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Some Helpful Dishwashing Tips

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Here are some helpful dishwashing tips. They are subjective, of course, but may be helpful to some.  I'm sure there are plenty of others to add to the list:


Ever since automatic dishwashing soap manufacturers moved to phosphate-free soaps a few years ago , dishwashing soap has just not worked as well as it used to. This is great news for the environment, but has not been so great for dishwashing. Even my favorite leading brand has been leaving customers frustrated, often thinking that their dishwashers were defective. I get lots of service calls for “dishwashers not cleaning,” which often points to a soap problem.

So what can you do? Here are five tips for helping your dishwasher perform its best:

  1. Use only one brand of soap: Finish Quantum tablets. It seems no soap works quite as well as the old phosphate-laden soaps, but this one is head and shoulders above the others. They are formulated differently from other tablets.

  2. Use a dishwasher cleaner like Lemishine Dishwasher Cleaner every 20-30 washes. This cleaner has citric acid as its base, which seems to work better than white vinegar and other cleaners.

  3. Always use a rinse aid. Lemishine actually makes a rinse aid now, but ones like Jet Dry or Cascade Crystal Clear should do just fine. Usually about 4 oz. will last 20-30 washes. Most importantly, it helps them dry well, which is becoming even more important for newer dishwashers that use little to no heat on drying cycles.

  4. Use the hottest wash option. In general,  shorter cycles and lower energy usage = lower performance. Extra heat options are often available on wash and rinse cycles. These may add length to the cycle time, but the extra energy use is negligible (and still use considerably less than your mother’s dishwasher.) If no extra heat option is available, go for the longer wash cycle, often labeled “Power Wash,” “Pots and Pans,” etc.

  5. Clean out any internal filters after every wash. Imports like Bosch and Asko have at least one (most Bosch have three). Newer domestic models are starting to include these. Even if you do not have a filter, at least inspect the wash arm area at the bottom of your dishwasher for debris. It can clog your wash arms and reduce performance.   

Edited by Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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