And I thought I knew how to wash dishes... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why are dishes still dirty when the washer is done? We rinse (not scrub) and try not to overfill. There seems to be some sediment left on them and occasionally some soap scum.

DS just took over the dishwasher as one of his chores and he is very discouraged about it. I watch him, but he doesn't appear to do anything different than I do.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#2 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 09:43 PM
 
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but this is the case with every dishwasher I've ever had. They all leave gritty crap on the dishes unless I soak and brush them before they go in. To me a dishwasher is nothing but a big final sani-rinse.

And I've been to the homes of people who claim theirs works great.....and I've quietly (saying nothing, it would be rude) noticed gritty crap that can't be seen but can be felt, on their dishes. So to me, them feeling like theirs works...is just a case of different standards. I want my dishes to feel as clean as they look.

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and 3 , in our happy secular
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#3 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 09:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaChicken View Post
Why are dishes still dirty when the washer is done? We rinse (not scrub) and try not to overfill. There seems to be some sediment left on them and occasionally some soap scum.

DS just took over the dishwasher as one of his chores and he is very discouraged about it. I watch him, but he doesn't appear to do anything different than I do.
maybe its the water? we lived in a place with really hard water and the dishes never came out looking clean so i just didn't use the dishwasher..

or maybe your dishwasher needs some maintenance?

 

 

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#4 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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OP, can you tell us the make and age of your dishwasher? Does it have a built-in disposal? Is it attached to a sink with a disposal in it?

I have a 13 year old Maytag Jetclean dishwasher that came with the house. I can tell it's not a deluxe model, even for the time it was manufactured, it's just fairly good. Most of the time, my dishes come out sparkling and residue free UNLESS (a) I'm out of JetClean in the reservoir, (b) I used a non-Cascade Complete or Kirkland detergent - which i suspect is Cascade in disguise, (c) the disposal in the sink wasn't run immediately prior to the dishwasher running and stuff was stuck in it (d) paper or plastic bits were stuck in the water jet holes in the dishwasher itself (perhaps from washing jars with labels on them? We have started running a quick rinse cycle in the dishwasher, after putting our scraped-off-but-not-rinsed dishes/pots/pans in and that has helped (since it was working a little less better than previously).

Meanwhile, my SIL has a diswasher that is extremely deluxe, bought two years ago, cost over $1000 new and is a LEMON!!! The thing leaves crap, residue and everything else ALL OVER THE DISHES. It's awful. She actually brought a couple of plastic glasses over to our house one time when visiting (after using them in her car) and one simple run through our dishwasher with the rest of our dishes removed a dark tea residue in the plastic that she thought was permanent. SIL and BIL THOUGHT their dishwasher was doing a great job, but I swear, I think they just thought that because of how fancy and expensive the dishwasher was. I'm guessing that other dishwashers of the same make/model work much better but that they just got the worst one of the bunch.

Now, our 13 year old dishwasher is far from perfect. Previously, we had bought a portable dishwasher from Sears (Kenmore) for $450 (many years ago, perhaps 12) and that thing would perform like in the commercials, where they put a plate with an entire cake on it and the cake would disappear and all the dishes would be sparkling. It didn't matter what sort of detergent we used; dishes would come out PERFECTLY.

In conclusion (yes, this one's long, sorry, lol), I think that you need to get a dishwasher with a built-in disposal/garburetor, you need to run your in-sink disposable/garbuteror first, and you need to use a good detergent and hopefully, have an on-board heater or at least run hot, hot, hot, water in the sink before starting the dishwasher. You also need to be lucky and not purchase a lemon (I suppose a replacement warranty can help with that).
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#5 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 11:00 PM
 
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Ours seems to clean well, though if there's dried on stuff on something in the upper rack it won't get it all. On the lower rack it does well even with dried on stuff. What I do with bowls that go on the upper rack is put them in every other slot, so the water can get in there - before I did this I had more that stayed dirty.

The dishwasher we have now is a KitchenAid, before that we had a Kenmore that was awful, left so many dishes dirty it drove me crazy. The last place we lived we had a Maytag dishwasher and that one was excellent also. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the particular model too, not just the brand.
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#6 of 22 Old 09-30-2009, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is a Whirlpool - not sure about the make/model right now, and it came with the house. I've never tried jet-dry, does that make a big difference? Maybe I will try a different detergent as well. The disposal is in the sink, and I bet he never runs the hot water in the sink before running the washer.

We will be trying some of this soon, Thanks!

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#7 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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I came on here to search for advice on how to clean your dishwasher- I did it about a year ago and I think it involved bleach and vinagar in several different cycles, anyhow it took care of all the nasty debris that was left on the dishes- I'll continue my search for those instructions, then try to post the link-
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#8 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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My dishwasher does the same thing. I could put in clean plates and they would come out dirty. Right now I just wash everything by hand because I end up rewashing most things I put in there anyways. I've had good dishwashers that work well, so I know it's possible... just not where I live now it seems!

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#9 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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we bought the maytag dishwasher from the cake commercial and it is terrible! we had a low end Inglis in our last house and it was wonderful. go figure! we had it serviced before the 1 yr warantee was up and the guy said he had the same dishwasher with the same problem. blah.
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#10 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 11:53 AM
 
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It might need maintenance, but my mom told me (and it appears to be at least somewhat true) that you shouldn't "wash the dishes before you wash the dishes." IOW, do what the commercials claim -- just put everything in there dirty. My exception is the silverware and anything that had a lot of fatty stuff/butter on it. But crumbs and sauces and stuff like that don't get rinsed off. I don't remember what the logic was, but something about there needing to be SOME dirt for all of it to get clean.

So maybe try not rinsing so much before you run a load, and see how that works?

The other thing I've noticed is that everything is cleaner when there's less plastic (ie storage containers) in there. I've switched to glass for reheating and storage, so I have very little in the way of plastic (a few lids used as plates for DS and his sippys) and the dishes are drier and cleaner.
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#11 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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We have very hard water, and get a sediment on everything on the top rack of the dishwasher.

1- We took the inside of the door off and cleaned out the inside.
2- Always have a rinse agent (Jet Dry) filled up.
3- Dump vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher before running it
4- Use Cascade Complete Paks in the detergent container - OR ElectroDry (or whatever they're called) in the silverware container. If you put it in the detergent container it won't dissolve all the way.
5- Once a month, run a dishwasher cleaner through an empty cycle
6- When it gets really bad, buy a container of Tang (you know, the powdered orange juice?) and dump it in the bottom of the dishwasher and run an empty cycle. I have no idea why it works, but it does.
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#12 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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Our dishes usually don't have the food sediment on them as long as I use ecover tabs. Recently, I've been getting sediment even using ecover. We've ran vinegar through the cycle and CLR trying to breakup the hard water build-up, but we're still getting it.

I've read that there are some things that you can do to fix it. You can take off the blades where the water comes out and see if there's a blockage. There's a mesh screen at the bottom of the dishwasher that can get food caught in it.

the weird thing is that the food on the bottom rack gets clean, but the top does not. I'm so frustrated with it.

Wendy - mom to dd1(11), dd2(7), dd3(3)
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#13 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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For a while I thought our dishwasher was on the fritz but then switched back to liquid Electrosol (now "Finish") detergent from the tablets. The difference in how clean my dishes got was AMAZING. The tabs just don't work well in my DW, nor do any liquids except for Cascade and Electrosol.

I almost bought a new DW before I figured it out !

Leeann, mama to 3*magic*kids: DD 1/03 DD 9/04 DS 8/06
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#14 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wendyland View Post

I've read that there are some things that you can do to fix it. You can take off the blades where the water comes out and see if there's a blockage. There's a mesh screen at the bottom of the dishwasher that can get food caught in it.
:
When our dishes start getting gritty, the problem tends to be that there's crud on that filter thing at the bottom.

I've also noticed that if anything is hanging down out of one of the racks, the dishes don't get clean, probably because the water sprayer can't spin.
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#15 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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Can also be the detergent, too - they've banned anything with phosphate here, and people are so unhappy with the results that they are bootlegging stuff from out of state....most "green" detergents have no phosphate.

Oddly, though, we had a Kenmore portable at our old rental, and it worked great. The Bosch in our house doesn't - and we use the same detergent.

I dunno.
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#16 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 04:33 PM
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We have a dinosaur of a DW, probably from 1970-something when the previous owners re-did the kitchen. I dont know what brand it is, but it's OLD. not energy efficient, and LOUD, but it works, and we cant replace it just yet...
We have the best luck with Method Smarty Dish tabs. they dont leave our whole house smelling like a public pool (chlorine) while the DW runs like cascade and the other "regular" ones do, and they get the dishes CLEAN. couldnt find method last time, and got the new Polmolive ECO stuff... it leaves the film you mentioned, OP, and some gritty stuff on the glasses in the top rack. Seventh Gen did this too. I added plain white vinegar to our rinse aid dispenser, and the dishes are sparkling again. you might want to try that?

vinegar is my favorite go-to household fixer. works better than fab soft to remove detergent residue in our clothes, too!

I also find that if we DONT select the "power miser" setting, our dishes come out cleaner, bc it's heating the water hotter than without it.

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#17 of 22 Old 10-01-2009, 05:48 PM
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Sounds like a hard-water issue. We have the same problem. You can wipe the dishes dry when handwashing, but the hard water minerals otherwise sit on dishes in the dishwasher and "bake" on.
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#18 of 22 Old 10-02-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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NAK

I found that the soap had a lot to do with it, probably in combination with our hard water. I can't use powdered soaps because they won't dissolve, and if I skip adding vinegar to the rinse aid compartment, I can tell.

I use Trader Joe's liquid detergent and white vinegar.

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#19 of 22 Old 10-02-2009, 11:37 PM
 
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i didnt read all the posts, just scanned, so excuse me if this is repeat info,
you live in the pacific north west, so i'm guessing you have really hard water like i do.
a HUGE, i mean HUGE thing with hard water and using a dishwasher is that your detergent needs to have a LOT of phosphates in it to work.
that is why cascade tablets work well for a lot of people, it seems to at this point be the only detergent left that hasnt eliminated it from its ingredients.
that is why Tide is the only soap that works in my laundry too, it sucks but thats what is going on.
also, the trap may be clogged or it could have clogged jets, but its most likely the soap.
good luck
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#20 of 22 Old 10-02-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I agree about the hard water as a potential problem. Also, when is the last time the dishwasher has been cleaned? Ours has a filter thing where all the food particles go, and I find that when that's clogged, the dishwasher leaves particles of food everywhere.

I also agree about the rinsing. I, too, read that rinsing before putting in the dishwasher isn't a good idea. I never rinse - I just shove it in there. Also, I ALWAYS run the pots/pans cycle. I never do any other cycle, regardless of what is in the dishwasher. I find the other cycles completely useless.

I also always use the hottest temperature option (sani, on ours), but I skip the drying - I guess, I figure it saves a little energy/money that way. I just open the dishwasher once the cycles are done, and let everything air dry.

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#21 of 22 Old 10-03-2009, 08:03 AM
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Ladybug, we tried the Cascade tablets and had no luck. What else might work?
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#22 of 22 Old 10-03-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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I have the same issues and have tried EVERYTHING with no luck. We do not have hard water. A few years ago, I was posting on here and got most of the same suggestions. I take my dishwasher apart and deep clean it about once a month. That keeps the "sludge" down but does not eliminate it. I have even tried filling the washer 1/4 full with CLEAN dishes. They come out with sludge. This is our second dishwasher. The first was super cheap. The current one is "top of the line". No difference in how well they work.....

After much research, I have concluded that they just do not make them like they used to. My mom has horrible housekeeping practices and her dishes come out of the 30 yo dishwasher perfectly clean. Same with my MIL and her 25 yo portable beast.....until......she got a new one. Now she has the exact same problem I do. I think the newer ones simply do not use enough water to get the stuff as clean as the old water-hogs did.

With that, I do have better luck when I do not rinse the dishes, am careful not to overload, and make sure I am there to open the washer as soon as it is done so I can rinse the sludge off of anything that needs it. Once that stuff dries, it is impossible to get off!
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