6 Mistakes That Are Preventing Your Dishwasher From Cleaning Your Dishes


Your dishwasher’s primary job is simple – dirty dishes go in and clean dishes come out. However, when your dishes are still coming out dirty, you may panic thinking that you are going to have to get your dishwasher repaired or even replaced. Yet, while a number of faulty parts and malfunctions can prevent a dishwasher from producing clean dishes, the cause may not always be a broken part. In some cases, a simple mistake may be preventing your dishwasher from cleaning your dishes. These mistakes can be rectified without the need for an actual repair.


We won’t fault you for wanting to get that whole sink full of dishes done in one load. Nothing feels better than an empty sink and a full dishwasher. However, it is very possible to overfill a dishwasher, and this will result in dirty dishes coming out. While many dishwashers have multiple spray jets to reach both shelves and clean the dishes effectively, if you are overloading your dishwasher, the jets can’t reach every dish. This is common if you do things like hide bowls under your pots to save space. It affects the cleaning efficiency and can have poor results.

Too Much Detergent

More detergent is never better no matter what appliance you are using. While it may be tempting to add a little bit more detergent for extra dirty dishes, it will do more harm than good. It may remove all the food off of those dishes, but it will likely leave cloudy glassware and a thin film over all your dishes.

Blocked Spray Arm

Similar to overloading a dishwasher, you can also hamper function by simply blocking the spray arm. If you have a very large pot or mixing bowl that takes up most of a rack by itself, chances are, it is going to block the spray arm and the dishes above it won’t get clean. It is better to just hand wash large items, sadly.

Dirty Filter

As it is often hidden away under the bottom spray arm, most dishwasher owners are surprised to learn that their dishwasher even has a filter, but it does. Furthermore, that dishwasher filter should be cleaned at least every month, especially if you don’t rinse large food particles off your dishes before loading. This filter catches larger food particles so they don’t flow down the drain and create clogs. However, those particles can be flushed back up onto your dishes sometimes and can create a slow draining dishwasher.

Not Rinsing Your Dishes

While you will still have to empty the filter in your dishwasher, you can help prevent it from getting full as fast by rinsing off your dishes before placing them in your dishwasher. Even if you are trying to be conscious and conservative about your water usage, filling your sink even just half full and giving your dishes as quick soak or scrub can be a simple way to get cleaner dishes after each wash while not using huge amounts of water like you would with an open tap rinse.

Not Letting The Dishes Dry

Most dishwashers use a heated dry function to dry the dishes on the inside quickly after the wash cycle has finished. However, many dishwasher users choose to skip this option because it cuts down on energy usage and saves on energy bills. The unfortunate result is that you get cloudy and water spot-riddles dishes after every wash or even water pooling on your dishes. If you choose not to use heated dry, you should at least open your dishwasher after the wash is done, just a crack will allow evaporation to take place.

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