5 Common Dishwasher Usage Mistakes

Dejan Josipovic
5 Minute Read

The most common dishwasher type found in Australian homes is the freestanding dishwasher, as they are the easiest to install. Each of the leading appliance brands, such as Miele, Westinghouse, Beko, Bosch, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Smeg, Euromaid, Euro, Artusi and Altus, have several available models on white, stainless steel, dark stainless steel and black colours.

Here are our expert tips on avoiding some of the most common mistakes, from rinsing solid dishes and avoiding poor dishwasher tablets to ignoring clogged filters.

It seems the operation of majority of domestic dishwashers is simple. You load the dishes, place the tablet inside, ensure you have rinse aid, press start, and wash the dishes within an hour.

In this article we will look at the following

  • 1. Keep dishwasher door closed when not in use
  • 2. Rinsing dishes before wash
  • 3. Use of poor detergents
  • 4. Cutlery stacked incorrectly
  • 5. Not maintaining the filters

The Appliance Guys dishwasher repair expert, Adam Zammit, who works on the road for most of the year repairing dishwashers, will tell you there's a wide gap between customers who understand how to use their dishwasher correctly in terms of getting the optimal wash result from their dishwasher compared to those who don't. You could be an amateur, but you don't realize it because you don't recognize it.

Adam and the team at The Appliance Guys repair & install dishwashers daily and have been doing this kind of work for over a decade and have tons of experience. Over the years, they have exposed some serious shockers and discovered some of the best models.

In order to learn from the mistakes of the past, we outline the everyday mistakes to avoid, as well as tips for saving money, precious water and time that you can apply to your daily life.

1. Keep dishwasher door closed when not in use

Many people with dishwashers in their kitchens don't know this but it makes sense if you think about it. For several reasons, leaving the dishwasher door slightly ajar between washes is a good idea. In the same way that your washing machine is a wet environment, your dishwasher is also in a damp environment, and its rubber door seals get fragile over time. If the dishwasher door is shut, the seals won't be able to dry out, promoting mould growth and leaving you with foul odours. As a result, your seals may become worn over time and not seal properly. Keeping your unit ajar will help them retain their shape for extended periods.
Whirlpool Dishwasher Door Ajar - The Appliance Guys

2. Rinsing dishes before wash

There's no question that this is one of the most common dishwasher mistakes we see and hear, and at some stage we have all thought about giving our dishwasher some unwanted help by giving the the dishes a quick rinse. But you’re about to learn a shocking secret! Washing the dishes by hand is unnecessary and it can produce undesired results such as unwashed dishes when it’s all done.

According to our dishwasher repair technicians, rinsing dishes significantly increase your water consumption, but it may also cause issues with the dishwasher control board as sensors found in dishwashers will detect clean dishes.

Some models of dishwasher use technology to figure out how much soil is in the water, which means it will use less electricity, and you might even end up with dirty dishes. The best thing you can do is scrape the solids into your bin and let the dishwasher do the rest for you.

Rinsing dishes before wash - The Appliance Guys

3. Use of poor dishwasher detergents

You would think that all dishwasher cleaning products would produce the same cleaning results. However, a great deal of difference can distinguish excellent and lousy dishwasher tablets. CHOICE, one of Australia's leading consumer advocacy groups, has conducted lab tests on 29 popular products. There were various cleaning scores in the trial, ranging from 43% to 78%. Still, it is noteworthy that the top two cleaners in their test - Finish Powerball Quantum Ultimate Pro and Aldi Logix Platinum dishwasher tablets - cost $1.13 and 0.18 cents a wash, respectively, which makes a big difference throughout the test.

Using low-quality dishwasher tablets can lead to leftover detergent residue on your plates. In addition, some dishwasher tablets contain abrasives that can wear down your valuable glassware quickly. As an added precaution, consider using caution when using dishwasher tablets with a pungent smell or abrasives. Finally, many dishwasher tablets are available on the market that possibly don't rinse aid.

Unfortunately, this will mean they will not wash and dry, so choose carefully or ensure that you have added rinse aid to your dishwasher built-in rinse aid dispenser. Fortunately, tests show you can save money and get a wash that produces clean dishes.

Use of Poor Dishwasher Detergents - The Appliance Guys

4. Cutlery stacked incorrectly

As long as dishwashers have existed, there has always been a debate about whether cutlery such as knives and forks should be oriented upwards or downwards in the basket. It has been argued by some that you should go up, up and away for a better wash, whereas their opponent says you should go down all the time and play it safe.

The pros and cons of each side can be argued; however, there is only one way to move forward on knives, and that is down. After that, the arguments will be over for good, won't they?

Cutlery stacked incorrectly dishwasher - The Appliance Guys

5. Not maintaining dishwasher filters

You know, having clean filters in your dishwasher is essential. But honestly, who loves to put their own hands into a mucky dishwasher full of gunk and whatever else you can think of? In the same manner, it is also disgusting and challenging at the same time to try to remove food out of the tiny holes in the spray arms; however, it's imperative to clean your dishwasher and unclog the filters once a fortnight to keep it in good condition.

It's a unpleasant task that few people enjoy, but it's essential to ensure that your dishwasher is operating smoothly and to avoid the chance of food particles returning to the plates if your dishwasher isn't cleaned correctly.

If your filter is left dirty for an extended period, it can cause a lot of blockages and produce a foul odour in the dishwasher. Cleaning the dishwasher may be unappealing, but it isn't nearly as disgusting as trying to clear a blockage in your dishwasher by reaching into a pool of used stale water at the base of your dishwasher to free it from dirt and debris. When you've experienced that once, I can ensure you that you'll find yourself cleaning filters regularly.

Not maintaining dishwasher filters - The Appliance Guys

If your dishwasher is not providing you with clean dishes after each wash cycle as it should, you need to chat with someone who understands dishwashers and how they operate. Our Sydney dishwasher repair team is available via our online text chat feature, or you may call us on 1300 567 637. We can also discuss repair vs replacement costs and benefits.

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