Many people rely on their dishwasher to clean cookware and dinnerware. While these marvels of the modern world tend to exhibit consistent performance, sometimes things don’t work the way we expect. As plumbers, when installing or replacing dishwashers or conducting repairs on the plumbing under kitchen sinks, we have noticed some common issues which can avoid the need for a call for repair or service.

Scrape Your Plates

Dishwashers are meant to clean the soluble surface soil from dishes… not an entire piece of food! However, we consistently find whole pieces of carrot, meat, or other larger pieces of food. Be sure to scrape plates, pots, pans, etc., with an appropriate tool (i.e. never use metal to scrape a nonstick or ceramic pot or pan) and deposit all uneaten food in the garbage. Smaller items can be rinsed in the sink if you have a garbage disposal. However, that is not intended for large pieces of food, bones, pits, or other potential obstructions.

Use Only Dishwasher-Safe Items

On commercials and in advertisements such as packaging we see that certain items are dishwasher safe, and some aren’t. Certain items are intended to be cleansed by hand. Dishwasher-safe items can generally handle high heat, intense water sprays, and abrasive detergents without damage. Most items which are dishwasher safe have printing that indicate that they are.

Dishwasher-Safe Items

  • China and ceramic dishes
  • Stainless steel
  • Drinking glasses and most wine glasses
  • Glass baking dishes
  • Silicone and metal utensils
  • Hard plastic

Non-Dishwasher-Safe Items

  • Thin plastic
  • Wood
  • Knives
  • Insultated mugs & thermoses
  • Cast iron
  • Copper pots & pans
  • Silver
  • Delicate wine glasses and champaign flutes
  • Crystal

Keep the Drain Basket Clean

The drain basket can be found at the base of most dishwashers. It is usually conveniently able to be removed by twisting it. Consult your manufacturer’s owners manual for the location and care of the drain basket. Sometimes, the screen can become clogged with soap and debris. Descaling the screen and cleaning any gunk can help the dishwasher drain properly.

What If the Dishwasher Won’t Drain?

Sometimes you might open the dishwasher and discover that it hasn’t fully drained. The drain hose connects to the sink drain or to the garbage disposal, and it must have a drain loop. If this loop falls, gets kinked, or if the drain hose become blocked with debris, you can have drainage issues. DO NOT USE A PLUMBING SNAKE TO CLEAR THE HOSE.

If you feel that you need help to clear your dishwasher drain, you need a new hose, or you require any other assistance, contact the plumbing experts at DRC Plumbing and Sewer. We can quickly discover the issue and help you get your dishwasher doing its job.