Aside from your refrigerator and stove, your dishwasher is probably your most used, and perhaps most loved, appliance in your kitchen. Not only is it an excellent time-saving appliance, but a dishwasher is ideal for anyone who doesn’t like to do dishes by hand.
Whether you just replaced your old dishwasher or are having one installed for the first time, you’ll want to know how to maximize the life of your dishwasher, so you don’t need to worry about replacing it any time soon.
A Quick Look At The Life Of A Dishwasher
You may be old enough to remember the dishwasher your family had while you were growing up. If it was the kind where you had to hook it up to the kitchen faucet, you might think that dishwashers are more trouble than they’re worth.
Today’s dishwashers are much easier to use and range from basic to luxury. The average cost of a new dishwasher varies anywhere from $400 to $700, but you may find one well below or above that price range.
If you think back to the dishwasher that you had while growing up or even one that was in your first apartment, it probably seemed ancient (and it probably didn’t work that well either). The average lifespan of a dishwasher is about ten years.
Keep in mind that it may stop working well before a decade goes by or ends up lasting a few more years. There are many contributing factors, such as the quality of the dishwasher to how often you use it, that determine how long the appliance functions.
5 Ways To Make Your You New Dishwasher Last Longer
Hate to think about the thought of replacing your new dishwasher within the next five years or worrying about costly repairs or installation fees? Here are five ways to maximize that life of your new dishwasher so you can get the most out of it and still have clean dishes.
Run A Full Load Of Only Dishes
If you don’t generate a ton of dirty dishes during the week, but hate to think about them piling up until the dishwasher is full, you’re better off hand washing your dishes. If you want to ensure that your dishwasher runs as well as it can (and for an extended period), try only to run the dishwasher when it has a full load.
Many people do lighter loads, thinking that the dishes will get cleaner than if the washer is loaded up to the max, but over time it can shorten the lifespan of the appliance.
When we talk about a “full load” we only mean dishes, glass, and utensils. There are many “helpful hints” on the Internet that suggest that the dishwasher is an excellent way to clean everything from shoes to gardening gear and even motorcycle parts.
Putting the right kinds of dishes and other items in your dishwasher will not only keep your kitchenware safe but will also keep the appliance working.
Excess dirt, oil, and debris will eventually build up and prevent the dishwasher from working the way it should; just load your appliance with dishes. It is important to note that even though it’s best to wash a full load, avoid trying to overload your dishwasher.
Keeping Your Dishwasher Clean
Your dishwasher is a hardworking machine, and even if your dishes are sparkling clean every time that you run a load, the appliance itself might not be clean.
A dirty dishwasher can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Not only does an unclean dishwasher interfere with how clean your dishes get but the dirtier the appliance, the more difficult it will be to clean. To keep your dishwasher clean and maximize its life, plan on cleaning the appliance about once a month. Here are some dishwasher cleaning tips:
Descale With Vinegar
If you are in the habit of descaling your coffee maker, you shouldn’t have a hard time remembering to descale the dishwasher. All you need is two cups of white vinegar and a glass, dishwasher safe measuring cup (or bowl). Put the vinegar in the cup and place on the top rack (cup facing up). Run a regular cycle without heat dry and skip the detergent.
Unclog The Holes On The Spray Arms
It’s not uncommon for the holes on your dishwasher’s spray arms to get clogged with hard water deposits and food debris. An easy way to unclog the holes is with a piece of wire (such as picture hanging wire), or even a pipe cleaner, but make sure not to scratch up the spray arm.
Clean All The Nooks and Crannies
As you’re cleaning your dishwasher, don’t forget to wipe down the hard to reach spots with an old toothbrush or sponge. You don’t need to use any harsh cleaners, just soap and water or a vinegar solution of equals parts white vinegar and water.
Stay On Top Of General Maintenance
It’s pretty easy to ignore your dishwasher until a piece breaks, you notice a small leak on the floor, or it starts making weird noises. One of the best ways to maximize the life of your brand new dishwasher is to stay on top of general maintenance.
If you keep your dishwasher clean and run it the way you are supposed to, you shouldn’t have to do much to maintain the appliance. After unloading the dishwasher, check gaskets and other parts to make sure there’s nothing broken or that pieces haven’t started to rust.
Smaller problems are easier to fix than larger ones, so it’s always good to refer to your owner’s manual and keep it someplace where you’ll remember to read it. Don’t want to fix a problem on your own? Hire a professional to take a look and fix it as soon as possible.
Run Your Dishwasher Regularly
If you live alone or don’t use a lot of dishes, you may only use your dishwasher once a week or might even go longer between uses. While it’s better to hand wash a few dishes than run smaller loads, it’s also important to use the dishwasher frequently to prevent dry rot.
Dry rot, which is much like the name suggests, can ruin the seals, gaskets, and hoses in your dishwasher. If the hoses go bad, many experts say that it’s easy enough to replace them on your own, but why take the risk of worrying about a preventable repair?
You might be facing a bit of a problem but if you want to keep your dishwasher working correctly, you’ll have to use it on a regular basis. Maybe it will be an incentive to get you to cook more at home or host a few dinner parties a month.
Scrape Off The Food Before You Load The Dishwasher
When you were growing up, your parents probably got upset if you forgot to rinse your plate before loading it into the dishwasher. As silly as it may be to have a “debate” over a dishwasher, there are those who believe that it’s essential to pre-wash or rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and those who think it’s best to leave the dishes alone.
The happy medium, which can help extend the life of your dishwasher, is to scrape off chunks of food and leave the rest for the dishwasher to clean. If you won’t be washing running the dishwasher for a couple of days, it may be a good idea to give your dishes a quick rinse (to keep mold and odors at bay).
Since loading the dishwasher is an easy household chore for kids to do, make sure they clear off all the large pieces of food and anything that might get lodged in the dishwasher such as toothpicks, bones, or pieces of foil.
A Few Additional Tips
Maximizing the lifespan of your new dishwasher isn’t too complicated, as long as you use common sense and put a little effort into caring for your appliance. While we gave you five ways to keep your dishwasher working for years to come, here are some additional tips that may also help:
- Set your water temperature between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit
- Avoid harsh cleaners
- Don’t overuse rinse aid (check the label to see if your detergent has rinse aid)
- Run water in your sink first to get rid of any cold water in the lines
- Create a clean/dirty system to avoid washing dishes twice
- Use softener salt if you have hard water