Dishwasher Issues | Best Pick Reports

Dishes are not getting clean. Try a more powerful cycle. While lower, more gentle cycles are more energy efficient, they may not be strong enough to remove the food residue and grease from all dishes.

Incorrect loading may be a factor. Do not place dishes in a manner that blocks the rotation of the spray arm(s). Allow for separation between loaded dishes, as water cannot clean areas that it cannot reach.

Low water temperature is another possible cause of poorly cleaned dishes. Check to see if your hot water temperature is set too low. The recommended temperature setting is 140°F for cutting grease and dissolving soap. To measure the temperature of your hot water, insert a meat thermometer into the hot water stream flowing from the kitchen sink faucet.

Another reason why dishes may not be getting clean is that the water in the dishwasher is not as hot as the water you measure in the sink. As water sits in the pipe, it loses its heat. When the dishwasher is turned on, it fills partially with hot water and partially with the water that has been cooling in the pipe. To limit this problem, try running hot water at the kitchen sink before starting the dishwasher.

Alternatively, a closed-loop circulation pump could also fix this issue. These systems slowly bleed hot water from the hot water line just below the kitchen sink and return it to the hot water heater for reheating through a second, smaller waterline. A small pump drives the circulation. Because closed-loop circulation systems do not waste water, they are also more eco-friendly than running the sink water.

Clogged drain screen or filter. Sometimes the drain screen or filter in the base of the unit becomes clogged with food particles. An indicator is standing water in the dishwasher after the cycle is complete. Depending on your unit, you may be able to clean the screen or filter yourself. However, never reach into the area below the lower rack before the heating element has cooled.

Clogged or jammed spray arm. During the cycle, the spray arm spins and sprays water onto the dishes at different angles. Clean any plugged spray arm holes and make sure the arm spins freely. Again, make sure to wait until the device has cooled.