Learning About Vegetable Garden Care

Hello, my name is Sophia Channington. I am going to use this site to discuss placement and care for vegetable gardens. Each year, my family sets out to build a large vegetable garden full of our favorite foods. We use the garden harvests to supplement our food for the year by canning and preserving the produce. I want to talk about the techniques we use to achieve a high yield from our plants. I will share information about raised beds, support posts and fertilizer on this site. I hope you will visit often to learn all you can about vegetable gardening. Thanks for visiting.

Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes? - Try These Troubleshooting Tips

Home & Garden Articles

If you have recently moved into your first home with a dishwasher, then you may find that the appliance does not seem to meet your expectations. Many people believe they need to prewash their dishes to see their plates and silverware come clean. However, this is not the case, and your dishwasher is likely not working properly if you need to rinse and scrub your pots and pans before placing them in the dishwasher. It is also possible that the previous owners of the home did not complete proper maintenance on the appliance. If you want to enjoy your new-found freedom from washing dishes by hand, then make sure to troubleshoot the appliance with the following tips.

Sprayer Arm Clogs

Your dishwasher works by forcing water and detergent against your dishes with a strong spray. The water comes out of a spray arm that rotates around the bottom of the appliance. Once the detergent does its work, fresh water is used to rinse the soap and food debris away. A few gallons of water are allowed to flow into a tub at the very bottom of the dishwasher so that it can be released by the arm.

The sprayer arm contains a number of holes where the water is released. However, if you have hard water that contains calcium and magnesium, the spray openings can easily clog with the mineral deposits. The dishes that are usually cleaned by the water released from the clogged spray openings may then remain dirty. If you see dishes in one area of the appliance that remain dirty while others appear clean, then this may be your problem.

Cleaning the Arm

You can easily remedy this problem by cleaning the sprayer arm. The arm sits on the bottom of the dishwasher, so remove the lower dish rack to access it. A cap generally sits on top of the arm that can be screwed off. The arm will likely release with a gentle pull afterwards. Fill your kitchen sink with water and about two cups of white vinegar. Allow the arm to sit in the mixture for two or three hours so the mineral deposits can dissolve. Rinse the arm afterwards and push a toothpick into each spray opening to release built up debris. Replace the arm afterwards and test the appliance again.

Booster Heater Issues

As previously mentioned, water used in your dishwasher is forced into a small tub before it is sprayed onto your dishes. There are several reasons why the water is not released onto the dishes directly from the attached water line. Detergent must be mixed with the water first, and it also must be heated to a level where the fluid sanitizes your plates. A small device called a booster heater is used to increase the water temperature to 130 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is necessary, because most water heaters are set to a temperature at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit based on manufacturer suggestions.

If the booster heater stops working, then heat will come from your water alone. As you know, lukewarm water is likely to come out of the water lines before the hottest water runs through them. This means your dishwasher will probably be using somewhat warm water during the cleaning cycle.

Testing the Booster Heater

It can be incredibly difficult to test whether or not the booster heater is working without actually measuring the temperature inside the dishwasher. Thankfully, you can do this with a special waterproof thermometer called a dishwasher thermometer. These devices are usually utilized in professional kitchens to ensure the safety and sanitation of the plates and cookware that come into contact with restaurant foods. The thermometer has a memory to record both high and low readings once it is activated so you can see if the wash and rinse cycle produce temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the thermometer indicates that temperatures only reach about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, then the booster heater is probably not working. An appliance specialist will need to replace the device. In the meantime, consider increasing the temperature of your water heater to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you run the dishwasher, run the warm water in your kitchen sink until you feel that the water is hot. Water released from the dishwasher basin will then likely be hot as well if you prime the water pipes in this manner. 

For more tips or help with your dishwasher, contact a local retailer that sells and repairs appliances

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5 August 2015