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May 9, 2012 07:46 PM

KitchenAid dishwasher choked to death on olive pit!

I just got a big repair estimate (about $500) for my KitchenAid dishwasher.  It seems a couple of olive pits got into the works, which, being largely plastic, wete destroyed.  The field-replaceable-unit is the whole power unit, not just the impeller.  This is not really a defect — I don't expect that it should digest olive pits, and didn't put them in thete intentionally — but I am a little surprised that an olive pit could get into a place where it could do so much damage.

I like it otherwise, so am repairing it rather than replacing it.  I'll be more careful from now on. 

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  1. Hi, GH1618:

    Laughed at your title, cried with the story.

    I think maybe you're being a little too magnanimous with "not really a defect". IMO, the oversight of allowing something 1 or 2 olive pits into the wash chamber should *clearly* have been anticipated in the design. I would refight the battle of Antietam with KA over this one.

    I once had a plumber tell me (with a straight face) that "Food should NEVER [emphasis his] be run through a garbage disposal!" He didn't appreciate it when I asked if he had the same opinion of running sh#$ through a toilet. My point being: your story isn't too much different. I say take back your corner of the world from the morons.


    2 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I've had to take the sink drain apart to clean out a clog caused by passing too much food through the disposal. The disposal ground the stuff ok, but bits clogged the throat that connected the disposal to the drain. To use a PNW analogy, one log does not create a log jam, but a whole raft of them does.

      I also doubt if that plumber was referring to the disposal at the dishwashing station at a school cafeteria.

      1. re: paulj

        Hey, Paul:

        There's wisdom in that. It was the absolutism of my moron plumber's pronouncement that was so galling. What are we to expect will go into our Insinkerators and DWs? Clear water and clean dishes?

        Verily, you can clog any line with too much of its intended effluent. However, I submit as an a priori truth that an olive pit should not kill a DW; "any food" should not be murther so foul to a disposal; and a "log" or two should not Mama Cass my commode.

        If KA says its DWs can't handle an olive pit, it'd be like Foss or Dunlap claiming a 5-stick raft should never be pulled.


    2. Sorry to hear about the DW failure. Seeds/pits can be a problem for many dish machines. I feel your pain having fought more than one battle with KA in the past.
      When you buy a new machine in the future check to see if it has a filter basket in line. What ever filters you have in the machine keep them clean. Look at the specs and see if the machine has a soft or hard disposal in it. Hard disposals are better and some have anti-jam auto reversing pumps.
      I wish I could have every dollar I've ever spent in professional kitchens having the disposal cleaned out because some one thought they could just put any food down it.
      Disposals can benefit from some food like citrus but other foods like rice are bad news. We all know what happens to rice when it gets wet.
      Not good in a drain.
      It's a bummer but hey live and learn. ;)


      1 Reply
      1. re: TraderJoe

        Cleaning it out wouldn't be a problem, but an olive pit can (and did) cause breakage of plastic moving parts. Then there's the problem that the cheap, easily breakable plastic parts are attached to the expensive motor, which is perfectly fine, and sold as a unit. That's the way a lot of things are made nowadays.

      2. I have a whirlpool gold DW. It has no filters or anything to clean because it has a food grinder (hard disposal)that is designed to make short work of bits of stuff that get left on the plates. I've never intentially put an olive pit in my DW but I'm pretty sure that it would handle it without so much as a hiccup or the need for the heimlich.

        I paid under $600 for this unit about a half dozen years ago. IMO $500 seems a little steep to repair a DW that can't handle an olive pit. I'd probably opt for a new, better built unit if I were in your position. You can probably find a decent one for only modestly more than the repair.

        9 Replies
        1. re: meadandale

          Even many DW's with hard disposals have filters and should IMO. Olive pits or even some thing as small as lemon seeds can cause big problems in a pump no matter how much you spend on a machine. Hard disposal doesn't mean it can eat any "hard" food. Olive pits can be very hard.

          I do agree the repair is probably going to put a hefty dent in the price of a new machine. Service calls here are $85+ just to show up + Parts +$80 an hour labor.


          1. re: meadandale

            I'm could find another one I like for not much more, I suppose, and my repairman suggested it. But I like this one and don't want to spend the time looking for another one. I'd rather give my appliance repairman the business than an appliance salesman. He's a good guy who took care of my tempermental European "clothes processor" for a long time.

            "Live and learn" is the key here. The catch is that there may be other users of the thing who are not easily trained.

            1. re: GH1618

              I think your repairman is correct in trying to get you to buy a new dishwasher. He knows KitchenAid is putting the screws to you.

              I've seen models that tout a built-in disposal but no clue on price. I'm also surprised that the grate was so large as to allow an olive pit to pass through.

              I made the mistake of putting popcorn kernels in the disposal once. A kernel wedged itself between the wall and the cylinder and took a crowbar to dislodge it. We currently have a Whirlpool disposal that is useless. A far cry from the InSinkErator we had and the WasteKing that I grew up with that promoted tossing in napkins and paper plates.

              1. re: SanityRemoved

                Usually, a disposal can be turned backward with a wrench to unjam it.

                1. re: GH1618

                  Yep, there is usually a large hex key provided with the disposal for this purpose that allows you to insert it into the shaft from the bottom and unjam it.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Unfortunately there wasn't one available, would have been interesting to see if it actually could fix the jam.

                2. re: GH1618

                  Hi, GH1618:

                  I know you like your KA and want to support your local repairman, but don't you think your worry over whether *another* olive pit is going to wreck it again is worth more than $500?

                  To my way of thinking, the problem here is not hard/soft food or grinding/disposal. It's failure to have a screen or filter that would prevent something as anticipatable as an olive pit from causing this costly failure. I'd get a new unit with a screen.


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    I hear you, but it's just easier for me right now to deal with it this way. Thanks for the advice, anyway.

                    1. re: GH1618

                      Welcome. Just a suggestion: consider asking the repairman to find/make you a screen.

              2. Did you check that you really have to buy the whole assembly? Check some online parts retailers and see for yourself. I'm just sayin'.....

                1 Reply
                1. re: Dave_in_PA

                  I'm not shopping for parts. My appliance repairman will take care of it.

                  I'm not looking for alternatives, merely issuing a warning to be careful to dispose of olive pits properly. I'm not sure how this happened, because my normal practice is to remove pits before putting olives in a salad. (Broken teeth are expensive, also.) I don't put the pits in the disposal, either. But it only takes one or two.