Dishwasher tips and maintenance

Need-to-know dishwasher tips and maintenance

Investing in a dishwasher can be a real game changer as you no longer have to be super selective about what you use in the kitchen.

Having a dishwasher at your disposal makes entertaining at home easy. You no longer have to waste time laboriously cleaning up afterwards – simply let the dishwasher do it all for you.

You can’t really argue the value of owning a dishwasher. Due to its supreme convenience and time-saving functionality, it’s one of the few appliances that will never become a grudge purchase.

Nowadays dishwashers are a common must-have appliance in most modern homes, and with the latest technology, they don’t need to be energy- and water-guzzling appliances either.

Most of today’s high-end dishwashers (LG, Samsung, Defy, Bosch and Whirlpool) are so energy- and water-friendly that they can actually help save you money on utility bills.

Having said that, however, we believe for optimum performance, it’s essential that users know how to pack their dishwashers and what not to put in them.

Here are some helpful tips…

How to pack your dishwasher

Are you packing your dishwasher incorrectly? Different stains require different treatment. He says if you understand the stain, you can pack your dishes accordingly for optimum stain removal.

For example, carbohydrate-based stains like potatoes and tomatoes need the full force of the water jets, while protein-based foods such as dried egg yolk and custard require more contact with the chemical detergent.

Dishwashers operate using jets of water that get dispersed at high speed via the dishwasher’s arms. Although the entire interior of a dishwasher will get wet during a cycle, it will not necessarily clean everything in the same way. This explains why, in some cases, a particularly stubborn piece of burnt food can be washed off, while lighter stains remain.

As such, pack dishes with stubborn carbohydrate-based stains in close proximity to the rotating arms to ensure that they get hit by the fastest moving jets of water. This would be at the centre of the bottom and top racks.

For protein-based stains, the areas located at the sides or edges of the dishwasher racks are best suited, as water travels slower in these areas, and as such, the dishes placed here will get more intense contact with the dishwasher detergent, which is needed to remove these types of stains.

What not to put in the dishwasher

It’s important to understand what you can and can’t pack into the dishwasher. He says while there are items that clearly state that they need to be hand washed only, sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate what you should or shouldn’t pack in the dishwasher.

Get some tips…

  • Cast iron skillets or pans should not be cleaned in a dishwasher. For the best results you need to rinse them with hot water immediately after cooking. Remove any burnt food, then dry and scrub the pan with a mild abrasive like coarse salt. To prevent the pan from rusting, you can give it a light coating of cooking oil.
  • Any expensive cooking knife should only be washed by hand, as it will dull quickly if washed in a cutlery basket in the dishwasher. However, homeowners can now get dishwashers with a 3D cutlery tray, where sharp knives can be stored individually so that they don’t knock against one another, leading to them getting blunt before their time.
  • The majority of dishwashers can’t handle delicate crystal, as dishwasher detergent and the heat generated inside it can cause the crystal to chip and crack. However, some high-end dishwashers allow for high-quality delicate stemware to be washed with no risk.
  • As a general rule, wooddoes not play well with water, so to avoid the chance of any cracking or warping, it’s best to rather rinse wooden spoons, bowls or cutting boards in warm running water, and drying them off by hand afterwards
  • If you clean disposable aluminiumin your dishwasher it will lose its shine, become dull and turn a blackish colour. You also run the risk of getting black residue marks on all the other items in the dishwasher.
  • Cleaning your gold- or silver-plated cutleryin your dishwasher will lead to the plating wearing off over time. It is a far better option to simply rinse these in hot water and gently clean them by hand.
  • If you clean your copper pans in the dishwasher, exposure to heat, air and humidity inherent in the dishwasher cycle will change their colour. Also, bear in mind that copper is toxic and cannot be exposed to food. To prevent exposure, the pans are lined with a metal coating, usually steel or tin, that forms a barrier between the copper and the food. As such, they need to be carefully cleaned by hand, a plastic scourer and mild detergent to avoid damaging this layer. If the barrier is damaged, these pots should be rendered unusable.

General Maintenance and repairs

It is important to take care of your dishwasher. You can clean the interior from time to time using various products specifically for cleaning dishwashers. These are obtainable from your local supermarket or hardware store.

Regularly check the filters and sump area at the bottom of the dishwasher for a build-up of fat residue and left over food stuffs. The filters are easy to remove (in most modern dishwashers) and can be cleaned with soapy warm water.

Also, the drain pump and spray arms do get blocked from time to time, usually as a result of leftover food on the dishes. This is slightly more difficult to clean out but information on how to do so is always in your operating manual. Be sure to read this first or contact your local appliance repairer to assist with this.

Finally, it is a good idea to always make sure your coarse salt dispenser is not empty and you use a good quality rinse aid or soap tablet.

For any other queries, feel free to contact Bergens Appliance Repairs in Randburg for further assistance or questions.