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Why Is My Dishwasher Not Cleaning Properly?

Often a central part of any kitchen, the dishwasher can be a lifeline for busy working families and individuals. However, when the worst does happen and your machine becomes faulty, it can wreak havoc on the entire household!

A faulty dishwasher can be the result of misconfigured washing times, cycle settings and even water temperature. Luckily for you, several issues can be repaired easily.

If your dishwasher is showing the following signs of general low performance, this guide on troubleshooting your machine can help to repair it:

Incorrect Loading
Before attempting any kind of repair on your machine, it’s important to check that you’re loading the unit correctly.

An incorrectly loaded dishwasher leads to dishes and bowls dislodging on to one another, which blocks the dish from being cleaned with water and detergent. This is a common error that dishwasher users have, and can lead to the false assumption of your machine not working properly.

You should also make sure that no tall items are blocking the spray arm, and in doubt you can turn this by hand to make sure it can spin round.

Loading the compartment of the dishwasher that holds your dishes correctly can help to avoid your items not being thoroughly cleaned. You can find more advice on this in the instruction manual that comes with your dishwasher.

Blockage in the Spray Arm
Another common issue that may cause your dishes to not be cleaned properly is that there is a blockage within the spray arm – which is the function that distributes detergent and water within the unit.

A crack or small hole within this feature could also be to blame – as this would result in a lower water pressure being applied to your dishes, making it unable to remove all food and bacteria effectively.

But don’t forget to check that there are no tall dishes or utensils blocking the movement of the spray arm, as this will prevent them from being washed properly.

Dispenser or Holding Compartment Blockage
Dishwashers which are used frequently are more susceptible to this fault, whereby a blockage within the holding compartment or dispenser can cause your machine not to clean properly. This is usually the result of too many cleaning products being used in the unit.

To make sure that this isn’t the issue, check that you are using the correct amount of cleaning products. Remember that dishwashers being used within hard water areas will require more cleaning detergent than those in areas with soft water.

Faulty Heating Element
If you’ve checked that you’re loading your dishwasher correctly and that it is clear of blockages, there may be a fault with the heating element.

The temperature of your water must be above 60 degrees celsius to completely kill all bacteria left on your dishes. If the water temperature is set too low, stains, dirt and leftover food may still be present on your dishes once the cycle has completed.

If you do not see any hot steam when you open the dishwasher door, the heating element of your machine could be faulty and may need replacing if broken.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why your dishwasher may be less effective at cleaning dishes than it once was. However, if you have inspected all elements of your machine as specified and cannot find a fault, it may require the attention of a qualified engineer.