’t Drain Water in Tub Bottom.

  • If hooked up to a garbage disposer, be sure the knockout is removed from the disposer inlet.
  • Be sure the drain hose is elevated in the drain or disposer.
  • Check drain hose for a kink.
  • Check your home’s circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Check that the cycle is completed.

Detergent Cup Not Empty.

  • Check that the cycle is completed.
  • Be sure dispenser is not blocked.
  • Use fresh detergent which has been stored in a cool, dry place.

Seems Noisy.

  • A water valve hiss during fill is normal.
  • Water circulation sounds are normal.
  • A ticking noise is a normal timer sound (certain models).
  • A thumping sound may be a wash arm bumping an item that is extending beyond the racks.
  • Chopping or grinding sounds may be heard during draining as the internal food disposer chops hard times like fruit seeds, nuts, etc.
  • Humming during drain is normal.
  • A snap noise is the detergent cup lid hitting the door liner when the dishwasher door is opened at the end of the cycle. This is normal.
  • Proper installation affects the noise level.


  • Check that the dishwasher is level. (Refer to the Installation Instructions).
  • Suds can cause the dishwasher to overflow. Measure the detergent carefully and use only detergents designed for use in a dishwasher. Less detergent is needed in soft water. Try another brand if sudsing continues.
  • Occasionally moisture droplets may be noticed on the door vent in the area where the droplets have evaporated they may fall to the floor.

Food Soil Remains On Dishes.

  • Check water temperature.
  • Run hot water at the sink before starting the dishwasher.
  • Select appropriate water-heating option (i.e.. Temp Sense, Sani Temp, Sani Clean, etc.)
  • Use fresh detergent stored in a cool dry place.
  • Select proper cycle for the soil level.
  • Load the utensil basket with some handles up and some down to prevent nesting.
  • Do not place glasses over tines.

Items Washed in the Dishwasher or the Dishwasher Tub Itself are Stained / Discolored.

  • Aluminum utensils or pans can leave marks when they rub against other items. Leave a slight space between items.
  • Iron in the water can leave a yellow, brown or orange film on dishes or the dishwasher tub. A filter may be needed. Rust remover can be used to remove rust.
  • Color from tomato sauces may adhere to the tub. If light staining has occurred, leave the door open to oxidize the stain away. For removal of heavier stains, try a dishwasher cleaning product that contains citric acid. Changing to a lemon-scented detergent may also help.

Items Not Properly Dried / Moisture is Present on the Dishwasher Interior After the Dry Cycle.

  • Be sure Heated Dry is selected.
  • Water droplets may be from on the inner door as part of the drying process.
  • Use a rinse aid regularly, to improve drying. On models equipped with an adjustable rinse air cap, turn the cap towards the MORE setting.
  • Check water temperature.
  • Select appropriate water-heating option (i.e. Temp Sense, Sani Temp, Sani Clean, etc.).
  • Increase detergent amount to match water hardness.
  • Load properly.
  • Plastic and Teflon items are inherently difficult to dry because they have a porous surface and tend to collect water droplets. Towel drying may be necessary.
  • A Quick/Rinse cycle does not dry the dishes. Towel drying is required.
Michael Joseph