Don’t ignore your dishwasher – doc.

Sunday, March 13th, 2005


The dishwasher is the unheralded hero in many kitchens, often forgotten until something goes wrong. Susan Bagwell from the service department at Trail Appliances Ltd. shares some tips to help keep this hard-working appliance running smoothly.

“The first thing I would suggest is to check your soap,” she says, especially if you buy in bulk.

“People don’t realize that it will get old, break down and form clumps in the damp environment under the sink. If it’s old, it won’t do the job it’s intended to do.”

Store it in an airtight plastic container such as a cereal-keeper.

She also suggests avoiding liquid detergents.

Trail’s technicians have found they sometimes don’t dissolve properly, producing a filmy deposit that can create problems with the pump.

Bagwell emphasizes the need for the water going into the dishwasher to be hot right from the start.

“Turn your hot water tap on in the sink first, and when it runs hot, then turn your dishwasher on,” she says.

“If you’re letting cold water into the dishwasher, it’s not getting the soap to dissolve fully.”

A milky film on your glasses or little brown granules on your top rack indicate undissolved soap.

For maintenance try the following tips, courtesy of Bagwell:

– Hard water can be tough on appliances. To help reduce the effect, place a bowl of vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher, and run it through a cycle. Follow a regular vinegar schedule every three to four months.

– Mineral and other deposits can eventually block the small holes in the spray arms. Turn off the power and water supply to the dishwasher, and remove the upper and lower arms. Clean the holes with a vinegar-soaked cotton swab or a thin metal rod that will break away the deposits.

– A strainer and/or filter is often located at the bottom of the dishwasher, below the spray arm.

Remove any debris, and gently scrub the filter clean with a plastic brush.

– Check accessible hoses for loose clamps to tighten or replace. Examine the door seal for leaks or loose areas; clean it with a rag dampened in a vinegar-and-water solution. If the plastic coating on the racks is chipped, touch it up to prevent rust from transferring to your dishes.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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