Dishwasher Tips

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The Virtual Repairman provide these free tips so you can save money on unnecessary dishwasher problems. Please consider purchasing your parts from us to help offset the cost of maintaining this website. You will be impressed at our fast service and friendly parts distributors.   

Helpful tips for Best Results from your Dishwasher-


The Virtual Repairman uses the DishLicker2000 at his house.



    For those of you less fortunate, I have provided some convenient help tips and usage guides so you can get the best out of your dishwasher. At the bottom of the page are common complaints and their solutions.









The single most important factor in getting good results is HOT WATER!!
The water must be at least 130o to work effectively. This is documented by the major manufacturers of detergents, such as Proctor & Gamble. Otherwise, greasy films will occur, along with soap residues left on glassware, etc.  Use a candy thermometer in a glass under the running hot water tap on your sink to measure the incoming water temp.  In general, it is best to always turn on the hot water at the kitchen sink for at least one minute to allow the actual hot water to flow. If not, the first couple of wash cycles will have cold water in the tub, and this wastes time, energy and soap. Using the delay cycle is never a good idea, since you will be assured of a cold fill the first few cycles.

Water Hardness-

 Most areas have fairly hard water, which affects the cleaning properties of detergents. Hard water is water showing above 7 grains of hardness. Our  Austin customers have, for example, 11-20 gr. hardness in many areas, mainly due to the limestone aquifer which supplies the vicinity. For them, I recommend filling both detergent cups full, plus using a rinse aid. If you don't know how hard your water actually is, we have a solution.

Water Hardness Test Kits- Know where your water stands to determine your strategy.

Part 347204  Easy to Use!

 Checks hardness in Grains. Takes the guesswork out of detergent measuring!

 Great for monitoring your softener's efficiency!

 Click Here for details!


- According to dishwasher industry statistics, approximately five million new dishwashers are sold each year. Many new dishwashers find homes in the 1.3 million new houses built annually. But that leaves 3.7 million other dishwashers-and most are replacing existing units that no longer perform because of lime scale, soap scum, iron and grease buildup. Based on an average cost of $400-500 for a new dishwasher, consumers are spending more than $5 million dollars each day on new dishwashers ($1.85 billion each year).  Perhaps this would change if they had heard about the Dishwasher Magic  product first  :)

You can determine the cause of cloudy glassware by soaking a glass in vinegar for 5 minutes. If the cloudiness is removed it is a hard water deposit and more detergent is likely needed. If the cloudiness is not removed it is a permanent condition known as etching. In this situation, use less detergent and stop pre-washing. In actuality, dishwashing detergent needs a bit of soil to work on, otherwise it will tend to foam up.

Maintenance Techniques-

Every two months, run the unit with a quart of white vinegar added to the tank (no dishes or detergent for this!). This removes any deposits left behind in the tub, and actually helps keep the drain clear! Do this mainly on units with plastic tubs, since they are porous, and will absorb not only grease, but residue from the detergent.

Use a rinse-aid, such as Jet-Dry, in your dishwasher, unless you have a water softener. In this case, do NOT use a rinse aid, and reduce your powder detergent to one teaspoonful per grain of water hardness.  We recommend the solid form of the Jet-Dry, not the liquid. For one thing, the liquid is harder to deal with than checking a hanging basket visually. Also, the liquid dispenser only injects a couple of drops of liquid into the unit at the end of the wash cycle. This does not take into account varying degrees of water hardness in different areas. The solid version is always working right thru the wash and rinse cycles. Hang it in the left front corner of the upper rack for the best distribution.

Detergents- Gel or Powder?

Gel detergents are not the best solution for your dishwashing . They create more problems than they resolve. A few examples include:

Gels contain chlorine bleach (dissolves rubber seals)

Gels tend to cloud glassware, leaving a whitish film.

Gels never really rinse off of interior tub or from sump area.

Gels clog the detergent dispenser, making it release late or not at all. This causes door streaking by the chemicals.

Gels don't work well in hard water, they leave spots

Always use powdered detergent or tablets, and make sure that your water temperature is at least 125-130o to the dishwasher!  It makes a world of difference in the final results.

Letter from Customer:

Dear VR:
The gel dishwasher detergent had really stopped things up before I realized it. I even had to have the plumber come out twice in one week to unclog the pipes. He couldn't say for sure that the gel was to blame, but it could have contributed to the problem. With the Dishwasher Magic, everything is running freely again. I'll never use gel again, and I WILL use Dishwasher Magic on a regular basis!
Jayne B.
Duncan, OK.

Repairman's Advice-

Don't buy dishwashing powder in the Super-size Box!

Buying a humongous box of detergent powder is cost-effective, but few people know that these products have a limited shelf life. Once you open that Gargantuan box of detergent, you have approximately two weeks to use it up once air hits it, or its cleaning effectiveness greatly diminishes! Instead, buy a normal box which you will use in a couple of weeks.... the results outweigh the frugality in this case!

Save your floors Leak Catcher-

This innovative floor mat slides underneath your dishwasher to divert any water leak to the front of the dishwasher. This will allow you to see the leak and make necessary repairs. No more rotted out floors or leaking ceiling below. No special tools necessary.

click to view/order-
Part 1021760



Common Dishwasher Complaints-



For the Profile SmartDispense  models made by GE

Why pay expensive repair charges when you can do it yourself?

Click CD for details.




Still need help?  Check out the results on our Dishwasher Help Forum

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