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Tips for Dishwasher Care

By Karen Lawson
Tips for Dishwasher Care

Dishwashers are convenient for homeowners because they save time that would otherwise be spent at the kitchen sink scrubbing pots and pans. Given proper care and maintenance, a dishwasher can work for many years. Here are some tips to keep your dishwasher working efficiently.

Safety first: Dishwashers require a grounded electrical connection. Never use an extension cord to power a dishwasher.

Dishwasher doesn't clean properly: Overloading or improperly loading it may be the culprit. Water and soap must freely flow over and between the items in the dishwasher to wash and rinse them properly. Dishwasher racks are designed to provide maximum washing efficiency--if they're properly loaded. See your owner's manual for loading tips.

Don't use extra cleaning products: Detergents designed for use in dishwashers don't need extra help from additional cleaners. Chemical reactions can occur that reduce the ability of your dishwasher to efficiently clean your dishes.

Address water problems: Water that contains excess minerals and or iron can discolor your dishes and leave build up in your dishwasher. Consider enhancing your home water system with a water softener and or iron filter.

Hot water problems: If the water supply is not hot enough, your dishwasher can run longer to heat the water to the proper temperature--about 120 degrees F. If your water heater isn't located near the dishwasher, run hot water through the faucet nearest the dishwasher just before running the dishwasher.

Cycling errors: If your dishwasher stops mid-cycle, it may be in a "soak" cycle that helps loosen and dissolve food particles. If it doesn't start, check the door to make sure it is properly latched. If your dishwasher stops with water standing in it, consult your owner's manual. Your owner's manual provides troubleshooting tips but major problems may require assistance from a professional repair service.

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