Dishwasher Not Cleaning Well

Submitted By
Jeff Leuschner
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Q:

We have a Maytag dishwasher that we've had for 8-10 years. Over the past 6-10 months it's stopped cleaning as well. There are usually small food particles in the glasses. I've taken and cleaned out everything inside the dishwasher I can think of including pulling out the bottom drain area and cleaning it out. I've also cleaned the arms and the holes in the arms. I can't figure out why I'm still getting small food particles on the glasses? Do I need a new dishwasher?

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Dishwashers work using a pump system.  This pump works by using the water that fills on the bottom of the dishwasher when it fills.  Fine mesh filters catch the food partials while this water is being pumped through the pipes and out of the spray arms.  What typically occurs it that over time the hardness of the water, combined with the build up of soap fills the tiny holes in the dishwasher arms that allow the water to spray out as they spin.  The result is poor rinsing and cleaning cycles.  

Another issue can be that the fine filter that is housed just below the round ring in the center bottom area of the washer can become plugged.  During one of the cycles and while the dishwasher is draining out the dirty wash water clean water is back washed through this tiny mesh screen to clear it of debris,. If this rinse cycle fails to clean the screen properly or water hardness plugs it, the dishwasher pressure deteriorates and less water is pumped out of the arms during the wash cycle. 

There are two things that can be done.  First off the easiest is to use Finish Glass Magic.  http://www.finishdishwashing.com/product-glass-magic-performance-booster.php  This product is used in our house ever time we use the machine.  It removes not only scale on our dishes but breaks down the hard water debris that collects on the screen and within the spray arms themselves.  

If this does not completely  solve your issue then you need to go to step two.  That is to remove the spray arms and the filter at the bottom of the machine and clean.  As every machine is a bit different it is best that you obtain the parts list photo off of any of the fine appliance web sites.  Once you understand how to take the arms off and the cover over the filter it is very easy to clean and put back together.  You will be amazed on how much built up soap residue and gunk has collected in the spray arms over the years.  But if your successful using the Glass Magic you will not have to even go this route.

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If your dishwasher isn't getting the job done, it may not be getting enough water. The water-inlet valve, which brings water from your outside source, may be responsible. It is easy to replace. You will find it at the bottom of your machine, under the access panel. If it is defective, you can replace it inexpensively.  Good luck!

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