If you’re an avid home cook, you likely have a lot of dishes to do every day! Thank the “Dishwasher Gods” for gifting us this wondrous machine where dishes go in dirty and come out clean. But, we must not fall behind on these dishwasher maintenance tips below, or the Gods will punish you with poor dishwasher performance.

With all the work your dishwasher undertakes, give it a little extra TLC with our dishwasher maintenance tips below. Perform routine cleaning to help avoid unwanted dishwasher repairs.

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips & Cleaning FAQs

Should I run my dishwasher with hot or cold water?

Make sure to run the longer and hotter dishwasher cycles. Although some people might believe that this uses more energy you will use more energy if the dishes are not coming out clean and you have to run them again or wash by hand.

Do dishwashers have filters that need to be cleaned?

Yes, clean the dishwasher debris trap and screens. The dishwasher filter traps some pretty gross items. In fact, some of the things I have found while servicing clogged dishwashers over the years are toothpicks, bread bag ties, glass, clothing tags, screws, garden soil, batteries and, much to my surprise, an adult toy. These will clog water jets and destroy the pumps.

dishwasher maintenance tips

Photo Credit: KatiesKottage

Should you pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?

Scrape food off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. DO NOT PRE-RINSE DISHES!!!  You don’t need to give it a complete clean off, but make sure that bite-sized pieces of food are thrown in the trash before you put dishes in your dishwasher. I don’t care what the salesman told you, it’s not a garbage disposer.

What’s the best way to load a dishwasher?

Don’t overcrowd. We’re all guilty of shoving “just one more plate” into the dishwasher, but it’s important that you don’t have too many items inside. Mix up your silverware in the cutlery basket so all the spoons aren’t together. Place smaller items on the top rack, and larger dishes on the bottom rack with plenty of room to get drenched. Make sure dishwasher spray arms can spin freely.

best way to load a dishwasher

Photo Credit: Whirlpool

How do you clean inside a dishwasher?

Insert a bowl of white vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher and run the hottest cycle. This will help remove mineral buildup which is in the form of a foggy or white haze on the dishes and the dishwasher interior. Perform this dishwasher maintenance tip monthly, or as needed.

If you want to use a product that will address the mineral and grease build-up use Finish Dishwasher Cleaner.

What is the best dishwasher soap/detergent?

Use good dishwasher soap like Finish Quantum Tablets. This is the dishwasher soap I use and recommend. It has gotten me out of poor dishwasher performance jams for over two decades.

best dishwasher detergent tabs

Photo Credit: Finish

By simply taking the time to complete a few routine dishwasher maintenance tips and check-ups, your machine will be in better shape to run strong for years to come.