I remember our first house with a real dishwasher was in 1967. This was quite a novelty. Our family of five worked it pretty hard and wore it out in about 5 years. This is a little less than average, but frankly I was surprised it lasted that long given the abuse we put it through.
There are two types of dishwashers. The conventional drop-front variety and drawers. Both types come with a number of very convenient features designed to make your life easier in some way. Check out the benefits of drawer types here.
Dishwashers have a heated-air, dish drying function. Disable this feature if you want to save some energy. It will take longer to dry the dishes so plan on starting the machine after dinner and allowing it to run overnight. Your dishes should be dry enough in the morning.
To get the best cleaning results from any dishwasher, always place dishes with the soiled surfaces facing the center and alternate spoons up and down to prevent nesting. Regular glass tumblers should go between, not over, the tines to minimize spotting. During the entertaining season, the real challenge is stemware. Most dishwashers don’t have the ability to accommodate more than just a few glasses. My solution was to have a second drawer-type dishwasher installed specifically for the stemware. It even has a stemware program that does a good job of getting the lipstick off the edges yet leaves the glass shiny and spot-free..
- Find your appliance’s owner’s manual and place it in a secure location for instructions on your specific appliance. If you have lost the manual or want a second copy, you can usually find them on line.
- Test your hot water temperature. Be careful if you adjust the hot water from the water heater too high as it can be dangerous over the 140 degree level.
- Never use steel wool for cleaning your appliances, especially stainless steel.
- Stainless steel should only be cleaned with warm sudsy water or a special cleaner made specifically for stainless steel. Always wipe the surface of stainless steel in the direction of the “grain” only with a soft completely clean cloth.
- Even if you are not using it, run your dishwasher at least once a week to prevent it from drying out. Use the rinse cycle.
- You should expect 5-10 years of normal daily service from your dishwasher.
- 1x per month: Remove and clean the intake screens on the inside bottom of the dishwasher once a month. Clean the soap dispenser to be sure that it is not caked with dried soap and the trap door is working properly. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for details.
- 4x per year: Inspect the interior and exterior (especially underneath) of the dishwasher for failure indications such as leaks or rust appearing on the interior surfaces. Check the door seals for wear and replace right away to avoid leaks.
- 1x per year: Dishwashers are held in place by screws that mount the unit to the cabinets. Monitor during each use to be sure that the unit is mounted tightly.
- 4x per year: Inspect the plumbing lines where they connect under the sink for leaks or kinks and repair as needed.
- 12x per year: Pull the cap off the air gap on the sink, and clean once per month.