How to make your dishwasher last longer

How to make your dishwasher last longer

How long should your dishwasher last? About 10 years, based on what 20-plus manufacturers we work with say and our observations working with their brands. At Isocool we do service and repair of dishwashers in Gauteng and its surrounding areas and are very knowledge about this very important household appliance.

How to make your dishwasher last longer

Though your dishwasher is expected to work for 10 years, it doesn’t necessarily mean 10 trouble-free years of continuous use. From the data gathered in our line of work we discovered that about 30% of all newly purchased dishwashers are likely to develop problems or break within the first five years.

So how do you get through a decade without calling the repair guy? How do you make your dishwasher last longer? A number of factors can affect how long your dishwasher will last—including how you care for it.

The first and most obvious tip most people ignore is utilizing the instruction manual which comes with the appliance. Heed the advice in the instruction manual, especially the part about rinsing out the filter if it’s a manual-clean type. The instruction manual is designed to make using the dishwasher simple and straightforward and prevent experimentation which might have catastrophic results.

In addition to using the instruction manual we have compiled a list of eight other routine maintenance tips that will help make your dishwasher last longer.

Scrape the plate—but don’t rinse it. 

Most dishwashers don’t require a pre-rinse, but be sure to scrape off bones, toothpicks, and other solid items before loading your dishes. These hard bits can clog the drain hose, tear the filter, or damage the pump.

Service the filter

The remaining stuck-on food has to go somewhere, and unless your dishwasher has an old-school food grinder, you’ll have to clean the filter manually. You need to do this at least once a month or more often if necessary. A telltale sign that the filter needs some service is a decrease in wash performance or dishes which feel gritty.

Cleaning your filter is simple and you can do it yourself. Remove the bottom rack and you should find a plastic cylinder that you can unscrew to lift out (if you face challenges locating it, consult the dishwasher manual). Rinse the filter under running water until it’s free of debris. It’s fine to use soft sponges and warm soapy water for stubborn food bits, but abrasive brushes or steel wool can damage the filter.

If you find any holes, replace the filter immediately to prevent seeds or bits of bone from slipping through and into the pump. Otherwise they can damage the pump impeller and motor seals, which are costly parts to repair.

Degunk the door seal 

To degunk is to remove a sticky messy substance. With time the door seal of your dishwasher accumulates this substance and needs degunking to allow it to close properly. As needed, use a rag and white vinegar to clean the seal between the dishwasher door and the tub, where residue and food particles collect.

Buildup can cause odors, lead to mold growth, and potentially keep the door from sealing properly. Avoid using bleach-based wipes, harsh chemicals, scouring pads, and anything abrasive on a stainless door and tub.

Remove hard-water residue

If you live in an area with hard water, the inside of your dishwasher is likely to develop mineral films and discoloration. These deposits look like a cloudy film on your dishes and the interior of your machine, and you may notice the rack rails and wheels moving with resistance.

Use citric-acid-based dishwasher cleaner to remove the deposits monthly. Follow package directions for removing hard-water film from your dishwasher.

Alternatively, you can also use a regeneration salt in the water-softening system of the dishwasher if you live in an area with hard water. This improves cleaning, helping to prevent spotting and clouding. The salt also helps prevent mineral buildup in the dishwasher.

Inspect the spray arms

Every few months, check the holes in the wash arms—spray nozzles—to make sure they’re clean and unobstructed. If you see food debris clogging a spray nozzle, gingerly try to remove it with a toothpick or pipe cleaner. You need to be gentle and make sure not to deform the hole. Clogged nozzles can affect the spray pattern and how well the dishwasher does its job.

If you need to remove the spray arms to clean them, the bottom one should lift off its base with a gentle tug. Unscrew the center wash arm from the bottom of the top rack using a screwdriver.

If you find this too challenging a task to carry out on your own, Contact Isocool dishwashing repair experts if you are in Gauteng or its surrounding areas.

Rustproof the racks

If the plastic coating wears off, repair it as soon as possible with vinyl paint or replacement tine tips. Otherwise the racks could corrode and allow small shards of rusty metal to enter the pump. The pump is the heart of the dishwasher and rust flakes are like plaque buildup, threatening the system with an inevitable clot and full-system shutdown hence formation of rust should be avoided by all means.

Don’t overload it

Cramming too much into one load will restrict the water spray patterns and prevent proper cleaning. You’ll have to rewash your dishes, running the machine unnecessarily, which whittles away the life span of the machine. The more you use your dishwasher, the more its mechanical parts wear out, hence the need to avoid using it unnecessarily. For this reason, you don’t want to be running partial loads either.

Dishes only—don’t wash anything else 

You might find videos online that suggest you use the dishwasher to clean car parts. ‘Bad idea,’ Car parts are greasy, and the dishwasher and detergent aren’t made to handle this kind of grease. It can clog the filter and ruin the pump.”

Some of the most common problems we encounter when repairing broken dishwashers is that most people use it for washing candlesticks. The hot wax embeds into every crevice and essentially destroys all components of the machine.

Dishwashers are meant to wash dishes only, always remember this, if ever you find yourself stuck and your dishwasher not performing according to expectation contact us at Isocool.


We have highly trained and experienced dishwasher repair and service experts. No job is too great or small for us and we are available 24/7 providing emergency service after hours at the same rates we charge during normal hours. Contact us for service and maintenance and we will help you make your dishwasher last longer. You can the areas we cover here around Gauteng.

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