The holidays seem to test the true capacity and cleaning power of your dishwasher. Although some wash by hand, those who have dishwashers rely on them pretty heavily this time of year. Keep them running like new, or as close to it as possible with these simple tips!
Amy Wood over from Mr Appliance shared a few dishwasher efficiency tips after our recent post on 7 Kitchen Crannies To Clean Before The Holidays. We'd already been doing several of them, but a few were new to us, so we thought they might be to you as well.
- Run An Empty Load With Vinegar: It’s the same concept as running a vinegar load in your washing machine, you simply toss a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. It cleans out old food particles to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.
- Don't Confuse Scraping For Washing: No one wants to wash their dishes before they wash their dishes, it's just silly. But you wouldn't want to eat a Thanksgiving dinner and then go run a marathon right after, well neither does your dishwasher. Scrape food bits off before loading up to help reduce particulates stuck on dishes once the cycle is over.
- Run The Hot Water Before Starting: Load your dishes like normal and then run the hot water in your kitchen sink until it's hot to the touch. By doing this, it means your first fill cycle will be hot instead of cold water running in until it finally makes its way over from the hot water heater. This is an especially important tip in winter time as it takes an extra amount of time!
- Check Your Water Heater's Temperature: There's a joke about where to put the thermometer, but we'll pass this time around. Make sure your water heater is set between 120-125 degrees. Many units are shipped new with much lower heat. Don't be tempted to do higher however or else it will cause water to flash dry and not roll off your dishes, taking the ends of the dirty bits with it.
- Use The Right Cycle: It's tempting to use a lower setting to save on bills, but make sure you're washing all your super dirty dishes by hand if that's the case. Just like doing your laundry, keep soil levels together when washing to end up with the best performance.
- Don't Double Up On Rinse Aid: When looking to purchase a new soap for your dishwasher, make note if it includes a rinse aid. If it does, then there's no need to add any extra. If it doesn't, skip the extra purchase and just fill the reservoir with white vinegar. It'll do the trick every time!
- Test Your Water: Hard water is killer on dishes and your ability to really get things clean. Make sure to have things tested and soften accordingly.
- Don't Over Crowd: It's something that's easier said than done. It's quite tempting to layer in one more bowl or plate to avoid hand washing. Just remember, it's easier to wash a few pieces by hand than it is to rerun an entire load because things were too tightly packed.
- Clean The Traps: Down in no mans land, under the lower sprayer, there's usually a piece that is removable. Under it you'll usually find bits of food that didn't make it out the drain or even pet hair (as gross as that thought is) if you have a fur ball of any kind running around your home. Sometimes the tray comes out fully so it can be rinsed in the sink, sometimes a towel is needed to remove the gunk build up.
- Clean Your Seals: After a few months of use, your dishwasher accumulates a little bit of ick and stick around the rubber gasket in the door as well and often around the soap door as well. Make sure to give them a once over with a damp towel to keep the grime down.