Chances are, unless your dishwasher is completely brand new, it probably is not working as efficiently as you would like. However, there are steps you can take to make sure your appliance is working the best it can. Here are a few tips.
Remember the Purpose
The first step to making sure your dishwasher is running an optimal performance is to remember its purpose. Dishwashers are designed to wash dishes at a hot enough temperature to disinfect them, killing any germs or bacteria left behind from food. A dishwasher’s job is not, however, to clean off goo from over a week ago. Remember this next time you insert dishes.
Check the Drain
The second step is to make sure the drain at the bottom of the inside of the dishwasher is free from any debris or food pieces. These pieces are going to get swirled around onto your dishes when the appliance is running, so the best bet is to get rid of them. Use paper towels or a soft cloth to remove the debris.
Having hot enough water is also important to have a working dishwasher. If your hot water heater is not set to a high enough temperature, there is no way the machine will be working to its best capacity. Check the manual or an online instruction guide for your dishwasher’s particular target water heat.
Prepare the Dishes
As mentioned previously, a dishwasher is not designed for removing large quantities of stuck-on food from dishes. Instead, rinse each dish as best as possible before inserting it into the dishwasher. Make sure all large food chunks and pieces are removed. (Sauce stains and purees are a little bit easier for a dishwasher to handle.)
Even dishwashers need to be cleaned once in a while. Remove all dishes from the machine. Pour a half-gallon of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. Run the appliance on the hottest water setting. This will remove any sediment or hard water stains keeping your machine from running at best efficiency.
Choose Quality Soap
Sometimes the easiest options are the most overlooked. Try selecting a quality soap designed for automatic dishwashers. Often, the cheaper varieties do not allow the machine to clean as best as possible. If the budget is a priority, try just adding a rinse agent instead of upgrading soap brands.
TIP: If you have tried all the above tips and your dishwasher is still not working well, it is probably time to call a repairman to conduct routine maintenance.