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Why is My Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes Properly?

Now if all of this seems like it was a big pain in the butt… IT WAS! This dishwasher needs an enema! I just pulled this knife out of my dishwasher. I mean, ugh!

That’s been happening a lot lately with this dishwasher. Everything comes out with this just nasty film, nothing ever seems like it’s coming out perfectly clean. Of course, we rinse our dishes like we’re supposed to, and I’ve tried lots of different kinds of dishwasher detergent.

up to the level

I’ve tried using that Jet Dry stuff. None of that really seems to be helping, so I think what might be going on is something might be clogged in here, maybe one of these little water jets.

Right, now I don’t think on my particular model that I have to actually use any tools…nope. It twisted right out. There’s also the drain here. This is the filter for the drain.

It’s good idea every once in a while to rinse this out.

You might see little food boogers that get caught down here. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever taken off the top, so I’m gonna take that one off too. Wanna see some of my crud? Eeeew! Gross!

So neither one of these seems to be clogged. Let the investigation continue! Alright, so, something else I’m going to do is make sure that I haven’t inadvertently turned the water down to a lower pressure that goes to the dishwasher.

Because, you know, I’m always down here doing articles. The valve that controls the dishwasher is this one right here, and it is up as high as it will go. That’s off, that’s on.

This floater here, which is this guy here. And I think it just kind of pops right out.

really crudded up with

On yours it might screw out. This will actually kind of rise and fall based on the water level in your dishwasher, and if it isn’t sitting at the right level, that can cause problems too. I’m not seeing any build up though.

Let me see if I can see in there. The last thing I’m gonna do is just scrub the whole inside of the dishwasher with a little bit of vinegar. I noticed that that this filter was really nasty.

I mean it didn’t *look* that gross, but it was very oily and greasy, so I’m thinking maybe that’s the inside of the dishwasher is all like that. A lot of people would try to use bleach on this, but bleach doesn’t actually break down oil the same way that vinegar does.

Or Dawn, actually. Dawn is good. I’m just worried to use Dawn in here, and then have my whole kitchen be covered in suds. Ugh, nasty!

It’s funny, you think the inside of your dishwasher would be clean right?

Because it’s a dishwasher. But it actually can get pretty grimy. Alright, I am going to resort to using just a little bit of Dawn on this because it is really gunked up in here. Forgot a piece!

One last thing I’m gonna do is something you can do on a regular basis.

Actually you should do on a regular basis… Take about a cup or so of vinegar and put it on the top rack. Carefully… And then just run it on a regular cycle.

And that kind of gets a little bit of vinegar all through the whole thing, which will help to kind of keep it clean, and get all that nastiness out of there. Something else that can affect your dishwasher’s ability to clean your dishes well is low water flow, or inappropriate drainage. So, just to further torture myself, I decided to check both of those lines for blockage. ‘Cuz, you know, you might as well do the job right.

First I disconnected the drain line underneath the sink. “Yeah I’m using that dirty knife to do this. I couldn’t see any obvious blockage at that point, so I hooked it up to my Shop Vac to see if I could suction anything out of there. And nothing came out.

So I turned the water off and disconnected the water line, turned off the power, Unscrewed the dishwasher from where it’s attached to the counter. Since our dishwasher sits below the level of our Pergo flooring, I had to raise the legs using a socket wrench. Then I was able to pull the dishwasher out.

I had to lay it on its side to be able to get to the bottom. “Yeah, this is turning out to be a bigger project than I thought it was gonna be. I checked the drainage hose where it connects to the dishwasher. I couldn’t see any obvious clog, so I took it off and blew some water through it just to see if I could get anything out.

I then disconnected the water line from the water intake valve, which was a really big pain in the butt. “Ugh…Jesus!” Where the water line attaches to the dishwasher, there’s a water intake valve, and it has this screen on it. Kind of like on a faucet, and it gets really crudded up with sediment sometimes.

it is up as

And instead of trying to pull it off to clean it, which was proving to be very difficult, I decided to just use an old toothbrush and some vinegar to scrub it out. “As much as I wish this was vodka right now, it’s vinegar. The I reattached the water line, which proved to be an even more difficult task than it was to take it off. (frustrated scream) Reattached the drainage line, which was *also* difficult.

Then I slowly pushed the dishwasher in, while simultaneously pulling the drain line and the water line through the hole underneath the cabinet. I reattached the drain line and the water line. Turned the water back on.

Raised the legs back up to the level they needed to be.

Turned the power back on And THEN I started the dishwasher with the vinegar solution. I’ve condensed all that stuff down to about a minute and a half, but it actually took more like FOUR HOURS! Now the dishwasher is working great!

But I’m not sure which part of that made the biggest difference: Cleaning out all the grime on the inside of the dishwasher, or cleaning out that water intake valve. So my suggestion would definitely be to try to get all the grime out of the inside of your dishwasher first, run a few loads, and then if it’s still not working right, then go to the process of cleaning out the lines. And try to save yourself the headache.

As I was pushing this back in, this tube came off of the drain.

As it was running, the water was coming out and it went all the way down into the basement. There’s a lot of water down in my basement right now. Come here! Hello! Wanna sit? Why don’t you sit? Sally, come here! Sally…. She’s not going to do it. Sorry!