A man and a child standing in front of a dishwasher, questioning its maintenance.

Is There Any Maintenance for a Dishwasher?

Your dishwasher is one of the most frequently used appliances in your kitchen. Like any machine, it requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly for years to come. Neglecting maintenance can lead to decreased cleaning performance, higher energy bills, and costly repairs down the road.

This comprehensive guide will overview everything you need to know about maintaining your dishwasher so it stays in pristine condition. We’ll cover cleaning tasks, components to inspect, preventative measures, and tips to maximize efficiency. Follow these dishwasher care best practices and your unit will give you sparkling clean dishes for the long haul!

Step 1: Thoroughly Clean Inside the Dishwasher

It’s important to periodically give your dishwasher a deep clean to prevent buildup of food, grease, soap scum, and other gunk. Here are some tasks to tackle:

Clean Out the Filter/Strainer

The filter or strainer catches all the debris from your dish cycles. It needs regular cleaning so it doesn’t get clogged.

  • Locate the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher (check manual for exact location).
  • Remove the filter and rinse under hot water, scrubbing with an old toothbrush if needed.
  • Check under and around the filter area for any built-up debris. Scrub away any gunk with a sponge.
  • Reinsert the filter once cleaned.

Check and Clean the Spray Arms

Make sure the spray arms are rotating freely and water is coming out of the spray jets.

  • Remove any stuck-on food using a toothpick or small brush.
  • Rotate the arms by hand to confirm they spin properly.
  • If spray jets are clogged, use a thumbtack to gently unclog them.

Scrub Inside the Dishwasher Tub

Use a soft sponge or cloth with warm soapy water to wipe down the interior, including the door lining. Pay special attention to the gaskets and crevices where grease can collect. An old toothbrush is handy for scrubbing small spaces. For tough stains, try baking soda or dishwasher cleaner.

Deodorize with Vinegar

White vinegar naturally breaks down soap scum, grease, and limescale. The acidic vinegar also kills bacteria and removes odors.

  • Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the empty dishwasher.
  • Run a normal cycle with the vinegar to clean and deodorize.
  • For extreme odors, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom too. The chemical reaction helps eliminate scents.

Step 2: Inspect Key Components and Parts

In addition to cleaning, inspect key dishwasher parts to identify potential problems. Addressing minor issues now prevents headaches later.

Check Door Alignment and Sealing

If the door doesn’t close properly or the seal is cracked, it can impact cleaning performance.

  • Make sure the dishwasher door shuts completely and latches into place.
  • Look for any gaps between the door and unit, indicating misalignment.
  • Inspect the rubber door seal for cracking or splitting.
  • Use sealant epoxy if seal is damaged. Replace seal if severely cracked.

Examine Hoses

The inlet and drain hoses should be free of cracks or blockages.

  • Check inlet hose for kinks, cracks, bulges (indicates leakage).
  • Confirm drain hose isn’t pinched behind dishwasher.
  • Ensure connections at water source and disposal unit are secure.
  • Replace any hoses that are damaged or leaking. Install steel-braided hoses.

Test Door Gasket

A leaky door gasket will allow water to escape during the wash cycle.

  • Apply food coloring or colored chalk around the door gasket.
  • Run a short cycle. If color leaks out, the gasket isn’t sealing properly.
  • Use baking soda and vinegar solution to clean the door gasket. Replace if very worn.

Check Roller Wheels

The rollers allow the dish racks to slide smoothly in and out.

  • Pull out racks and spin roller wheels. They should move freely.
  • Apply silicone spray lubricant to sticky or squeaky wheels.

Step 3: Implement Preventative Maintenance

Certain best practices will keep your dishwasher running efficiently for longer. Make these habits part of your regular routine:

Don’t Pre-Rinse Dishes

It might be tempting to rinse dishes before loading, but it’s unnecessary. The wash cycle is designed to remove debris without pre-rinsing. Scrape off chunks of food, but leave rest on dishes.

Use Rinse Aid Regularly

Rinse aid improves drying, prevents water spots, and helps dishes come out crystal clear.

  • Check rinse aid compartment monthly. Refill as needed.
  • Increase dispenser setting if dishes aren’t drying well or have film/spots.

Run Monthly Self-Cleaning Cycle

Even if you don’t have a full load, run dishwasher once a month. This circulates water to prevent any odors or mold from developing in stagnant water.

Use Recommended Detergent Type and Amount

Use the detergent type specified in your owner’s manual. The amount of detergent depends on your water hardness. Too much or too little detergent can negatively impact cleaning.

Regular maintenance keeps your dishwasher running like new! Refer to your manual for model-specific care tips. With proper cleaning and preventative tasks, your dishwasher should continue providing spotless dishes for years to come.