Dishwashers are hard-working helpers that we take for granted – until we lose them. They can be very expensive to replace and it is disheartening to think that when they finally give up the ghost, their bodies contribute to landfill. Yet, the odds are stacked against us: planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence determines how regularly we need to buy a new item. It makes sense to take better care of them.
You can actually be quite proactive in extending the working life of your dishwasher. If you’ve come to depend on it, there are numerous ways to ensure it gives you a great wash every time, as well as protecting its essential inner workings. It’s all in how you stack your dishes, the dishwasher detergents you use, and how hard or soft your water is.
How to load your dishwasher to max your wash
- Scrape and rinse plates to minimise filter blockage and prevent interior pollution of food particles
- Bowls, glasses, mugs and all plasticware belong on the top rack, face down
- Plates should be stacked on the bottom rack leaning slightly forwards for drainage, if possible. Mix up sizes to create washing/rinsing space between them.
- Be careful not to obscure the cyclical path of the arm, and lay large utensils flat on the top deck
- Don’t overstuff the cutlery basket
- Clean the filter after each cycle
- Choose a cycle equal to the mess, and use an eco-setting where possible
- Check your salt and rinseaid levels regularly
Other considerations –detergent and water supply
If your water supply is hard – with high concentrations of calcium and magnesium – you’re at a disadvantage. The cleaning action of detergents is suppressed by these mineral deposits, meaning your dishes might not clean properly; it also makes it more likely that grease and limescale will build up in your equipment, creating maintenance and repair issues and even causing an early equipment death.
Don’t ignore the salt light: use dishwasher salt, either as a single product or in a 3-in-1 dishwasher tablet. Dishwasher tablet and powder manufacturers make life easy by adding salt to their products, but if you live in a hard water area you could double up and fill the salt reservoir in your dishwasher to improve your results and keep the insides of your equipment clean and scale-free.
Consider fitting a water softener unit, which will be good news for your dishwasher and your hot water system, shower, washing machine, boiler, radiators. A water softener unit uses food-grade salt to create brine for the rinsing of mineral deposits from the filter. Softened water enables all detergents to lather properly too – like soaps, laundry powder, dishwasher tablets, shower gel – so less of them is needed for better results.
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Hanson Salt.