Simple Care for Your Dishwasher

simple care for your dishwasher

There are few things more satisfying than saving time and money simultaneously, and your dishwasher is one appliance that makes this possible. Not only do you get your dishes clean in a fraction of the time, dishwashers generally use less water and less water heater energy than washing dishes by hand.

But over the course of time, you may notice that your dishwasher doesn’t deliver the performance you’re used to, or it might start to develop an odor. A little TLC from time to time can help you avoid these issues.

To keep your appliance in shipshape, observe these essential maintenance steps:

Inspect the seals. Your dishwasher may well outlive the rubber gasket that forms a watertight seal around the door. If this happens, the gasket can crack and leak water onto your floor or into your cabinets. Contact your dishwasher’s manufacturer for a suitable replacement, or just call your local plumbing professional for repairs.

Clean the screen. At the bottom of your dishwasher, you’ll likely find a screen designed to catch large chunks of food or fallen silverware. This screen should be removed and cleaned regularly to ensure proper flow and avoid unpleasant odors.

Clear the spray arm nozzles. While dishwasher designs vary, most feature at least two removable, rotating arms lined with spray nozzles. Periodically remove these arms in accordance with your manufacturer’s instructions. Soak them in warm, soapy water and use a small bottle brush to clean each spray nozzle individually.

Fight mold and mildew. It’s not uncommon for mold or mildew to develop in a dishwasher, but fortunately, it’s easy to treat this problem. Simply pour about two cups of white or apple cider vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run it on the heaviest setting to clean things up.

Check the level. Use a bubble level on the floor of the dishwasher to ensure that it’s sitting flat, and adjust the dishwasher’s legs if it’s not. An off-kilter dishwasher can result in diminished performance and drainage issues.

Confirm proper drain line design. Most household plumbing drains feature a drain trap -- a u-shaped section of pipe close to the drain opening. This trap can not only save your dropped wedding ring, it can help contain odors by creating a watertight seal between the sewer line and the appliance. But if your dishwasher drain line was accidentally installed on the wrong side of the drain trap, nasty odors could come wafting into your kitchen.

By taking a few minutes each week to observe these simple steps, you can prolong the life of your dishwasher and make your kitchen a more pleasant place to be. If you need any additional help with the dishwasher in your home, reach out to your local plumbing pros.