Dishwashers have a life cycle of about 15 years. But with good care and maintenance, it’s possible to make your dishwasher last longer and perform more efficiently. Here are five strategies for getting more from your dishwasher.
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Filters are located in the interior of a dishwasher’s floor and are designed to trap or catch food scraps. It’s important to make sure that the filters are clean after every load, according to an expert from a national appliance retailer. (See also: Do you really need soft water?)
Tines—a dish rack feature—hold plates, bowls and cups in place. Broken tines can leave rust stains on dishes or fall off and damage the pump. Watch out for tines that are damaged or nicked. Repair faulty tines with rack repair kits, which can be purchased in hardware stores or from the repair section of appliance stores. It’s also possible to buy replacement racks for your dishwasher.
Examine the spray arms, which can be found on the ceiling or floor of the dishwasher. Food and detergent can clog the holes on the spray arm. This buildup can block the even distribution of water during the clean cycle.
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There’s no reason to clean your dishes before stacking the dishwasher. Large food leftovers should be scrapped from dishes, but don’t overdo it. Clear away chicken nuggets, but don’t fuss over dried ketchup on the plate. The process will preserve energy, effort and water.
Dish-washing cycles are often extended until the appliance is filled with hot water. The dishwasher will continue to run water until the water temperature is warm enough start a new wash cycle. Use less energy and water by giving your dishwasher a head start. Here’s how to shorten the process, according to one appliance expert: Before you turn on the dishwasher, run hot water for 10 seconds in the sink next to the dishwasher. This strategy heats the water in the pipes and shortens the running time of the dishwasher.
Sharon Harvey-Rosenberg is a special financial news contributor for Wise Bread. She is the author of "Frugal Duchess: How to Live Well and Save Money” and a contributing author to ”10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.”