21 Ways You’re Shortening the Life of Your Dishwasher
Bear in mind these ways to keep this appliance running or else risk washing your dishes by hand.
Not cleaning or overcleaning dishes before loading them
Don’t fall for ads which show dishwashers cleaning practically full meals off of dinner plates. Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance, says food particles remaining on plates can gum up the moving parts of the appliance and get cut in the crevices. Rinsing can help prevent this and keep your machine running smoother for longer. However, cleaning your plates entirely is one way you’re loading your dishwasher incorrectly. Leaving some residue on them is necessary in order for the detergent to work properly, says Shirley Hood, an appliance expert and sales representative with Abt Electronics.
Using too much detergent
Hood says overloading on detergent—one of the most common dishwashing mistakes—can cause residue buildup in the wash and rain pumps.
Running small loads
Always be sure your dishwasher is full, Rogers recommends. Not only will it save you on water and electric, but it’ll mean fewer uses and a longer life for the appliance.
Forgetting to replace the hose
Change inlet/outlet hoses every five years to avoid calcium buildup, Mark McCleary, vice president of marketing for Beko and Bloomberg told Consumer Reports. You can change the hoses on your own or call a technician if you’re uncertain.
Using hard water
The quality of your water may not be on your side depending on where you live, but hard water causes dishes to break and builds up mineral layers on the inside of your dishwasher and its pipes, according to Smith. Luckily, she says, there’s a number of ways to soften water whether it’s detergent with water softeners, water filters, water softening units, or conditioners. “They have the same goal, namely, to improve the overall appliance efficiency, avoid damaged components, and extend the dishwasher lifecycle,” Smith says.
Avoiding regular inspections
If there’s something wrong with your dishwasher, don’t hesitate to call a professional, advises Stephany Smith, part of the handyman crew at My Handyman Services. “It’s important for an experienced repairman to check for loose, damaged valves, tub or door troubles that may further result in drips, leaks and even worse, in substantial water damages,” Smith says. “Professional help will keep the mechanics operate efficiently and save you from major repairs and replacement costs in the long run.”
Putting sharp objects in the racks
Leave the knives in the silverware rack. Sharp edges will scrape off the plastic covering the metal of the racks, Rogers says. Without that plastic protection, the metal of the racks will begin to rust and break down the machine. These other items can also cause potential damage to your dishwasher.
Leaving broken glass in the bottom
It happens: things break in the dishwasher. But Hood says people often don’t realize there’s glass in the appliance. “Depending on the size, glass chards can get past the dishwasher filter and make its way into the drain pump where it can cause real damage,” she says.
“If there are too many dishes loaded in the washer, the chances of overheating go up greatly,” says Mark Stoltzenburg, an HVAC/R-MAR program director/instructor at the Midwest Technical Institute. “Many of the components inside have a safety device to protect them from overheating, but by overloading the dishwasher those devices have a harder job, and component failure is more likely.”