Your dishwasher is one of the most important appliances in your home. Chances are it gets a lot of use, and you want to make sure it keeps running for many years to come. Repairing a broken dishwasher can be difficult and will most probably require a professional that specialises in dishwasher repairs. It is better to maintain your dishwasher properly and extend its life as long as possible.
One of the simplest ways to maintain your dishwasher and keep it clean is simply to run it regularly. Using the dishwasher on a regular basis will help keep food particles and other debris from settling into the gears and doing damage. This regular use can reduce the need for additional cleaning.
When you do get ready to clean the dishwasher, empty the appliance completely. Remove all your dishes and put them away before you get started. Start by checking all of the spinning arms inside the dishwasher. Make sure that all the holes in the arms are open and that the water is able to flow through freely. You can use a pair of needle-nose pliers to dislodge any debris that is blocking the holes in the spinning arms.
After that debris has been removed, the next step is to clean around the edges of the door and around the gasket that holds it securely shut. That gasket can become worn, and cleaning it regularly can extend its useful life. Clean the gasket and the door with a damp cloth. Use an old toothbrush to clean the nooks and crannies in the gasket itself.
You will also want to clean the area under the bottom of the dishwasher door with a damp cloth. This is a prime spot for dirt and debris to accumulate. While you are there, you can check the bottom of the dishwasher in the area of the drain. You should see a grill or grate around the drain, just under the arm. This is where the wastewater from the dishwasher enters the plumbing in your home. Check the drain for debris that could be clogging it.
You should be able to remove any debris on the outside of the dishwasher drain by simply pulling it out with your hands or a pair of needle-nose pliers. If you suspect that food particles and other debris are clogging up the inside of the drain, you will need to do some simple disassembly before proceeding.
Start by unplugging the dishwasher. The plug for the dishwasher is typically located under the sink. Once the dishwasher is unplugged, carefully remove the screws that hold the drain cover in place. Put the screws in a small cup for safekeeping before moving on.
Lift the drain cover off and carefully set it aside. Set each piece you remove aside so it will be easier to put everything back together when you are done. Place a piece of tape at the opening of the drain to stop debris from coming into the drain. Remove any solid debris you can see in the dishwasher drain. You may want to wrap your hand in a cloth to make the removal easier. Use a stiff brush to loosen and remove any stubborn deposits. Replace the drain when you are done and plug the dishwasher back in.
If you have hard water, you may need to run your dishwasher to remove any built-up mineral deposits. Place a small amount of lemonade drink mix or lemon-flavored Kool-Aid mix inside the detergent cup in your dishwasher and run a short cycle. The acid in the drink mix will help to dislodge the mineral deposits from the hard water. If you do not want to use powdered drink mix, you can use lemon juice or distilled white vinegar instead. You can also use a special dishwasher cleaning solution.
Keeping your dishwasher clean and well maintained is one of the best ways to extend its life and prevent untimely breakdowns. Taking a few minutes a month to clean the dishwasher now can save you a lot of time and trouble later.