What to Do for Dishwashers that are Not Cleaning Properly

Have you experienced using a newly washed plate or glass that still has gunk on it? A lot of homeowners noticed this problem multiple times, and even though their dishwashers are only a few years old, its cleaning ability has dropped off dramatically.

We will be sharing some tips on what to do when you encounter an issue with a dishwasher not cleaning because let’s be honest, a dishwasher that is not properly cleaning your dirty dishes is an annoying problem. Most people don’t have problems with washing dishes manually. But it is nice to have a gadget that can do this for you when you are alone in your house, or you are busy with your work.

A dishwasher is an appliance that will make your day a lot better. After reading this article, you will be able to remove your unit’s spray arms and unclog them, know how to clean the inside of your appliance correctly, discover how to remove the dirt and grimes on the dirty dishes.

When cleaning your dishwasher, the things that you needed are the following:

White vinegar

Putty knife


A 1/4-inchsocket for your ratchet

Grade 00 fine steel wool

Steel wire, wire hanger or steel cable


Old and unused toothbrush

Everyone can do this. It is not that complicated, and if your dishwasher is not cleaning your dishes properly, you will thank yourself later for doing this project.

Tip #1: Remove the spray arms and unclog

Spray arms that are clogged need to be the number one priority of any dishwasher owners if they encounter any problems with their appliance. It is a function of the hard water and the new non-phosphate dishwashing detergent. There are new designs that could dump a lot of dishwashing detergent and not worry about filling up the soap dispenser manually every time you wash your dishes.

If you are using the newer designs with smart containers, the directions should be followed the correct dishwashing soap be used to avoid any complications. A lot of soap manufacturers change the ingredients or the formula of their products and eliminate the use of phosphate. This good for the environment, but it can pose some problems with your dishwasher system.

For a thorough explanation on how to clean spray arms, visit this site.

The difference in the soap that is used can cause some minor issues to your appliance like buildup of residue or scale in your unit. There is a good chance that you experienced the same problem. There are brands like GE, where you can remove the lower spray arm of the unit. You can do it by turning the arm counterclockwise while pulling it up. You can remove the middle and the top spray arms by using a ratchet and socket.

Check every hole in the spray arms for any clog formation. You can use different techniques in removing the debris or clogs in the holes. Use a steel wire or steel cable to thoroughly clean the holes (use the wires like dental floss). If you are not sure what size of steel cable to use, bring the arm to the nearest hardware store to test. If you do not have a steel wire, you can use a wire hanger to unclog the arms.

Tip #2: Soak the spray arms in vinegar

Removing bits of foods and scales from the holes mechanically will help transform your dishwasher from a broken appliance to one that will help you clean plates and glasses. Since you already removed the arms, you can soak it in a bath of vinegar to thoroughly clean the hard-to-reach places.

Vinegar, especially the white variety, will naturally break down food and scale buildup as well as old dishwashing detergent that in on the spray arms. You can use either one of these ways:

Your first option is to place the spray arms on a cookie sheet or any shallow container and add vinegar. Your second option is to put the arms in the kitchen sink and soak it with vinegar.

For a thorough explanation on how dishwashers work, visit https://www.explainthatstuff.com/dishwashers.html.

Tip #3: Clean the inside of the dishwasher

Make sure that you will clean the inside of the dishwasher regularly, at least once a month. You will be surprised at the dirt that you will find when you thoroughly clean it: broken glass from plates and glasses, food fragments, toys or Popsicle sticks. The first step is to check its bottom for any debris. The mat below is called a coarse filter. It is meant to catch any large particles that could prevent the tub of your unit from draining the liquid.

Check out the insides by feeling around to areas that you cannot see and remove the reservoir’s cover where the water will flow. Check the reservoir for any chunk of food or other muck. Clean all the filters with a sponge and run it in a clean and running water.