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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. We are on ours econd dishwasher. The first was very old and cheap so I assumed our troubles were the dishwasher. But we got a new one. A fancy one a few years ago and the troubles seem to be getting worse.

There is what we call "dishwasher sludge" on the dishes when the cycle is done. It primarily concentrates on the items on the top shelf and really likes glass glasses. The sludge is this fine grit that clings to everything. If I catch the cycle right at the end, I can just rinse it off. But if it dries, even another whirl in the washer will not get it off.

We always rinse our dishes but not to the point that they are sparkling. I never block the stream and make sure that each item is in full view of the spray. I have overloaded the machine, but it does not seem to make a difference. We use Ecover dish powder but I have also tried other natural brands, adding Borax, and even Cascade (once).

Here are the things we have tried:
Using more or less powder
Dismantling the machine to see if any drains are clogged
Moving (not to fix our dish problems but that eliminates a hook-up issue)
Using the pot scrubber cycle
Rinse aid stuff

It seems to be getting worse with time. Now in addition to the sludge, our dishes and pans come out dulled with a white film on them. Silverwear too.

I know the rinse water is not very clean. There are always pools of it on the tops of the glasses and in the "tupperware" crevices. It is always full of sludge.

What gives? My mom's ancient machine cleans anything. Anything. So does MIL's ancient machine. They do not even rinse! Why does mine suck so bad?
 

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Do you have hard water? That is exactly what happens with our dishwasher whenever we run out of salt in our water softener. I don't know how to remedy it without getting a water softener. Maybe there is a dishwashing detergent made for hard water. I wonder if adding baking soda would help.
 

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hey i wanna know too

the only thing that fixed this problem was those cascade packs that include dawn. you just put one in instead of detergent.
: i don't rinse before i put my dishes in anymore. but i feel kinda bad about it b/c we use mostly natural cleaning products. i have never had any luck with anything but cascade.

is there any place where food could be collecting? i usually have to fish out crumbs and bits of food off the bottom of mine. i imagine a clogged drain could do the same thing. i never had it happen with my dishwasher, but i did with my washing machine.

so if anyone has a better solution i would love to hear it. i know that baking soda really cuts grease (IT WORKS!) but i don't know how to apply that to my dishwasher.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No hard water here. We actually had it tested by a very confused Culligan man (that is what lengths I have gone to fix this problem.....). He said our water was right on normal.

I have not experimented with any mainstream powders except for plain old Cascade. Maybe I should try the tablets? Liquid dishwasher soap is even worse for some reason.

I keep thinking it is a draining issue too but like I said, we have taken the whole thing apart on several occasions to find nothing.

I am beginning to wonder if the knock-off tupperware is the problem. Since there are so many surfaces that dirty water can collect, perhaps the rinse water is staying nasty. And we seem to always be washing a lot of it. I do not even really use it for much except for dd's endless requests for snacks. I probably use 10 a day to house the raisens, melon bits, chips, etc.... that dd asks for. I like using it because it does not break and I don't care if it gets lost. I have noticed that when I host big pasrties and do load after load of plain dishes and glasses (as in to tupperwareish stuff) that they turn out better.

For those of you with the same issues, do you wash a lot of this tuppeware stuff? I am pretty sure my MIL and mom do not use much so maybe that is the issue. Yet another reason to dump the plastic. I also suspect that the older washers use more water. My MIL's is ancient. I only has one sprayer that is on the bottom of the washer and she stuffs it to the gills every time.
 

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well we use a good amount of tupperware. i only put it on the top and make sure not to overload the machine. i figure if i put a huge bowl on the bottom, then the water cannot rinse the top well, so big bowls go on the top too. oh you said you don't do that- nevermind

is everything dirty? what happens if you leave the dirty stuff still in there and run a quick rinse?
 

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VINEGAR!!! We have VERY hard water and get dishwasher sludge all the time. Vinegar has really helped cut down on it. Now it doesn't adhere to the glasses, AND the glasses are nice and sparkly. I add about 1/2 c to the DW once it's filled w/ water. Also, don't use the heated dry, it basically *bakes* the sludge onto the glasses. Oh, and we have better results w/ liquid or gel dishwashing soap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The saga continues. Dh is out of town and I am bored...... So yesterday I had a full load ready to wash. I went and bought the Cascade with Dawn tablets. That did not work. Lots of sludge still. I tried running it on another rinse cycle. It looked as if it did not even touch it. I wish I have a remote control camera to see what the heck is going on it there! I know that both spinners are working because if I open the washer really fast, I can see them both still spinning and spraying a bit.

So, I got angry.

I took the whole freaking thing apart AGAIN. I took all of the parts outside and blasted them with the power washer. There was sludge stuck in every crevice. Then I brought it all back inside and put it together. I ran a cycle with no dishes just to make sure all of the sludge was banished. So today, I am canning so I have a lot of dishes. I uaully hand wash that sort of stuff but want to see what is going on. I filled it up with dishes (no tupperware), used the cascade stuff AND vinegar (thanks for that suggestion) and let in whirl. The dishes were basically rinsed sparkling clean before going in the washer.

SLUDGE EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!! It looks like I washed the dishes with malt-o-meal.

Where the H*LL is this coming from?!?!?!?

I am so hopping mad, I am ready to put firecrackers in it letting them rip!

I took the whole thing apart. I KNOW there is no sludge anywhere. I took the spinners off. I took the screens off. I put an old bottle brusher down the drain and it came back clean. The machine is actually making sludge! I brought the thing at Sears and had a repair guy out a few months ago. He said it was working fine then charged me $50.

Anyone think I damaged the machine by using "natural" powders too long?
 

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Hmmm... I don't think you damaged the machine. Okay, there's this stuff that my mom's repair man gave her that we used in our dishwasher when we first moved in. I think it was from Sears. It's a packet of powder and it comes in a box, it's meant for *stripping* dishwashers and washing machines and what not. I'm not quite sure what it's called though
When we moved into our apt, the inside of the dishwasher looked like it paint had been washed in it. There was white mineral sludge stuff EVERYWHERE. One cycle w/ no dishes and just dumping this powder in got rid of it.

Does you machine have a food processor in it? My mom's does and sometimes it gets weird and does the sludge thing, mine doesn't have one though.

Sorry mama~ I don't have any suggestions, just symapathy
 

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man this sucks! was it just as bad with the first dishwasher?

so it has to be something with the hookup right?

did you call the manufacturer?

seems like the handiman should be willing to do more.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Yooper
I probably use 10 a day to house the raisens, melon bits, chips, etc.... that dd asks for. I like using it because it does not break and I don't care if it gets lost.
Go to a restuarant supply store and buy a couple dozen ramakins (sp?). They don't break if they get dropped on the store and they are 1/4 cup (ish) so perfect for snacks.

AM
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by nichole
man this sucks! was it just as bad with the first dishwasher?

so it has to be something with the hookup right?

did you call the manufacturer?

seems like the handiman should be willing to do more.
The first dishwasher was worse. It was a few years old but one of those $150 specials. Super cheap. It came with our last house. The previous owners told us it did not work well and that we would need to replace it. So we did. The one we have now is about 5 years old and is in the mid/upper range of "good". The first two years we had it was in our old house. I believe the problem is getting worse but I might just be getting more irritable about it. The sludge stuff has been the same in both washers and both houses.

Since it is Sear's brand (Kenmore), the other appliance repair people will not touch it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by amseiler
Go to a restuarant supply store and buy a couple dozen ramakins (sp?). They don't break if they get dropped on the store and they are 1/4 cup (ish) so perfect for snacks.

AM
Good idea! I am slowly purging all of my plastic anyway. For the last week I have been serving all of dd's snacks in glass bowls. At 3, she is now old enough to be careful with them so she does not get cut.
 

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I have similar problems but suspect I also have slightly hard water. I have found near all the rinse aid products another product made for washing your dishwasher (like the other poster mentioned but this is at Wally World (ack!) vs. a special product at Sears). Whenever I notice my heating element starting to turn white, I grab one of the cleaners and it cleans the element off. After that my sludge problems are diminished. It took me a bit of looking to find it because it looks like all the other Jet-Dri bottles and I don't even want to begin to think of what's in the stuff but it works. The rest of the time I use either Pamolive Baking Soda gel (lowest commercial phosphate level I can find) or Trader Joe's liquid. Good luck! My dishwasher not working properly makes me a very angry mama!
 

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If ours ever does that is because the sprayer thing that goes around has food or paper clogged in it.

I clean it out with a pair of tweezers and a needle and all is fine.

I love rinse aid. I know its not natural but it sure as heck makes for nice dishes.
 

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I have had repeated issues with my new dishwasher (its only a year and half old!) like what you are describing. Only the dishwasher gets this gross blackish (not mold) stuff around all the crevices in it, and the dishes all have a residue like you described. I have tried scrubbing everything out in it, I have tried different natural detergents, baking soda, vinegar, Cascade complete (the really awful kind
: ) and even bleach and nothing works. Finally about almost 2 months ago it just quit working (like quit rinsing at all) and I dont have the money to have it fixed right now. Honestly, I am so happy with how spotlessly clean my dishes are from handwashing that I dont really care. We plan on fixing or replacing the dishwasher before we sell the house, but otherwise we are glad that it isnt working. I never realized that between the pre-rinsing, loading/unloading, and rewashing that I was doing WAY more work than handwashing.
 

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One thing that's helped here is to clean around the float. Ours is covered and does not come apart in any obvious way, so it was difficult and very nasty to reach up in it and get all the goo out, but it did help.

Also, try running a completely empty load with just vinegar. You might consider turning upthe hot water heater for the load, too, in case your heating element isn't working great.

We need to use Cascade Complete and a commercial rinse aid for our dishes to get clean. A lot depends on exactly how your dishwasher is set up, how it's loaded, and your water, so everyone seems to find something different works.
 

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We have the same problem. We also have very hard water. Heere is what I have found to help it. About every 4-6 months dh takes it apart and cleans the whole thing, like you did. After he has done that, I run a the dishwasher empty with vinegar and baking soda (lots of vinegar dumped into the bottom (2 cups maybe?). I have filled the rinse aid thing with vinegar, and this seems to help. too. About 1/month (when it starts happening) I run it empty with just vinegar and baking soda, with all the "extra" cycles - sani wash, extra hot rinse, ect.

I have also found that the cascade with dawn action packs work the very best at getting rid if the stuff.

I never realized so many people had the same problem, I thought we were the only ones!
HTH
 
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