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Old 02-25-11, 02:19 PM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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Dishwasher Woes

We are about to replace our dishwasher, but I also know that most dishwasher problems are not actually the dishwasher, but other issues instead. Despite this, I am convinced that our issues might actually be the dishwasher.

Here are the facts; please provide your own FOOpinion:

-The dishwasher was amazing for about two months when we moved in, then it had problems for a few weeks, then it was amazing again, and now it's the worst it's ever been.
-The dishwasher is old enough that the racks inside are that mint green/turquoise color from when my mom was a kid.
-If I put in dirty dishes, the dishes come out like they were rinsed off but not washed.
-If I clean the dishes first, they come out looking dirty. I don't want to say it's dishwasher soap residue, but maybe that is what it is—it's whitish and it has to be scraped off with a scouring sponge, but there is no thickness to it.

-We have a water softener.
-We have two whole-house water filters.
-We have tried using less soap, more soap; JetDry, and no JetDry.
-The water heater is set to the middle position.
-I took the dishwasher apart and tried to clean the screen where the hot water supply comes in.
-I ran an empty cycle with distilled white vinegar two separate times.


I am at a loss here. All similar problems I read about online state that it's a hard water issue, but we have a water softener (and the dishwasher worked well even when we weren't using the softener before). So, maybe I just need to adjust the water softener hardness to solve everything? That being said, it's a Morton softener with the hardness set to “35,” but I can't find a manual about what that number translates to, and whether a bigger or smaller number means softer water.

Thoughts?

(Okay, back to taking care of the 8-day old.)
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Old 02-25-11, 02:26 PM   #2
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You are having problems due to the phosphates being removed from the dishwashing detergent. Not an uncommon problem these days. Use google and research it a bit. You may be wasting money and will see the same thing with the new machine. I have heard of people adding trisodium phosphate to their detergent.

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132072...re-still-dirty
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Quote:
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

Last edited by jsharr; 02-25-11 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-25-11, 02:34 PM   #3
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get a new dishwasher. I have really really hard water, and my dishes get clean, so it's NOT the phosphates - or lack thereof. Did you take the water-sprayer things out & soak them in vinegar, too? That will clean out any blockages in those parts that simply running vinegar through the machine will not do...
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Old 02-25-11, 02:37 PM   #4
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You are having problems due to the phosphates being removed from the dishwashing detergent. Not an uncommon problem these days.
I've heard a lot about this happening recently as well. Maybe try changing detergent to see if it helps, right now we are using Electrasol Powerball detergent and it works pretty well.
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Old 02-25-11, 02:45 PM   #5
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get a new dishwasher. I have really really hard water, and my dishes get clean, so it's NOT the phosphates - or lack thereof. Did you take the water-sprayer things out & soak them in vinegar, too? That will clean out any blockages in those parts that simply running vinegar through the machine will not do...
+1
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Old 02-25-11, 02:48 PM   #6
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I guess I'm way too old school ... I don't care for dishwashers - and I know they have gotten a lot better in the "modern" era but I just don't care for the rinsing off to put into a machine so I could take back out and put away. I guess I look at the fact of washing them, drying and putting away - done.

Couch likes his dishwasher. I may be getting used to one in the future. hehe - but even when I go visit him - old habits die hard - and I wash and dry dishes.
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Old 02-25-11, 03:01 PM   #7
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In a little over 12 years in my house, I'm on my third dishwasher. The original one was ancient when we moved in. It worked for a couple of years, then died. A while later, some friends of mine donated their Kitchenaid to the Church garage-sale. I bought it and it worked really well for a few years. It was a really fancy model with a lot of features and was a little picky about what order you pushed its buttons. It finally died too. Last year, I was riding my bike and found a very basic fairly late-model dishwasher at a garage-sale a few blocks from the house. They wanted $5.00 for it, or $10.00 delivered. I thought seriously about taking the lawn-tractor, with the trailer on it to pick up the dishwasher. I decided that the $5.00 delivery was worth it to save me the embarrassment of driving the lawn-tractor 3 blocks away. The newest washer works like a charm, so far. When it dies, I'll know I got my $10.00 worth out of it.
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Old 02-25-11, 03:06 PM   #8
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Here is a shot-in-the-dark...

Verify that it's draining properly and efficiently. Recently, I had a problem with my kitchen drain. The first symptom was the dishwasher.
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Old 02-25-11, 03:14 PM   #9
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FYI the dishwasher should be getting cold water, it creates it's own hot water with that big heating coil in the bottom.
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Old 02-25-11, 05:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tude View Post
I guess I'm way too old school ... I don't care for dishwashers - and I know they have gotten a lot better in the "modern" era but I just don't care for the rinsing off to put into a machine so I could take back out and put away. I guess I look at the fact of washing them, drying and putting away - done.

Couch likes his dishwasher. I may be getting used to one in the future. hehe - but even when I go visit him - old habits die hard - and I wash and dry dishes.
This! Hand washing is easier and less hassle free. I have a Kenmore that was installed 5 years ago when I remodeled my kitchen and have turned it on for about 4 minutes. I use a dish pan for my washing and use the water to either flush to toilet or water the vegetables.
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Old 02-25-11, 06:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tude View Post
I guess I'm way too old school ... I don't care for dishwashers - and I know they have gotten a lot better in the "modern" era but I just don't care for the rinsing off to put into a machine so I could take back out and put away. I guess I look at the fact of washing them, drying and putting away - done.

Couch likes his dishwasher. I may be getting used to one in the future. hehe - but even when I go visit him - old habits die hard - and I wash and dry dishes.
+1
I have a right and left dishwasher that have worked flawlessly for 45 years.
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Old 02-25-11, 06:22 PM   #12
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Try http://www.envirocontech.com/product...emi-Shine.html

My SO is an appliance tech for GE. He's heard tons of his customers complain about 'dirty' dishes now that they have taken the phosphates out of detergents. He carries citric acid which is about what Lemi-Shine is. You can get it at Wal*Fart.
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Old 02-25-11, 06:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
Here is a shot-in-the-dark...

Verify that it's draining properly and efficiently. Recently, I had a problem with my kitchen drain. The first symptom was the dishwasher.
How do I verify this? I watch it drain into the garbage disposal and there is never water in the washer once it's done...
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Old 02-25-11, 06:46 PM   #14
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How do I verify this? I watch it drain into the garbage disposal and there is never water in the washer once it's done...
Just asked SO he said it's draining properly and efficiently if there is no water in the bottom at the end of the cycle. As soon as I read him your problem he said it's most likely due to the phosphate issue.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:44 PM   #15
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Shucks, I thought this thread was going to be about dishwashing in restaurants. I'm not a designated dishwasher, but I just got home and I'm soaking wet from the dish pit.

At home, I wouldn't think of using a dishwasher. They seem really wasteful to me. You have to rinse them off with water, which alone arguably uses about as much water as washing them by hand, then the machine itself uses a bunch of energy and water, and sometimes they're STILL not clean. I'd rather do them by hand; I ain't scared a' no dish.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:55 PM   #16
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I do both. Wash them then put them in the dishwasher to get scalded. Figure anything that the soap didn't get will be gotten by a 2nd round of soap combined with scalding hot.

I used to use Electrasol but people complained that it made things filmy so we use the powder in the green box that I forget the name of and am too lazy to go get.

and What MP's SO said about the draining is right. I had to rebuild the s-trap and p-trap and get a new incinerator under my sink because the prior owners were ******bags and clearly didn't know how to clean/unclog anything.
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Old 02-25-11, 09:56 PM   #17
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Shucks, I thought this thread was going to be about dishwashing in restaurants. I'm not a designated dishwasher, but I just got home and I'm soaking wet from the dish pit.
I've seen some people put on a black trashbag.
Looks dorky, but from what I've heard it works.
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Old 02-25-11, 10:17 PM   #18
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You have to be -------------------> This cool to have an incinerator under your sink.
That's actually the brand name play-on-words. It's what I remember, because it sounds cool.
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Old 02-26-11, 12:54 PM   #19
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I have a dishwasher I bought about ten years ago, I throw the dishes in dirty and they come out clean. I wouldn't have one if I had to rinse the dishes first. I do have a water softener.
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Old 02-26-11, 02:31 PM   #20
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You have to be -------------------> This cool to have an incinerator under your sink.
That's actually the brand name play-on-words. It's what I remember, because it sounds cool.
Insinkerator brand garbage disposals.
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Old 02-26-11, 02:37 PM   #21
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Insinkerator brand garbage disposals.
Yep. That's it
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Old 02-26-11, 03:50 PM   #22
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An old dishwasher is really gross to work on, there aren't spare parts, a service call is ~$200 around here. I bought a new dishwasher for ~$400, my son and I installed it in ~30mins. Life is short, I'm not wasting time trying to fix a 30 year dishwasher.
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Old 02-26-11, 06:53 PM   #23
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I've heard a lot about this happening recently as well. Maybe try changing detergent to see if it helps, right now we are using Electrasol Powerball detergent and it works pretty well.
Consumer Reports gave Electrasol Powerball tabs an "excellent" rating. I've been noticing a lot of white residue on my dishes, I think I'll try this.
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Old 02-27-11, 04:41 PM   #24
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Clothes washing machines are good. They clean the clothes. Dish washing machines have a long way to go. If I have to do either one of these:

- Pre-wash by hand
- Post-wash by hand
- Install some costly water softener thingy
- Use expensive chemicals
- Spend more on the machine than a decent road bike would cost

... I'll keep doing it by hand. Or better yet, tell my daughter or son to do it.

EDIT: Changed "daughter" for "daughter or son" to keep feminist advocates off my back.
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Old 02-27-11, 05:52 PM   #25
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Bought my condo 12 years ago with its terrible GE Potscrubber 680 that was noisy and didn't work worth squat. I'm single and always washed dishes by hand anyway, so when its water pump died I gave a happy sigh and washed dishes by hand until 5 months ago. Now I'm selling my place and had to put in a working dishwasher, chose a Maytag that has all sorts of wash cycles and lights that blink, and everything. I still wash dishes by hand, but every month or so I put my handful of plates and pots in and let it do its thing so the seals don't dry out.

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