Dishwasher Not Cleaning? Tips and Tricks to Fix It

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Dishwasher Not Cleaning

Is your dishwasher not living up to its promise of sparkling clean dishes? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many homeowners face the frustrating issue of a dishwasher that needs cleaning more effectively. There could be various reasons behind this problem, ranging from simple user errors to more complex mechanical issues. In this article, we’ll delve into the common causes of a dishwasher not cleaning properly and provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Dishwashers are a modern appliances that saves us time and effort. But what happens when they stop doing their primary job? A dishwasher failing to clean dishes can be frustrating, but before you consider replacing it, let’s explore the reasons behind the issue and how to fix it.

Common Reasons Your Dishwasher Not Cleaning

1. Hard Water Buildup:

Mineral-rich hard water can lead to deposits on dishes and within the dishwasher, impacting its cleaning efficiency. The minerals hinder detergent performance and leave a residue.

2. Clogged Spray Arms

The spray arms in your dishwasher play a crucial role in distributing water. If they’re clogged with debris or mineral deposits, water won’t reach all areas, resulting in poor cleaning.

3. Improper Loading

Loading dishes haphazardly can block the spray arms or prevent water circulation. Ensuring proper spacing and orientation of plates is vital for effective cleaning.

4. Using the Wrong Detergent

Not all detergents are created equal. Using the wrong type or an incorrect amount can lead to dishes that are still dirty after a wash cycle.

5. Filter Issues

A clogged or dirty filter can hinder water flow, reducing cleaning efficiency. Regularly cleaning or replacing the filter is essential.

Troubleshooting Steps to Improve Dishwasher Cleaning


1. Check Water Temperature

Hot water is crucial for effective cleaning. Ensure your dishwasher is connected to a hot water source and the temperature is at least 120°F (49°C).

2. Pre-Rinsing Dishes: Yes or No?

Contrary to popular belief, pre-rinsing dishes might not be necessary. Modern dishwashers are designed to handle food particles, so try skipping this step.

3. Loading Dishes Correctly

Place dishes so that water can reach all surfaces. Avoid blocking spray arms and ensure items are secure in their positions.

4. Inspecting Spray Arms

Check for clogs or mineral deposits in the spray arms. Remove and clean them if necessary, allowing for proper water distribution.

5. Verifying Detergent Type and Amount

Consult your dishwasher’s manual for recommended detergents. Use the right type and follow guidelines for the correct amount.

6. Cleaning the Filter

Regularly clean or replace the filter to prevent debris buildup that could impede water flow.

7. Running an Empty Cycle

Occasionally run your dishwasher empty with a cup of vinegar on the top rack. It helps dissolve mineral deposits and removes odors.

You can contact professionals for dishwasher repairing services as well for quick solution.

Advanced Tips for Restoring Dishwasher Performance

1. Vinegar and Baking Soda Cleaning

Create a mixture of vinegar and baking soda and place it in a dishwasher-safe container on the bottom rack. Run a complete cycle to remove buildup.

2. Cleaning the Interior Walls

Wipe down the interior walls of the dishwasher with a cloth soaked in vinegar. It helps remove any remaining residue.

3. Examining the Water Inlet Valve

Inspect the water inlet valve for clogs or malfunctions. Replace it if necessary to ensure proper water supply.

4. Inspecting the Drainage System

A clogged drainage system can lead to standing water at the bottom. Check and clear any blockages in the drain to allow proper water expulsion.

5. Professional Maintenance

If the issues persist, consider calling a professional technician. They can diagnose and fix mechanical problems that might affect your dishwasher’s performance.

When to Consider Replacing Your Dishwasher

If your dishwasher is old, experiencing frequent issues, and repairs are becoming costly, it might be more practical to invest in a new, energy-efficient model.


Don’t let a poorly performing dishwasher dampen your kitchen spirits. By following these tips and tricks, you can often rejuvenate your dishwasher’s cleaning power without much hassle. Remember, regular maintenance and proper usage go a long way in ensuring your dishwasher consistently delivers sparkling clean dishes.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use regular table salt to combat hard water deposits?

While salt may help soften water, it’s not recommended for dishwashers as it can damage components. Stick to products designed for dishwashers.

Is it true that rinsing dishes before loading is a waste of water?

Yes, it’s generally unnecessary. Scrape off excess food but let your dishwasher handle the rest to save water and improve detergent performance.

Why are my plastic containers still wet after the cycle?

Plastic doesn’t retain heat as well as other materials, so it might not dry completely. Try using a rinse aid to improve drying.

How often should I clean my dishwasher’s filter?

Aim for cleaning the filter once a month to prevent buildup that could affect cleaning efficiency.

Are all dishwashing detergents the same?

No, different detergents are formulated for specific dishwasher types and water conditions. Check your manual for recommendations.