Why is my dishwasher not cleaning the dishes?

By: The Cleancult Team

August 20, 2018

Tired of your dishes being dirty, you went ahead and started the dishwasher on a normal wash cycle. However, your dishes came out...not clean. Why? Why is life so cruel? Well, a simple cleaning of your dishwasher may solve the problem. However, other times more intensive fixes will be needed for you dishwasher to be back on its feet and cleaning your dishes. In short: dishwasher stopped working but you don’t know why? Don’t fret, we have your back.

Possible reasons

Debris on dishes - Instead of putting extremely soiled dishes with bits of dried-up food in your dishwasher, make sure you pre-wash dishes first (even maybe soak them for a bit in warm water with a bit of liquid dish soap) and remove food scraps that may be hard to dissolve in the dishwasher. It might be the case that your dishwasher is not be able to effectively remove all of the grime and food debris without a pre-rinse first, thus effectively not cleaning your dishes properly.

Low water temperature - Water that’s not hot enough may not effectively clean your dishes. To test your water temperature, run hot water in the sink before starting the dishwasher. Fill a glass with the hot water and use a thermometer to test the water temperature. It should be between 120°F and 150°F. If it’s not, adjust the temperature on your water heater.

Wrong type of detergent - It’s important to always know which type of water runs through your home (soft or hard water). Why? Because different detergents react and work differently with both types of water; for example: dishwasher detergent pods and other brands of gel cleaners. If you live in an area with hard water, you may need a certain type of dishwasher detergent to properly clean your dishes. This is especially noticeable in glass cups, mugs, and other types of glasses. In short, always read the back labels of every detergent and be sure that they meet the conditions that actually apply to your area.

Insufficient water in the dishwasher —This is an incredibly common problem. The quantity of water that your dishwasher gets is very important in the cleaning of dishes. To determine if your dishwasher is getting enough water, start a wash cycle and then open the door when you hear the machine stop filling with water. The water should reach the heating coil. If it doesn’t, make sure the float valve is operating freely and the inlet valve isn’t clogged.

Faulty inlet valve —Inlet valves that are starting to fail will make a hammering noise. If you hear this sound, replace the inlet valve immediately.

Damaged inlet valve - The water inlet valve can sometimes become clogged with food articles and other debris. If you see or hear that your valve is damaged, go ahead to the store and buy a replacement. Trying to fix your inlet valve will most likely result in you damaging or breaking it.

All of these didn’t work? Try deep cleaning your dishwasher! You’ll be surprised to how the quality of the wash improves dramatically by just having the dishwasher being clean. If even after getting everything here done, your dishwasher still doesn’t run as it should, then it might be time to call an expert. If your dishwasher needs to be replaced, your home warranty will typically cover the entire cost of the replacement, depending on the warranty limitations and exclusions, and all you’ll have to pay is the trade service fee to the contractor. All home warranty plans are different, so be sure to know your home warranty terms and conditions before buying a replacement dishwasher.