25 January 2011
Dear Maintenance Men:
My units all have dishwashers. I am starting to get complaints from the residents that the dishwashers do not clean the dishes as well as they did when new. What is the problem and what can I do about it?
1. Check that the dishwasher’s filter or grates are not clogged. The filters are commonly found under the rotating spray arms at the bottom of the dishwasher. The filters normally snap in and out of place. Remove them gently and watch for broken glass.
2. Check the operation of the water inlet solenoid valve. It should open and close crisply.
3. Related to the inlet valve is the water level sensor. The sensor looks like a small upside down cup or float, normally located at the front corner of the tub. Calcium buildup can sometimes cause the water level sensor float to malfunction, causing too little water to be allowed into the dishwasher. Cleaning the float area with vinegar should help.
4. The temperature of the water going into the dishwasher should be at least 140 degrees.
5. Hard water is most likely the biggest hindrance to having clean-looking dishes. The dishes may actually be clean, but look dingy or milky. Hard water will cause calcium and mineral deposits to adhere to all wet areas of the dishwasher and over time the dishes themselves.
The rotating spray arms may fill with mineral buildup and clog. To remove the hard water deposits, run the dishwasher empty on its longest setting—usually the pots and pans setting. Add a few cups of vinegar to the water without soap or dishes. Run the dishwasher with clear water through a short cycle to flush the vinegar before using again.
6. Installation of a soft water system will greatly improve the performance of any dishwasher, as will using name brand dishwashing soap.