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Is it time for a new dishwasher?

  • j
  • 9

Our dishwasher came with our house when we bought it a year ago and I have no idea how old it is. Out dishwasher leaves spots and food on my flatwear and I end up with very very cloudy glasses and food particles caked to things on the top shelf.
Is this something that can be fixed or do we need to buy a new dishwasher. If we need a new one, what are the best under $500?

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  1. Well that doesn't sound too good. You could try rinsing more and using the soap that is supposed to help with cloudy glasses. In our house, we had an old dishwasher that worked great even though it sounded like a train going through the house when it was running. I bought a GE high end DW when we remodeled and it works great. I also has good luck with whirl pool but I'd check reviews.

    1. Can't you find the model number and look it up? If you can that may save you a bundle to see how old it is, and get to look at a manual. Have you tried changing soap, or adding a rinse agent?

      On another note, I just put $130 into my Whirlpool to have it repaired. All I paid for was the labor as the parts that went out were electronic and they have a 5 yr. warranty, and it is 4 years old. I love my whirlpool! It is so quiet that I can't even tell when it is running. But I think that Whirlpool got bought by Maytag. Not sure though. I have a portable (old house, cabinets too small for a built in and no money for remodeling entire kitchen!) The repair guy told me that if I need to get a new one to get a GE because they provide a better quality product, on portables, than they do on built ins, because you pay more for the protables and they need to last longer! just an FYI!

      2 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        Actually, Maytag was bought by Whirlpool. I'm not sure what significance it has for this discussion, tho.

        As to the OP, it may be just that you need a rinse agent and perhaps to clean the thing out well (e.g. filter if there is one). You can almost certainly improve its performance, but whether you can get really good results is another thing entirely. Cloudy glassware can be caused by too much powder. Try different things (cycles, brand of detergent, amount of detergent, etc.) and see what happens.

        1. re: johnb

          Well, John, I am glad to hear it was the other way around. The reason I mentioned it is because I have always had Whirlpool and I think they are excellent machines. As I mentioned, they are so quiet you aren't sure if they are even on. But now they will stop making portables, which is what I have to use, so it saddens me to not be able to replace mine when it finally gives ups (which I hope isn't for a few more years!)

      2. Are you using liquid, or tablets for washing? Check to see that there is enough water flow to the unit....no kinked hoses-if they are hoses, not lines. Is there a place in the soap dispenser to put a pre-rinse agent in? Barring that, have the pump checked for output, and the screens cleared.

        2 Replies
        1. re: tlaneyyz

          I was using Palmolive, then switched to 7th Generation liquid, then to Electrosol powder..nothing changes. I've also used jet dry to no avail

          1. re: jahg

            I would try some of the other fixes that have been suggested here. Also, while it's running, open the door real fast and look in there to see if the arm(s) is moving as it should and the water is spraying out as it should. If all that doesn't help, then yes, probably time to throw in the towel and get a new one. Anyway, it will make you happy.

        2. In general, it's the soap more than the dishwasher that gets dishes clean. Use bad soap, or no softening salt, or no rinse agent, and even the best dishwasher will leave your dishes in a condition other than clean.

          Sounds like you're missing a filter in your dishwasher somewhere. I'd try looking for a manual for it online if you didn't get one with the house.

          1. - Are you loading it carefully, so that everything is freely exposed to the washing action?
            - Is the detergent dispersing properly or is it blocked by part of your load?
            - Are all of the wash arms working? Some machines have three or four.
            - Are some of the water spray holes possibly clogged?
            - Is the filter clean? Most North American machines have "self cleaning" filters, but they sometimes clog anyway. Most high end and European/Asian machines require routine filter cleaning.
            - Are there retractable parts of the washing mechanism that do not pop up when they should?
            - Are you using a detergent that has enzymes?
            - Is the water level correct? This is a common problem if your machine has a "timed" fill (as opposed to a "metered" fill) and your water pressure is even a little low?

            I can't direct you to a specific mid-range brand. Consumer Reports is likely the best source of that information. It is probably at your library, but their web access is worth the price if you plan a major purchase. I can tell you that most North American brands have both good and inferior models, and that there is little relationship between price and washing quality (price being more related to "convenience" features). Bosch and Miele machines tend to work very well and are especially quiet, but are relatively (Bosch) to very (Miele) expensive. But no dishwasher will do a good job if you don't load it carefully.