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Why is My Dishwasher Not Cleaning?


A woman unloading the dishwasher in a bright kitchen.

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Once you have a dishwasher there is no going back, especially for those among us that aren’t a fan of washing the dishes in the sink, which can be quite time consuming. Our guide will let you know what to look out for if your dishwasher is running but not cleaning the dishes. No one wants dirty dishes!  

Dishwasher does not clean the dishes

If you have noticed that your dishwasher isn’t washing properly then there are a few reasons why this might be happening. So let’s take a deep dive into why your trusty machine has given up the ghost. 

  • The detergent: are you using the right detergent for your machine? We also cheat sometimes if there aren’t any dishwasher tabs left in the cupboard, but using substitute detergent such as washing powder or soap could clog up your machine and leave you with dirty dishes.
  • The temperature: of course, it’s good to keep the temperature as low as possible. This is definitely a more sustainable way of using the dishwasher but every now and then it might be an idea to use a hotter temperature to get rid of all the possible gunk and grime build up. This might be why the dishwasher isn’t washing properly.
  • The dishes: we know how easy it is to simply chuck the dishes in the dishwasher without rinsing them beforehand and stacking them properly. It might be beneficial to play a bit of dish Tetris to make sure that all dishes get hit by detergent and water. We have an article featuring how to do this: dishwasher cleaning in four easy steps. Removing most food waste from the dishware before you place them in the dishwasher means that the machine’s filter is less likely to get clogged.
  • There could be a blockage, which means your dishwasher will not wash dishes properly because it is being prevented from doing so. For a professional clean at home (and a fraction of the cost) try a specialist dishwasher cleaner such as Oust dishwasher sachets

How to clean a dishwasher that is not cleaning properly

Try to give your dishwasher a good old clean, especially if you have noticed that your dishwasher isn’t washing properly.

  1. Start off by having a read through the manual.
  2. Clean the spray arm by removing it from the dishwasher and unblocking the tiny holes, this can be cautiously done with a toothpick, for example.
  3. Remove and clean the filter. You can do it by hand, but you could also use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to get rid of any debris. Simply remove the filter screen before you start.
  4. If the dishwasher float does not move up and down freely then it might be blocked, so gently clean the float with a soft cloth and some dish soap as it cuts through grease and grime easily, diluted with warm water.
  5. For a professional clean at home (and a fraction of the cost) try a specialist dishwasher cleaner such as Oust dishwasher sachets. It works in just one cycle to remove grease, deposits whilst eliminating lingering malodors from food residues. 

We hope this article has helped you figure out why your dishwasher isn’t washing properly! If you’re here for even more dishwasher related tips then how about reading through these articles: how to create a house cleaning schedule, and how to make your kitchen more efficient. Don’t forget you can sign up now to receive even more handy hints and tips. 

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