Independent forward-thinker, Josephine Cochrane decided there had to be an easier way to do the dishes, so she put her mind to inventing the first automatic dishwasher back in 1886 and we are very grateful she did! This wonderfully convenient machine has solved the tricky problem of deciding who should wash the dishes, no doubt saving more than a few marriages! In fact, many of us cannot imagine life without one but, as with all appliances, dishwashers do give trouble, often requiring maintenance or repairs. Let’s look at some of the most common problems and the steps to take to get those dishes clean and sparkling once again.

Problem 1: Dishes come out still dirty

This kind of problem renders a dishwasher rather useless so you need to take action. The first step is to do a check for food particles, grease or detergent on the strain screen, sprayer arms and door gasket and filter. You should regularly run a cleaning cycle using dishwasher cleaner on an empty washer. Another possible cause of dirty dishes could be that you are using old ineffective detergent. It is also important to load your machine carefully so that the spray arm has unobstructed movement in order to clean every item. If the problem persists, check that the spray arms are spinning smoothly during a cycle – uneven spinning may mean a service is needed to replace worn parts.

Problem 2: Dishwasher is suddenly very noisy

All dishwashers make a noise but if your machine is suddenly making a racket, you may have a serious problem. The pump may be defective or the wash arm seal or bearing ring may need to be replaced. If the spray arm is wobbly and no longer turning correctly it may start hitting the racks or dishes which could be rather serious! Our advice? Get a repairman in right away.

Problem 3: Dishwasher won’t start

After ensuring that everything is correctly plugged in and nothing has tripped at the electrical board, you might need to inspect the wiring for wear and tear. A dishwasher won’t start if the door is not properly closed so it is possible there could be a problem with the door latch. Alternatively the timer or selector switch may be faulty which would need to be assessed by a repairman.

Problem 4: It won’t fill with water or doesn’t drain

No water coming into the dishwasher? Step one would be to make sure that the machine is properly connected to the hot water supply under the sink. Water problems can also be caused by faulty parts such as the water inlet valve, pressure switch, floater or float switch or perhaps the timer is stuck on fill. After a wash cycle a small pool of water inside the machine is quite normal but if a large amount of water remains it is possible that the pump is no longer working or the drain hoses are clogged and in need of a clean out.

Problem 5: Dishes remain wet

The joy of dishwashers is that they not only wash the dishes but do the drying up too so it can be rather disconcerting to find that the dishes are still wet. The most likely explanation is a broken heating element that needs to be replaced.

Whatever the problem is, don’t get stuck doing the dishes due to a faulty dishwasher!
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