Problems with a dishwasher you can fix yourself

No-one wants the expense of calling in a service engineer, especially when they tell you that the problem with your dishwasher could have easily been resolved by you.  You must also bear in mind that even though you may have a current Warranty for a new machine, or you have an Extended Warranty, if the problem is not caused by a fault with the machine, you may well be charged for the call out plus the engineer’s  time.

Do you regularly add Rinse Aid to your dishwasher?

The purpose of Rinse Aid is to break down the surface area of water, ensuring that it ‘rinses’ off completely.  When you either do not use a rinse aid at all, or the doseage setting is incorrect, the result is that your dishes are left with a streaky effect after completion of a cycle.  If you have this problem it is far more noticeable on glassware.



Rinse aid should also be used in conjunction with as good a quality of detergent you can afford.  Buying a cheaper detergent can actually cost more in the end.  Detergent at the cheaper end of the market can sometimes not dissolve completely, leaving you with a sticky finish on your crockery, either requiring a second wash cycle, or extra time and effort to wash them by hand.  Undissolved detergent can also leave an unpleasant mess in the soap dispenser, or even block the filter.

Once you are used to your particular model, you will be able to pick up this fault and be able to resolve the problem before it can cause you any major problem.

Dirt left on dishes

This can be caused by not using rinse aid, as detailed above, but can also be caused by the following:

  • The filter and spray arms need to be cleaned
  • Poor loading of the dishwasher
  • Dirt in your water supply

You should check in your Manufacturer’s handbook, as this will explain how to work through this list, and with instructions on how you can remove and clean the parts easily.

If you still have the problem once you have tried the suggestions in your handbook, you could buy one of the well-known Dishwasher Cleaners which you can find in your supermarket.  These are very good and may well be able to remove the blockages that you have been unable to access.

Avoiding food being left on crockery

You should see a great improvement in the finish of your crockery if you follow the above suggestions, but you may still find some items that have food debris baked on. Carefully scraping plates before loading into the machine will definitely help.  Some foods are more difficult to remove by scraping – weetabix, porridge and fried eggs, are a prime example.  It is a good idea to also rinse these plates off under running water prior to loading into your machine.  

Cutlery developing blemishes

You would expect that stainless steel cutlery should last for a very long time, but some items do start to show blemishes and spots.  Unfortunately, this could be due to the quality of the cutlery and the finish applied in the factory.  Again, there is nothing really you can do about this apart from to replace the items when they become too marked.

If you have silver cutlery, you may be able to purchase a specific container for your machine, but this is only available from some manufacturers.  To avoid damage, it is probably best to hand wash.  This also goes for the bronze or bronze-plated cutlery.  All these items should be clearly marked ‘not suitable for dishwashers’ at the point of purchase.

Items still wet at the end of a cycle

This could be caused by either no rinse aid or insufficient doseage of the rinse aid.  You should try not to open a dishwasher for about 30 minutes after a cycle is completed.  This should give you clean and dry dishes.

Rusting inside the dishwasher 

Steel pots and pans are usually the main cause of this problem.  If you notice any rusting around nuts and bolts in your pans, you should no longer wash these in the dishwasher.  This should resolve this problem.

One thing to bear in mind when adding dishwasher salt to your machine is that you should wipe off any excess of salt once at the end of filling.  These excess salt granules can be washed into the smaller areas of your machine, and can cause problems.

Other common faults:

  • Dirty water in the bottom of the machine.  Check the machine is installed correctly as the water is likely to be coming back into the appliance from the drainage system.  Refer to your Manufacturer’s Handbook.
  • No power – if the fuse and wiring are OK, your best option is to call in an engineer as this is more than likely a fault with the machine.
  • If the dishwasher does not fill and your water supply is connected, you should call an engineer as this indicates a fault with the machine.
  • Your dishwasher is not cleaning properly, if you have tried all the above suggestions, you will need to call in an engineer.



Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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