Your dishwasher is like your teeth: take care of them and they’ll take care of you. Unlike your teeth, however, a dishwasher is not going to last through all of your adult years. But, you can still take some steps to make sure it reaches its maximum lifespan, saving you time and money in the process.
According to Consumer Reports, a standard dishwasher should last for about ten years. So how do you ensure that you do all that you can to max out these ten years or more?
Clean your filter
This might sound like an obvious tip right off the bat, but it’s important to consult your dishwasher’s manual to figure out if you have a dishwasher filter that requires manual cleaning. Some are self-cleaning, but in most cases, you’ll want to remove and thoroughly clean the filter every so often to make sure you’re not clogging up the machine and damaging the filter in the process. If you’re just reading this now after years of dishwasher problems, you might need to find a few replacement parts. Luckily, it’s easy to find high quality and low cost replacement parts online and with little hassle.
Get as much off the dishes as you can can before dropping it in the dishwasher
You don’t need to rinse off your dishes necessarily, but any food items should really be tossed into the trash. Pieces of meat, bones, toothpicks, paper, veggie cores, and other food related items can really clog up your dishwasher or damage some of the parts. With that in mind, you also need to be mindful of how much you’re taking off the dishes. In order for the dishwasher to really do its job and the dishwashing detergent to work its magic, there should be some residue on the dishes. So, while removing any objects and debris from plates and bowls is crucial, so too is not loading the dishwasher with largely clean dishes.
Don’t overdo or underdo your dishwasher’s capacity
The more you run a dishwasher, the sooner it’s going to reach the end of its operational lifespan. Overloading your dishwasher is going to result in some dishes not being fully cleaned, requiring a second round of washing. On the flip side, running the dishwasher at only half capacity is going to double your use. So be mindful of when you’re operating the dishwasher, waiting for it to fill up before powering it up.
Check and de-clog the spraying apparatus
Most dishwashers have little plastic arms that extend during the washing cycle to hose down the dishes. Sometimes these can get clogged up with food products and overall grime, so it’s good to check these every once in a while and give them a good cleaning. If you see anything stuck in the spray holes, use a toothpick or paperclip to push it through.
Beware of grease
Greasy baking trays, griddles, and especially non-cooking items like engine or mechanical parts should not go into your dishwasher if you want to see it live out its fullest use. Grease will clog up the filter and a grease buildup can cause all sorts of problems, including lower water pressure, unclean dishes, and bad odors. Instead of using your dishwasher, remove the grease with a rag or paper towel and wash these kinds of items in the sink or with a hose.
Cleaning the door seal regularly
As part of keeping the dishwasher fully functional, give the seal on the dishwasher door a once-over periodically to see if it has any residue building up. Food debris and other kinds of gunk can get moldy, causing your kitchen to smell and even present a health hazard. Be careful when cleaning the door seal. Some chemical sprays and washers can cause the rubber seal to deteriorate, so use white vinegar and a wet rag to stay on the safe side.