help! my dishwasher isn’t cleaning properly!

Posted by smol on



Gritty residue on your dishes and cloudy glassware… sound familiar?

If you’ve ever had a dishwasher that’s NOT cleaning the dishes properly, you’ve probably experienced both issues above. Not only is it frustrating and time consuming (items need to be washed again) but it will cost you more in water, energy and detergent.

So how can we make sure our dishwasher is working properly?

Let’s tick off the TOP 5 CAUSES of… 

sandy coating all across your dishes.

1. dirty filter. 

It’s important to remove your dishwasher filter regularly to clean it thoroughly if you want the inside of your machine to keep clean. Grease, bits of food and soap scum can all build up to stop your machine cleaning effectively.

The filter will be underneath the lower rack and you’ll need to twist it off and out. Check your owner manual if you are unsure how to remove it but once it’s out, you can give it a good rinse in hot soapy water. Any stubborn bits can be gently brushed off with an old toothbrush.

2. jammed soap dispenser.

A surprisingly common issue is a jammed spring in your detergent dispenser door. If you open your dishwasher shortly after the cycle has started and find the door has not released your detergent then this could well be the issue and your dishwasher detergent will not be reaching your dishes in time to do it’s work. 

Use an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of hot water and clear vinegar to clean the dispenser and its door springs. If the spring or the dispenser door is broken, it needs to be replaced. 

Alternatively you could skip the dispenser with smol dishwasher tablets. Simply place your tablet directly on the dishwasher floor before you close the door. The tablet is then directly where it needs to be right at the start.

3. blocked spinning spray arm.

There are 2 spinning spray arms in most machines - one below the top rack and one below the bottom. Their tiny holes get blocked, which reduces water pressure and their ability to spray off dirt. 

Check your owner manual for how to remove each arm then scrub it with an old toothbrush to clear out any residue that is clogging up the holes. Rinse them down and replace them. 

4. poor quality detergent.

At the end of the day some dishwasher tablets are just not up to the job. It’s why we always recommend our award-winning all in one dishwasher tablets. Not only do they contain salt, rinse aid and glass protector, but they give incredible results to match the leading big brands (all with no plastic, less carbon and reduced chemicals). 

5. inlet valve issues.

This valve lets water run into your dishwasher and if you’ve heard a banging sound coming from your machine when it is running… it could be that there is an issue with the inlet valve.

If water is still running freely through the valve that’s fine. But if the flow is slow or non-existent then you might need to clean the valve. If you find the inlet valve is completely free of debris but water isn’t running into your dishwasher… then it’s likely broken and will need replacing.  

And what about the TOP 2 CAUSES of…

cloudy glassware in the dishwasher.

1. hard water deposits.

Hard water sounds like an oxymoron. How can water be hard? 

Well it can if it’s referring to the level of minerals dissolved within the water.

Rainwater is soft, but if it lands on an area of limestone it trickles through the porous rock, dissolving minerals as it goes. Falling onto a non-porous rock like granite means it won’t trickle through so can’t pick up minerals in the same way, thereby staying soft. 

Most water companies state whether you live in a hard water area or not but as a broad rule the South East of England and London water hardness levels are mostly high. Scotland, Ireland and Wales mostly have soft water. 

Hard water reduces the effectiveness of your dishwasher detergent so it’s great to know that smol’s all in one dishwasher tablet already contains salt to soften water. 

Frustratingly, hard water also doesn’t rinse as well as soft water, so again it’s reassuring to know that smol dishwasher tablets contain rinse aid.

Lastly, hard water can leave its minerals behind to dry onto the surface of your glassware as annoying cloudy deposits. 

If your cloudy glassware regains its shine after a soak in clear vinegar for 5 mins - then you know hard water is to blame. 

Switch to smol dishwasher tablets that are all in one and you should find the problem resolves and with our FREE TRIAL you’ve really got nothing to lose. 

2. etching.

If the cloudiness doesn’t lift from your glassware following a vinegar soak then the issue could be etching.

This essentially means a wearing away of the glass by tiny scratches that cannot be removed. 

It’s mostly a problem in very soft water areas, or if you have been selecting a very hot water cycle - but poor quality detergent can also be a factor as can excessive pre-cleaning of your glasses.

The easiest way to prevent further etching on glassware is to swap to a dishwasher tablet such as smol that contains a glass protector to prevent this type of corrosion.

Don’t forget smol has a FREE TRIAL on dishwasher tablets so you’ve nothing to lose by giving them a try. 

And if you feel like dipping your toe into other ways to clean your home in a more sustainable way - check out our all in one home bundle. With our top 6 smol swaps at a HUGELY discounted price, it’s the perfect way to join the smol revolution and see what all the fuss is about. 

want to get the best out of your dishwasher?

Check out our other blogs that will help you get your dishes sparkling.

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