Dishwasher Repair Question: My Maytag Dishwasher, model number MDBD880AWB is going on about 6-yrs of age, and it now fails to do a thorough cleaning of dishes and glasses. The unit will run through the wash cycle just fine, but will not clean. At first, I thought that it might be the orifices in the spray arm, and I cleared each one of them with a tooth pick. Still not cleaning. What else could be wrong?
Answer: One of the first things I check on any dishwasher with a complaint of clean-ability is water softness.
If you do not have soft water then your dishwasher soap will not work properly. The hard water build up also does not do the water pump and other parts of the dishwasher any good. You might want to try a Dishwasher Cleaner that removes mineral build-up, rust and calcium deposits to see if that improves your dishwasher’s cleaning ability.
Even if you have a water softener it may not be working correctly or you may simply be running out of soft water before you run the dishwasher.
There are test strips you can by to test your water softness.
If after checking your water softness and your dishwasher is still not cleaning properly, here are some other factors to consider:
Loading: Loading is very important to a good cleaning. Load so that you don’t block any sprayer arms, and distribute the dishes so that they all get sprayed by the wash water.
Water temperature: The temperature should be at least 49C, and up to about 65C. Most dishwashers will pause while they heat up the water to the proper temperature. If your unit is hooked up to the kitchen sink, you may want to run the faucet for a few seconds to ensure that the water entering the dishwasher is already hot.
Detergent: It is very important to use fresh detergent, so keep it fresh and dry. You can store it in an airtight container. Many manufacturers recommend discarding old and lumpy detergent as it may not dissolve fully, and may leave a gritty residue. Using the right kind and amount of detergent is also very important to getting dishes as clean as possible.
Rinse aid: The use of a Dishwasher Rinse Aid like Jet-Dry Rinse Agent can help to keep dishes spot-free and keep dish drying time down.
If you noticed unsightly stains or smells coming from your dishwasher, try a Dishwasher Cleaner like Glisten, or affresh Dishwasher and Garbage Disposal Cleaner which you can use to clean both appliances.