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Dishwasher question - dirty dishes

Lately I have noticed that my dishes are coming out of my dishwasher still dirty, they get a nasty white coating on them which is difficult to get off. I am stuck handwashing nearly everythig that comes out of my dishwasher, which obviously defeats the purpose. my dishwasher is new-ish, about 5 years old. I tried everything - a weekly rinsing with CLR (in case hard water is an isssue), switching detergents, adding lemon juice to the rinse cycle. Any suggestions?

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  1. Check the soap dispenser on the door. After a few years, the dispenser often become warped from the heat and does not open properly -- leaving unclean dishes and soap residue. They are actually fairly easy to replace and you can easily find replacement parts on the Internet.

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    1. re: wanker

      Make sure your dishwasher is getting all the water it needs by checking throughout the cycle. there can sometimes be a problem in the water line/

    2. It might also be an issue with phosphate free detergents. Which don't seem to clean nearly as well.

      1. Which brand (and type) of dishwashing detergent are you using?

        1. Other possibilities apart from already mentioned include water not hot enough, rinse agent not dispensing or not being used, maybe a filter clogged if it's a Bosch.

          Water not hot enough could be a problem with the machine or a problem with the water heater, although you would probably notice in other things like showers or at least at the sinks if the latter.

          To me "white coating" suggests the detergent itself and it not getting rinsed somehow. This could be lack of water as mentioned or perhaps the heat issue or perhaps the filter not allowing stuff to rinse away properly. Using the rinse agent (Jet Dry) should help somewhat if you are not doing this and other things check out alright, but I kinda doubt it is this alone, plus you say it is a recent development (so would only apply if you recently stopped using it).

          Another simple issue in some dishwashers is you must make sure that upper level wash spray is not blocked by putting something in the center of the bottom rack. Different designs do not have this limitation, so this would have to be caused by a new type of item being placed in dishwasher or a new person doing the placing. ;-)

          1. Call a service company. There are a number of reasons this might happen, and other than a clogged filter, which you can clean yourself, there is no reason to live with this. Dirty dishes can be caused by clogged jets, cold water (plumbing problem), clogged filters, a malfunctioning pump or even the microprocessor that controls the cycles. You will probably not be able to fix this yourself. It is probably worth the service fee.