7 things to do if your dishwasher isn’t cleaning your dishes

Dishes not getting clean? Before you start scrubbing by hand, try these tips

Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar
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The dishwasher might just be the least-loved appliance in the house. While your fridge keeps your food fresh and your oven helps you cook yummy meals, the dishwasher can only disappoint with streaky, wet dishes and clumps of left-behind food.

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But it doesn't have to be that way. How do we know? Well, we've been testing dishwashers since 2011, and we know what makes them tick. If you hate how your dishwasher cleans, we're here to help.

1. Dishes not getting dry? Rinse aid can help

Are you noticing your dishes don’t dry like they used to in your old dishwasher? What’s the point of having a dishwasher that doesn’t dry your dishes? Well, if you’re sick of hand-drying, you can try using rinse aid and loading dishes in new ways. There are even cheaper, eco-friendly alternatives to rinse aid you can try.

2. For smells, get a dishwasher... washer?

Use your dishwasher a lot? Chances are it is filthy! If your dishwasher has a filter, you need to empty and clean it. And you can remove smells with stuff you likely have around the house.

3. Hard water causes spots and streaks

The most visible (and annoying) effect of hard water is the cloudy white residue left on your glasses and silverware from pesky salts, which are left behind when the water evaporates from your dishes. Here's what you can do about it.

4. New dishwashers work differently than old ones

Do you feel like your new dishwasher isn't cleaning as well as the one it replaced? You might have to make a few simple adjustments to get the most out of a modern dishwasher

5. Know what each cycle means

If you are like most of us, you have no idea what the difference is between "Pots and Pans" and "Heavy Duty." No, the manufacturers are not trying to confuse you—there really is a cycle for every kind of mess. We broke down the most common cycles and when you should use them.

6. Hand washing isn't better for the environment!

Do you think you're being more efficient by hand washing your dishes instead of using the dishwasher? While it might seem like hand washing saves water, you'd be mistaken. Here's why a dishwasher is more efficient than washing by hand.

7. It might be time to buy a new dishwasher

If you've tried all of these tips and your dishwasher still doesn't cut it, it might be time to buy a new one. We've done extensive lab testing on the best selling dishwashers on the market, and these are our favorites.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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