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Dishes Not Clean After Washing In Dishwasher

The 10 things that can cause a dishes not clean issue are outlined below. Some of the things concern the dishwasher itself, and others relate to how the dishes are placed in the dishwasher or what type of detergent is used

dishes not clean

Try all 10 of these methods to get your dishwasher running properly. If you encounter any problems, leave us your question below and we can help.

Reasons For Dishes Not Clean After a Wash Cycle Include…


Large food particles on dishes can lead to dishes not clean after a wash cycle. Scrape or wash off large food particles before putting them in the dishwasher. Large chunks of food can clog up the dishwasher and reduce cleaning performance. Most dishwashers have the capability to grind through food chunks. However the dishwasher will perform much better if the dishes are free of food particles.


If the dishwasher is loaded with dishes in a non symmetrical pattern, the dishwasher will not be able to clean the dishes correctly. Do not load the dishwasher in a strange pattern. Keep the plates and dishes in a parallel pattern so when the water sprays, the dishes are getting hit with water ad the water can flow past. If the dishes are laying flat, the water spraying cannot reach past them as the plate or dish is blocking the water.


Depending on where you live, the type of detergent you use in your dishwasher matters. In most cases, a liquid or gel detergent is best as it can quickly dissolve versus powdered detergent. If you live in an area with hard water, it will be more difficult for the dishwasher to dissolve certain types of detergent. Using excessive or not enough detergent can cause your dishes not clean after using dishwasher problem and leave a white film on all dishes and glasses. Read the user’s manual for your dishwasher to see what the manufacturer recommends.


Be sure to keep the interior of the dishwasher clean. This is to remove any food particles, pieces of broken dishes, cups, or any build-up that should not be in the dishwasher. Hard water can build up in the dishwasher and cause problems. Clean the top rack, bottom rack, sides, and the bottom of the dishwasher to remove all gunk. It is recommended to clean out the dishwasher after the 25th wash cycle.


Many dishwashers have a filter in the bottom. This filter can become blocked and reduce performance of the dishwasher. Clean the filter at the inside bottom of the dishwasher. Remove it by unscrewing it from the dishwasher housing. Run the filter under hot water to clean it. Also check in the housing where the filter sits in the dishwasher for more debris. Clean it out and be sure to remove all gunk and debris. Screw the dishwasher filter back in and be sure it is securely fitted into the dishwasher housing.


If the dishwasher is not getting enough water, the dishwasher will not be able to clean properly. Run a test wash, open the door after the water fills and be sure the water reaches the heating element. If not check the following parts. The float valve in the dishwasher controls how much water flows into the dishwasher. Check the float valve in the bottom of the dishwasher to be sure it moves freely.


If the water going into the dishwasher is not hot enough, the dishwasher may not be able to clean the dishes properly. If you suspect your dishwasher is not getting hot water, check the water temperature. Run hot water from the nearest sink. Put the water into a bowl or glass and test it with a thermometer. Be sure the water is within the range from 120F to 140F for proper operation. You can also try running the hot water at the sink closest to the dishwasher. Run the water until hot, then run the dishwasher.


If the inlet screen in the dishwasher is clogged or blocked, it may cause the dishwasher to not clean the dishes or leave food particles. You can attempt to clean the inlet screen and remove all food particles or gunk clogging it. If this screen is damaged from cleaning, the problem will elevate. Use caution when cleaning the inlet screen. It is best to replace the inlet screen if is found to be clogged.


Another part in your dishwasher to check is the water inlet valve. The water inlet valve opens to allow water to flow into the dishwasher. If faulty, the water may not flow properly. When this part goes bad, you may hear a hammering noise. This hammering noise is a sign that the water inlet valve is going bad. Replace it if you hear the hammering noise. A bad water inlet valve may not fill the dishwasher with water properly, therefore leaving gunk on the dishes after a wash cycle.


If hard water is an issue in your area, the upper or lower spray arms in the dishwasher that spray water may be so badly clogged that the spray arms are not able to spray water onto the dishes properly. To remedy this issue, simply use something like a toothpick or similar and make sure the water spray holes on the spray arms are not blocked. If you find the spray arm damaged, replacing it is easy. If the spray arm is stuck and unable to freely move, this can also hinder how the dishes are cleaned. Make sure the spray arms are not blocked or a dish is not hitting the arm causing so it cannot move.

Heavy – Best setting for difficult items like pots or pans
Sensor – Dishes will be cleaned using minimal water and energy usage
Normal – Perfect for normal use such as dishes and cups
Auto – Dishes will be cleaned using minimal water and energy usage
TIP: Always use a rinse aid to assist the dishwasher – Cascade or Jet Dry reduces hard water from building up on dishes

dishwasher not cleaning dishes properly

NOTE: All dishwasher troubleshooting methods above will work on all GE, Whirlpool, Samsung, LG, Haier, Kenmore, Hotpoint, Emerson, Maytag, Sharp, Bosch, KitchenAid, and Frigidaire dishwashers.

Dishes not clean after running the dishwasher still? Contact our dishwasher repair experts for help!

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