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How do I clean and maintain a dishwasher? Answered

My dishwasher is plagued by hard water & bits of food clinging to dishes.  I'd like to find was to clean and do routine maintenance on it in hopes of removing (or at lessening) the problem.  Thanks!

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seandogue

2 years ago

I pour a quart of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher every few months, along with about 1/4 the normal amount of detergent in the soap tray, and do a full cycle on high heat to remove odors that seem to build up over time.

As to the other, and echoing what others have said, I was raised to see the dishwasher as more of a sterilizer than a food scrubber. I always rinse well before putting dishes and silverware into it. None has crusty bits still stuck on by the time they enter the dishwasher.

Also, check the area around the drain. If you've been washing without pre-rinse, there may be junk that never gets rinsed out of the unit and it's being recirculated every time the dishes are done.

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Downunder35m

2 years ago

As Vyger already pointed out stuff that goes into a dishwasher should be free from food residue.
Anything bigger than the fine filter at the bottom and the results are far from perfect.
I services some commercial dishwashers using high pressure and the most common problem was always that kitchen hands assumed they can put into the machine what they like.
Worst is pasta and egg...
As for the hard water I tend to say the best option is to use a dedicated water softener as recommended on the packing.
For the big cleanup you want to do:
Take apart what comes apart like the rotating arms off, the drawers out, filter out...
Either use industrial cleaners for the task or the good old vinegar and salt (fine) method.
This will remove most of the calcium deposits.
After that you take half a cup of crystalline citric acid as the "detergent" and do a run with an empty machine (all parts back in of course).
This should remove the remaining bits and pieces you could not really reach by hand.
Once the machine is happy again you simply use some water and a brush to remove most food remains from the dishes before putting them in.
If you use the machine often do a weekly cleaout of the filter.

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Vyger

2 years ago

First: as far as "bits of food" -- I have never really believed the hype that you can put totally dirty dishes with food on them in a dishwasher and everything comes out clean. Now industrial ones, maybe, but not the little retail ones. So I rinse off the dishes before I put them in the washer. Yeah, it takes more time, but they always come out clean. For me the dishwasher is more about sterilization than anything else.

For hardwater there are not many answers other than getting a water softener. You can clean out the machine with something like CLR and that will remove the deposits for a little while but you will have to use it with the dishes to get the film off the dishes, And a treatment does not last that long, with out something cleaning the water you will not have it go away.

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iceng

2 years ago

A water softener and different detergent.

Don't believe a service tech, unless it makes sense, because it cuts into trade.

.

As an example our oven door springs had to be replaced every 8 mos because the door would not close tight enough to put the oven lamp out... I learned to replace door springs myself but still had to replace every 7 mos.. Finally two years ago I added two NIB magnets 2"x1/4"x3/16" to one on each high side.

It works perfect now.