One appliance you’re going to want to keep on the right side of this Christmas is the dishwasher! Food gatherings, drink catch-ups and family dinners all mean one thing… dirty dishes!
So, to get your appliance armed and ready for action, we’ve put together a load of our best dishwasher advice and guidance for a stress-free Christmas party clean up!
The Clean Up
Although your dishwasher is super handy for scrubbing up your dirty dishes, it also needs a good clean itself! Before the celebrations begin, it’s best to give your appliance a clean to get it prepped and ready. Here are some top tips on how to clean your dishwasher:
Remove limescale and detergent
A build-up of limescale or detergent in your dishwasher can lead to it developing mould, bacteria, bad smells and could even cause damage to your machine. A regular clean with a dishwasher cleaner and descaler should remove unwanted odours, as well as what is causing them, and keep them at bay. We recommend doing this around once a month.
Clean the filter
Another great maintenance task to keep your dishwasher working at its best is cleaning the filter. Ideally, this should be done on a weekly basis to remove any food debris that has got caught in it and also to prevent odours. To do this, remove the lower basket and twist the filter anti-clockwise to release it and then pull it out. Once it is removed, you can simply rinse it under running water (check your user manual before doing so) and lightly scrub it with a soft dish brush. Then, leave it to completely dry for around 24 hours before replacing it. If your filter is looking a little worse for wear, you may need to replace it.
If food or debris gets stuck in the rim of your dishwasher door seal, it can cause it to become cracked or damaged and may cause leaks in your machine. Give the seal a good wipe around with a damp cloth. You can also add a little limescale and detergent remover to this, and continue to do this regularly. If you find your door seal is damaged, you will need to replace it.
Next, the spray arms. Your dishwasher will usually have two spray arms, one attached to the top basket and the other on the bottom. To clean them, you will need to remove them by first removing the baskets and undoing the locking nuts holding them in place. Then, hold them under a running hot tap to rinse away any debris, including food, which may be caught within the spray armholes. If such debris is left to build up in your spray arms, the water will not be distributed correctly over your pots and pans, meaning they won’t come out clean.
Keep it fresh
Finally, you can keep your dishwasher odour free and smelling fresh by adding a dishwasher deodoriser. Simply hook one onto your dishwasher basket to neutralise bad smells and replace them with a fresh-smelling odour.
Next up, loading and unloading! Now that your appliance is clean and smelling fresh, we’re going to solve the mother of all arguments about how to fill your dishwasher. Believe it or not, there actually is a correct way to load the dishwasher and failure to do so correctly could result in damage to your machine and your crockery too. Follow this guide for the best way to load your dishwasher:
Most modern dishwashers have the ability to remove stubborn dirt and food stains from your dishes so there’s no need for a pre-rinse. But, you should make sure that food is scraped off the plate and into the bin before it enters the dishwasher.
The top rack is for cups, glasses, small bowls and dishwasher-safe plastic. Be sure to place mugs between the tines and ensure they are facing downwards to prevent them from filling with unclean water. Arrange wine glasses carefully and ensure there is enough space between them so they don’t bump into each other and break, and carefully place bowls on the middle rack facing downwards.
The bottom rack is for plates, large bowls and other large items. Load plates and bowls so the dirty side faces the sprayer arm. Angle pots, pans and casserole dishes downwards and make sure they aren’t blocking the spray arms. Flat pans should be placed along the sides and back, as placing these at the front can prevent the detergent from reaching other dishes. Finally, separate stainless steel and silver flatware so you don’t damage them.
Knives, forks, spoons and other small cutlery should be placed in the cutlery basket. Be sure not to overload them and that they aren’t blocking the sprayer. Place sharp knives facing downwards and place larger cutlery lying flat in the top rack. Smaller objects such as bottle caps can also be placed in the cutlery basket.
Always unload the bottom rack first. If the top is unloaded first, you may find that dirty water is being split onto the dishes on the bottom rack.
Dirty dishes and excessive noise
If your dishes are still coming out dirty after a cycle, or you can hear unusually loud noises coming from your machine, don’t panic. It could be a fault with the spray arms. If these get cracked or damaged from getting caught on cutlery or even clogged with food and debris, it will affect the performance of your machine. Not to worry though, it’s really simple to fix! Just get your hands on some new spray arms for your make and model and follow our step by step guide.
If you enter your kitchen to find a puddle next to your dishwasher, it could be something as simple as the door seal needing replacing. A dishwasher has two door seals; an upper door seal around the front and a lower door seal around the door. If your dishwasher is leaking from the front, it’s almost certain that a damaged or perished door seal is to blame. Check both door seals to find out which one is faulty and watch our step by step videos on how to replace them!
For any other problems you might be experiencing with your dishwasher, you can head over to our Advice Centre for handy step by step guides and videos that will help you diagnose and fix faults fast!
Now that your dishwasher is prepped and ready to go, the next thing to tackle is the fridge! Check out our stress-free guide on preparing your fridge for Christmas too!