My dishwasher hates me, so I went looking for answers...
By: Ariel Kormendy - Milton Real Estate Specialist
About three weeks ago, I realized that I was taking my dishwasher for granted. It was clearly the most important assistant in my house, until it didn't want to work any more.
It was a beautiful, sunny, fall day. A typical Saturday morning for me. Wake up early, have a coffee, respond to over-night emails and social media messages, get caught up on the days' news, check my calendar for the day, make breakfast, get ready to show some homes and prepare for the open house in the afternoon. Breakfast was great. Poached eggs on toast, fresh fruit, green yogurt smoothie. Time to leave the house... load dishwasher, push start.
After a long day and an offer still going back and forth at 10pm at night, I decided to finally have a bite to eat before I had to go out again and get a final signature from our client. I open the dishwasher and guess what? My assistant failed me. It's like it just decided to hate me out of nowhere. Dishes were left dirty and a huge pool of water left at the bottom with who knows what floating around it. Didn't smell so pretty either. (insert your choice of bad words here).
I wash the dishes by hand, sponge out all the water and put the appliance repairman on my list of calls for Monday morning.
Monday rolls around and I was lucky enough to get a knowledgeable and local repairman to come and have a look on Thursday. In the meanwhile, I highly consider becoming Pizza Nova's best customer.
It's Thursday. After 5 days of pleading with my lovely assistant to come back to work, I'm completely unsuccessful.
Henry the repairman tells me that the dishwasher wasn't installed properly and I could be taking better care of it with some simple steps. $150 later and the dishwasher is back in business.
Here's the quick list of tips I was given and learned through my due diligence. Learn from my mistakes and YOUR assistant will be a reliable, long-term employee.
Ensure your drain hose is properly installed
Apparently I don't listen to the home inspectors I deal with on a regular basis when it comes to my own house. I've known for years what a proper drain hose installation should look like yet mine didn't look anything like it needed to. The problem was that the hose was too long and not draining the fluid properly. A small piece of food slightly jammed in the pipe and completely restricted the flow, leaving all that water in the tub of the washer since it had nowhere to drain to. Take a quick look under your sink and make sure it looks like the below photo. NOTE: Some dishwashers require a slightly different installation, so be sure to check the owners manual.
Pre-heat the water
Your dishwasher fill-cycle needs hot water to have an optimum cycle. Often times, it takes several seconds of cold water running through the line before the hot water flows. (We've all had to wait for that to happen in the shower!) With only a half-gallon of water in the cycle, any cold water can dramatically change the overal temperature. Run your Kitchen faucet until the hot water is finally on its way from the hot water heater and your dishwasher will benefit from the proper water temperature to clean your dishes and activate the soap.
Don’t overcrowd the space
This is what a dishwasher should look like when completely loaded. Ensure large items don't restrict the arms and water flow. Nicely stack your dishes and utensils in the appropriate locations. If the water can't get to an area due to overcrowding, it won't get clean.
You don't need rinse aid if...
Rinse aid is now included in many "All-in-one" dishwasher pucks, meaning you don't need to waste the money to top up that Rinse-aid compartment, it's just there if you're using the old-school detergents. The other option is to let the family pet give the dishes a pre-licking.
What detergent are you using?
If you are in-fact using one of these fancy new tabs/pucks, take note of the instructions and the type of product it actually is. Many of them have a pre-rinse detergent, wash cycle detergent and rinse aid. What I didn't realize, is that the product I was using, requires a higher water temperature to fully activate all of the gels, liquids and detergents within it. My next cycle was set to "Normal" with "Hi-temp" and I was amazed at the difference. Sparkling clean! YES, my best employee is now my happy assistant again!
Vinegar ... it's not just for your hardwood floors
One of my best tips for cleaning your home is having vinegar handy at all times. Diluted in water, it makes your Bathrooms, Kitchens and floors (including hardwood), sparkling clean, not to mention completely sanitized. Don't need to use harsh, expensive chemicals.
What I didn't realize is that adding a 1/2 cup of vinegar to the tub of the dishwasher and running an empty cycle on occasion improves the efficiency of the dishwasher. It essentially is a cleaning cycle that will get rid of any left-behind dirt, bacteria, etc... Run this cycle once ever couple of months (depending on your usage) to keep your dishwasher clean.
So, there you have it! I hope you can learn from my painful experience and that you found just one of these tips helpful. I am happy to say that my dishwasher is in its optimum running condition now... I hope yours is too.
I'd love to hear your stories or feedback - email me anytime! Ariel@KormendyTrott.com
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