The reasons dishwashers may cease cleaning effectively range from simple issues, such as needing a thorough clean, to more complex ones, like a defective drain pump.
In this extensive guide, we will discuss the top 5 reasons and then give you detailed instructions on how to fix them.
Reason 1 – the dishwasher is dirty
The primary reason dishwashers stop cleaning effectively is due to dirt buildup. Therefore, cleaning your dishwasher thoroughly every few months is essential to keep it functioning optimally. Thankfully, this is very simple to do.
Here’s the solution to a dirty dishwasher:
- To clean your dishwasher, start by removing the spray arms. You can then wash them in the sink with hot soapy water. Make sure you clean out any loose debris in the holes.
- Next, remove the lower rack and then the lower panel. Usually, the panel can just be pulled out. Once removed, clean it in the sink with hot soapy water.
- Remove the filter from the dishwasher and clean it well in the sink with hot soapy water.
- Clean all interior surfaces with a heavy-duty spray cleaning product. You’ll also need a couple of cloths and a non-scratch cleaning pad for any hard-to-remove stains. Make sure you pay special attention to the detergent drawer.
- Once all the components are clean, place them back into the dishwasher.
- Next, clean the door seal/gasket using a cleaning spray and cloth. You can also use a brush to get into the hard-to-reach parts of the seal/gasket.
- Fill the detergent drawer with your usual detergent. You can also place a few tablespoons of detergent or a cleaning tablet on the floor of your dishwasher.
- Select the heavy-duty cycle with the highest temperature setting.
- After the cycle ends, wipe the inside of your dishwasher and leave the door open to allow it to air dry.
- After your next dishwashing cycle, check if your dishwasher is cleaning effectively. If not, move on to reason number two.
Reason 2 – the detergent drawer is faulty
Another reason your dishwasher may not clean correctly is due to a defective detergent drawer. If the drawer does not open or release detergent during the cycle, your dishes will not come out clean. This issue may arise if you are not using the detergent recommended by the manufacturer, so ensure that you are using the correct detergent.
Here’s the solution to a defective detergent drawer:
- Select your usual wash cycle on the dishwasher.
- After the dishwasher has filled with water, press pause and open the door.
- Check if the drawer has opened and the detergent has gone from it.
- If the detergent drawer has worked, move on to reason three. However, if it has not worked, allow the cycle to finish, and then check if the spring in the drawer is defective. You can test this by opening and closing the drawer. If it cannot operate normally, it is likely defective.
- If defective, it will need replacing. If the spring is not defective, you will need a second opinion from a technician.
Reason 3 – the water inlet valve is faulty
The next possible cause to investigate is a faulty water inlet valve. The valve is responsible for ensuring your dishwasher gets the right amount of water during the wash cycle. When it becomes defective, your dishwasher might be unable to clean the dishes properly.
Here’s the solution to a faulty water inlet valve:
- Turn both the water and power supply off to your appliance.
- Locate the water inlet valve (it’s at the back of the appliance, so you will need to pull it out from the wall).
- Unscrew the valve and inspect it for signs of damage or if it’s blocked. If so, unblock it. If damaged, it will need replacing.
- If it isn’t blocked or damaged, test it with a multimeter for continuity. If it fails the test, replace it. If it passes the test, move on to the next reason.
- After installing the new water inlet valve, run your dishwasher on a standard wash cycle with a load of dishes. If the dishes are still not cleaned properly, move on to reason four.
Reason 4 – the circulation pump is faulty
Another issue to consider is a faulty circulation pump. The pump is responsible for distributing water throughout the dishwasher, and if it becomes defective, it can prevent your dishwasher from cleaning properly.
Here’s the solution to a faulty circulation pump.
- Switch the power and water supply off.
- Locate the circulation pump (check your user manual if necessary).
- Remove the pump from the dishwasher and test it with a multimeter for continuity.
- If it passes the test, reattach the pump and move on to reason five. If it fails the test, replace the circulation pump. This can be done by first purchasing a replacement pump and then installing it.
- Once installed, turn your dishwasher onto your regular wash cycle with a load of dishes. If the dishes are still not coming out clean, move on to reason 5.
Step 5 – test the drain pump
The final reason to investigate is a faulty drain pump. When it becomes defective, water and other debris can accumulate in the dishwasher after each cycle. This can cause the dishwasher to inadequately clean dishes in subsequent cycles.
Here’s the solution to a faulty drain pump.
- Switch the power and water supply off.
- Locate the drain pump (check your user manual if necessary).
- Remove the drain pump from the dishwasher and test it with a multimeter for continuity.
- If it passes the test, reattach the pump. At this stage, you should consider getting a technician to come and inspect your appliance. If it fails the test, replace the drain pump. This can be done by first purchasing a replacement pump and then installing it.
- Once installed, turn your dishwasher onto your regular wash cycle with a load of dishes. If the dishes are still not coming out clean, consider calling a technician to come and inspect your dishwasher.