As a service company we are constantly asked, “Why doesn’t my dishwasher clean better”. To this query we offer following insights and suggestions.
Whenever we diagnose a “poor cleaning” complaint main things we want to know are:
1 Is water hot enough? 2 Using a proper detergent? 3 Using a rinse additive? 4 Using proper loading practices? 1 Water temperature
Most manufacturers suggest a minimum 120 Fahrenheit for dishwasher to begin cleaning process, 140 to remove food soiling, and 155 to sanitize and remove bacteria. In restaurants they boost dishwasher temperature to 180 Fahrenheit to satisfy health requirements. Consumers misunderstanding these requirements have led to problems for household dishwasher.
In a dishwasher temperature of wash water is paramount. Unfortunately, It is now common to find household water temperatures of only 100 Fahrenheit, or less.
Many people have lowered their household water temperature in an effort to be conscientious consumers. Yes, it lowers electrical consumption. Unfortunately it has other consequences.
Manufacturers say it does not provide enough heat to clean dishes properly and can leave them covered in bacteria and food residue. Supporters of lower water temperatures claim it is both environmentally friendly and necessary to protect children from any possibility of scalding at bath time.
One of latest ideas is a mixing valve added to hot water tanks. It is preset and will not allow temperatures in excess of 115 Fahrenheit. It does this by mixing cold water with hot to maintain this preset maximum.
This debate over hot water tank temperatures has resulted in a catch 22 type scenario. Lower temperature to lower consumption and be more child safe, but end up leaving bacteria on plates we use to eat.
Low water temperature can also affect cycle length. If too low dishwasher may keep stopping to try and heat water. A normal cycle of 40 minutes could be extended to 2 or 3 hours with all heating delays. Some dishwashers may stall completely.
2 Using proper detergent
Gel or crystal, choice is yours. Both seem to work equally well.
Crystal is less messy, while gel will dissolve quicker with water. If your water temperature is low (as described above) gel may be a choice because it will mix better.
If using crystal detergent be aware that it can pick up moisture from air. When this happens it will swell up and become lumpy or harden. These lumps will be difficult to break down and will not fully dissolve. If at cycle’s end you see detergent left inside it may be evidence of hardened crystals.
Additional evidence of moisture buildup can be seen if box itself appears to be swollen. If seen, replace immediately with a fresh box.
A box of detergent should be consumed within 2-3 months. If not throw it away and buy a new one. Match box size to your needs. Do not buy a large box just because it is on sale. If you have to throw most of it away, it wasn’t much of a bargain.
Some detergent manufacturers now offer a product that combines detergent with rinse additive. Others offer a detergent that includes a special grease-dissolving agent. Still others are in a tab form, or inside a dissolvable plastic pouch. Whichever form you prefer one thing we always stress is, “when you find one that works for you stick with it … even if it costs more than others”.
Also dishwashing detergent and dishwasher detergent are not interchangeable. Trying to do so will cause problems. Each type of detergent is formulated to do a specific job.
“Dishwashing detergent” is one used to wash dishes in sink is. It is definitely not meant for dishwasher. Anyone who has ever mistakenly put it into dishwasher can attest to mess this will produce. The beating action of water will produce massive amounts of suds. This results in dishwasher flooding out door and across kitchen floor.