Thread Number: 19324
Keeping a dishwasher clean
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Post# 311312   10/24/2008 at 08:47 (3,623 days old) by sheerlookhomes ()        

Just wondered...does anyone here run their dishwasher 'empty' from time to time or with a dishwasher 'cleaner' (I've seen these products in the supermarket but never bothered)
In my clothes washer manual (1988) it suggests running the machine empty once in a while...anyone do this?

Post# 311314 , Reply# 1   10/24/2008 at 09:02 (3,623 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

I don't bother buying those dishwasher cleaners like Finish or Pril or Fairy or whatelse, when I cleaned the filter I'm happy. Seldom, say twice a year, I run the dishwasher empty with a standard dose of detergent, if and only if the inside of the machine looks bad, e.g. when my flatmates on purpose load the dishwasher with a full load of tomato coated stuff on response to my "no need to rinse" rule... I don't need to say that stuff comes clean anyway but all the plastic parts look pink after this. Standard detergent gets rid of it easly (and also does bleach that I used on occasion on a severe case of pink-ing). Never had a problem of smell beacuse of dirt but again we run the machine twice a day.

Post# 311318 , Reply# 2   10/24/2008 at 09:42 (3,623 days old) by logixx (Germany)        

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I use these from time to time. Have tried Somat, Calgonit/Finish and also the Miele heavy-duty cleanser.

We have a Siemens dishwasher and they used to be prone to collecting grease in some parts of the machine. Especially at the top of the heat exchanger and the water level control. I understand this happens if you tend to use the dishwasher as a garbage disposal and/or do a lot of low-temps washer - both things I don't do. Still, I'm rather safe than sorry.

Found the pic online. This is, I guess, an older version of the heat exchanger. There has been a revision, as far as I know, and the new Active Water generation have an all new heat exchngers design.

Post# 311319 , Reply# 3   10/24/2008 at 09:47 (3,623 days old) by mrx ()        

There's certainly no harm in giving the machine a dose of dishwasher cleaner once a year or so. However, if you're using a fairly hot wash and good detergent it shouldn't really be an issue.

I suppose it also depends on how greasy your dishes are. Most of mine wouldn't contain all that much fat as I rarely fry anything. Toughest grease the machine is likely to encounter in my house is olive oil.

Post# 311327 , Reply# 4   10/24/2008 at 10:01 (3,623 days old) by hoovermatic (UK)        

As far as I can see they are just a gimmick to lure people into buying another one of their products. In the 20+ years I have had dishwashers and the 30 years my parents owned one we have never used them and never will.

Post# 311343 , Reply# 5   10/24/2008 at 12:25 (3,623 days old) by favorit ()        

It is stronger than normal detergent. It contains much more cytric acid than the rinse aid, so it's sudsy.This is why the machine "moans" during the main wash.
I use it once or twice a year, sure not once a month as they say on the bottle. It cleans throroughly those parts - such as the sump under fitres - who aren't reached by sprays

Calgon (here Calfort) 4 the washing machine - never used, as we've almost soft water, yet you can find it in shops ... as Hoovermatic said, that's the power of marketing !

Post# 311346 , Reply# 6   10/24/2008 at 12:39 (3,623 days old) by pturo ()        

Two tablespoons of Tang contain enough citric acid to do the trick, I remember my mom saying. Do they even make Tang beverage mix anymore?

Post# 311347 , Reply# 7   10/24/2008 at 12:49 (3,623 days old) by pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        
We use Dishwasher Magic

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The Bosch dishwashers at my mom's and dad's houses tend to get the smell of rotten food in them because we don't run them everyday and even after the cycle, the smell is often still there. We always use Cascade powder, Jet Dry, and and the Power Scrub cycle which to my understanding heats all of the water changes up to sanitizing temperature or at least the wash and final rinse. We always check the filters, but to this day, there has never been anything on them, not even on the fine filter screen... But about once every 3 months or so, it gets to the point where we gag when we open the dishwashers to load them and so we run the Dishwasher Magic through and it cleans all the stainless and leaves the dishwasher with a nice fresh lemon scent!


Post# 311371 , Reply# 8   10/24/2008 at 14:57 (3,623 days old) by mihi ()        
here is some information for maintenancing your dishwasher..

Those of us who have a dishwasher usually take it for granted. Most do a pretty good job of cleaning our dishes and can save us time in the kitchen. But there are some things you can do to make it run more efficiently and do a better job. Try some of these tips, and see if they don't work for you and your dishwasher.
Start with a clean machine. Remove the dish racks and clean the inside of the unit. If you need to scrub the surface, use baking soda and water on a rag. Check the bottom of the unit for small pieces of food, flatware or pieces of dishes and remove them.
While the dish racks are out, clean them and use protective covers over any bare metal spots. These are available at your hardware store.
While you have room to work, check the holes in the spray arms to make sure they are clear of debris. Use a toothpick to clear them if they are clogged. If your spray arm moves up during the wash, check the movement and make sure it is working properly.
Next, put the dish racks back in and pour a gallon of vinegar into the unit and turn it on for a light cycle. This will get rid of the mineral deposits that can interfere with the spray arms and detergent-cup movement, among other things.
If your heating element isn't working, your dishes may have spots and may not be getting as clean as they could be. To check the heating element, you will need a continuity tester, and this should be done only if you know what you are doing. If the element is bad, it can be replaced fairly easily once the water is clear and the power has been disconnected.
One way to boost the hot water in your unit at the beginning of the cycle is to run the sink until the water is hot and then start your dishwasher. Use the cold water on your houseplants.
Standing water after the end of the cycle might mean that your pump isn't draining properly. Check the drain hose under the sink and make sure it's not kinked.
A good detergent is also helpful, and anti-spotting agents that can be added are helpful as well.
Take care of your dishwasher, and it will take care of you.

Post# 311375 , Reply# 9   10/24/2008 at 15:04 (3,623 days old) by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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That picture of the heat exchanger looks frightening!
Now I`m tempted to rip my Bosch out to see whats going on under the cabinet ;-)
I have used those dishwasher cleaners only rarely, maybe once a year. Find them too expensive.
But I do use a high temperature programme every now and then along with dirty dishes.

Post# 311386 , Reply# 10   10/24/2008 at 15:52 (3,623 days old) by logixx (Germany)        

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Actually, MrBoilWash, you can do so. The is a step-by-step guide available from!

To non-European posters: US Bosch dishwashers don't have the heat exchanger - so no need to worry.

Post# 311463 , Reply# 11   10/25/2008 at 02:00 (3,623 days old) by variomatic ()        

In Germany itīs very common to use dishwasher cleaner. Almost every household having a dishwasher used them. I also used to use them, but since I took a look on the ingredients, I donīt use them anymore. I think that normal dishwashing detergent can do a better job because it contains a lot more than dishwasher cleaner (enzymes, phosphates, ...).
Yesterday, I have been to Saturn (same as home depot) and there was a Bosch dishwasher with the side opened. So I could take a closer look on the heat exchanger and on the waterlevel control. It didnīt look like the pic above!! Oh, and it wasnīt a Bosch ā la SpeedMatic. No, it was a simple Bosch, with a dial and the bottom of the interior was made out of plastic.
And so I also found a salesman who told me that Bosch/Siemens dishwasher last as long as Miele.

Post# 311465 , Reply# 12   10/25/2008 at 02:39 (3,623 days old) by favorit ()        
When plastic is matched with stainless steel ...

I too saw that DW and was very disappointed, as the match plastic/SS is in a critical place (bend of the tub shape)
When the tub heats up while washing, plastic and SS don't dilate in the same way and the match can be altered. This can be a leakage cause

Only Wirlpool dared to make a full plastic tub in the 90, but they suddently went back to SS

Also plastic baffles in W drums are a uncertainity.
I' ve heard of some Lavamats who had crashed baffles
Curiously Classixx (6 kg-53 L drum ) still have SS baffles,
while the bigger machines (the 65 L drum and the Axixx) have plastic ones

Post# 311528 , Reply# 13   10/25/2008 at 18:16 (3,622 days old) by rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Dishwasher cleaners

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The Finish version used to state that it contained citric acid and sulphamic acid, to get rid of limescale and grease deposits. Unfortunately, Finish costs an arm and a leg per bottle.

UK Lidl sells dishwasher cleansing tablets, and UK Aldi sells bottles of dishwasher cleaner that are virtually identical to Finish, but sold in packs of two for a couple of quid.

Post# 311529 , Reply# 14   10/25/2008 at 18:23 (3,622 days old) by frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

I used Dishwasher Magic every few months with my previous dishwashers, some of which had plastic interiors, others stainless steel.

However, I haven't had to use it with my LG (now 5 months old). The SS interior is so highly polished, it hasn't stained or streaked yet, as my Maytag and KitchenAids did.

Post# 311575 , Reply# 15   10/26/2008 at 00:51 (3,622 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        

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Whenever I've moved into a new apartment/house around for school here, I've always run a maiden load empty with Dishwasher Magic to ensure the dishwasher is clean and fresh for me.

Once in a great while, in hard water conditions, DWM or some CLR is good.

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