If you’re looking for ways to improve dishwasher performance, a few small tweaks to your routine make a big impact. You don’t need to resort to handwashing dishes just to ensure their best clean. After all, that’s what the dishwasher is for, to begin with!

Improve Dishwasher Performance with These Tips

Properly loading your dishwasher, using the right detergent, and performing regular maintenance are all ways to improve dishwasher performance. Let’s dive a little deeper.

Tip #1: Scrape but Don’t Prewash Dishes

If you have a dishwasher not cleaning dishes, you may be precleaning them too well. I know, this sounds counterintuitive. But dish detergent actually works with the food residue to activate the enzymes that get the dishes clean. So the best way to prepare dishes for the dishwasher is to scrape debris off, but don’t prewash them.

Load dishes into the dishwasher, food residue and all. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that this time-saving step actually assists in the cleaning process… and you didn’t have to do all the work!

dishwasher not cleaning dishes

Pre-rinsing isn’t necessary!

Tip #2: Load Your Dishwasher Properly

Learn how to improve dishwasher performance by understanding how to load your dishwasher properly. Individual dishwasher models have recommended methods on loading that maximizes performance. Here are some basic tips to help you load it correctly.

  • Load utensils so the soiled end is up – except for knives, which face down for safety reasons.
  • Place large and bulky items on the bottom rack, taking care not to block the spray arms.
  • Small items, cups, and plastics should be placed on the top rack.
  • When applicable, place specialty items in the appropriate dishwasher accessory. (i.e., chopsticks, wine glasses, etc.)
  • Always check to be sure items are dishwasher-safe and keep spray arms free from obstruction.
  • Avoid overfilling the dishwasher – it can only handle so much.
how to improve dishwasher performance

Large dishes on the bottom.

Tip #3: Use Proper Detergent

Using the wrong detergent can be the culprit when your dishwasher leaves greasy film on the dishes. Dishwasher liquid is popular because it’s easy to use, but it lacks the enzymes necessary to break down food residue. Additionally, if you don’t have the rinse agent compartment filled, leftover residue from the wash cycle may be left behind, leaving dishes feeling greasy.

The debate on dishwasher gel or powder better points the win to the powder. Dishwasher powder includes bleach for stain-fighting and enzymes for breaking down food. This dynamic duo is a powerhouse compared to dishwasher liquid. And dishwasher powder won’t get gummy around the parts, which means they are less likely to need repair.

If you have very hard water, choose a detergent designed for hard water to eliminate hard water deposits.

Tip #4: Clean Your Dishwasher Filter & Spray Arms

If you notice your dishwasher not cleaning bottom rack items well, your appliance might need some cleaning. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Regularly check drains to ensure they are clear from debris.
  • Periodically clean the sprayer arms and rubber seals to prevent residue buildup.
  • Remove and clean filters every couple of months to ensure efficiency.

If your TLC hasn’t quite cut it and you believe your dishwasher is still not operating as it should, chances are, your dishwasher needs to be serviced. For dishwasher repair in the Greater Columbia Area, contact Sloan Appliance – we look forward to serving you!