This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine because I have experienced firsthand what happens when a dishwasher is not properly maintained. I can still remember moving into a new “luxury” apartment complex only to open my dishwasher and becoming overwhelmed with a foul smell. When I looked inside the dishwasher, there was caked-on gunk around the seals and drain. The building was only two years and I doubt the dishwashing machine had been “cleaned” once since it had been installed.
We want to make sure you never have that problem, so here are some common preventive maintenance tips for you to use to keep your dishwasher clean and working perfectly.
Signs Your Dishwasher Needs to TLC
Decreased effectiveness – Your dishes are not coming out 100 percent clean or you are noticing a residue left on them.
Drain issues – if you notice that water is pooling inside the dishwasher instead of completely draining, it is likely a plumbing issue.
Leaking – this is pretty self-explanatory and usually means you probably have a gasket that needs to be replaced.
Unpleasant odors – this is the exact scenario I described above, but this is a relatively easy fix that some cleaning tabs and a little elbow grease can solve.
Wear and tear – if you do not PM your dishwasher, you can start to see worn gaskets, damaged or rusty dish racks, and clogged sprayers.
PM for Your Dishwasher
Deep Cleaning – I know… it sounds crazy that you have to clean something that cleans something, but you do. White vinegar is the miracle cure for this, as you can run a cycle with a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf of the dishwasher. They also sell cleaning tabs to use where you run a cycle for the same purpose. You should do this at least once a quarter.
Fill in Chips – it is not uncommon to see chips inside the dishwasher when some items start to fly around if they get loose inside the dishwasher during a cleaning cycle. Visit your local hardware store to buy dishwasher rack paint and fill in those chips.
Replace Gaskets – make it a habit of checking your gaskets when you do a deep cleaning. They could be worn or start to see mold buildup over time. Replace them as needed.
Prerinse – I don’t care what the dishwasher maker brags about, take a second or two to pre-rinse the dishes before you put them into the dishwasher. It is far better to wash extra food and grease down your drain and into your garbage disposal than it is to just put them into the dishwasher.
Citrus Rules – When in doubt, use citrus. Personally, I love adding a little lemon or lime juice to the cycle for some added freshness. You can also use a powered lemonade or limeade drink mix instead of dishwashing soap and run an empty dishwasher through a cycle.
Schedule PM – it will not hurt to have an appliance repair technician pay a visit to your appliances once a year to give them a little TLC. Just have them come in and check all your major appliances. You likely have thousands invested in them, so a $100 visit once a year is money well spent.