29 November 2009

Dishwasher troubleshooting

The following is lifted entirely from the blog for Warner's Stellian. Warner's Stellian Appliances is a terrific, independent appliance retailer with seven Minnesota locations. Additionally, Warner's Stellian also sells over the web and delivers nationwide. Get this, if you spend more than $1999 [edited to clarify that it's not $1900 combined, that's $1900 for an appliance (which is not hard to do) --sorry for the confusion], they will ship your appliances at no charge. If you're in Minnesota and you need qualified appliance information and service, head on over to one of their locations. If you're anywhere else and looking for the same thing, spend some time on the Warner's Stellian website.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not clean
By Julie Warner

Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?


Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean —especially on the top rack.

You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.

Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces  so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.

So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.

How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.

To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:
  1. Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
  2. Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
  3. Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
  • If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
  • If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.

You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.

And I’ve said it again but I will continue to harp on about using rinse aid. It’s not just for looks, people! Maghan reminds us dishwashers today come designed to use rinse aid to help dry, as they lack a built-in fan.

So remember: gorge on turkey, just go easy on the soap, OK?

This entry was posted originally on November 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

You can follow Julie Warner on Twitter: @WarnersStellian.


  1. I'm beyond flattered, Paul. Thanks for the recommendation.

    And what timing! We're having our first ever Cyber Monday sale today. (Note: We ship for free on appliances over $1999, not total order price. Maybe someday!)

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving! -- Julie

  2. I added a clarification about the free shipping thing to the body of this post. Anyhow, it's my pleasure Julie. I owe the indys out there a nod after all the free press I gave Sears last month. Good luck with your cyber Monday event.


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