Dishwasher Maintenance Basics

Here is basic information about maintaining your dishwasher to keep it in good working condition.

Dishwashers vary somewhat from one model to another, but they all work essentially the same way. The dishes are held in sliding, removable racks. Water sprays from underneath by means of a spray-arm to remove food and debris from the dishes. (Some dishwashers have upper and lower spray arms.)

Food that falls away from the dishes collects in a trap in the bottom of the dishwasher interior. The trap is removable, and should be taken out and cleaned periodically to remove dried soap and food particles. Making sure the trap stays clean will help ensure that the dishes come out clean.

The sprayer arms work by spinning to help ensure that sprayed water reaches all of the dish surfaces in both the top and bottom racks of the dishwasher. Water sprays out of the device by means of small holes placed at regular intervals along the arms. Eventually these holes can become clogged with debris particles or dried soap. To help ensure that your dishes get their cleanest, clean out the holes in the spray arms periodically. Soak the arm in a solution of vinegar and water, and use an ordinary pipe-cleaner to clean the holes.

If you have a problem of water leaking onto the floor around the front of your dishwasher, the problem could be a damaged or worn out gasket around the dishwasher door. In most cases, the gasket can be easily removed. Take it to your home center to ensure that you get the proper replacement.

If you've noticed rust on your dishes or in your dishwasher, it could be that the coating has come off of some of the prongs in the racks. Inexpensive dishwasher repair kits are available, and include vinyl paint and rubber tips that can be used to cover rusted spots on the prongs.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Maintain a Washer and Dryer

DIY Network experts share valuable tips for cleaning and maintaining a washer and dryer.

Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Having trouble with your dishwasher? Use these tips to make repairs and keep your dishwasher in tiptop shape.

Dishwasher and Home Maintenance Tips

Host Tim Hockenberry shares dishwasher and home maintenance tips.

Maintain Your High-End Kitchen Gear

If you're making an investment in commercial-style kitchen equipment, you'd better know how to take care of it.

Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Check out these tips for recognizing problems with a water heater and keeping it maintained.

How to Choose the Right Dishwasher

Dishwashers today offer an endless array of features and options. Which ones make the most sense for you? Here's what you need to know before you buy.

The Easiest Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Sanitize and sterilize your most-used appliance with a single cup of vinegar.

Features to Look for in Prosumer Appliances

What level of performance do you need for your kitchen appliances? Some appliances are really "just like the pros use," while others are more consumer-friendly. Here are eight questions to help you choose.

Buying Pro Gear from Commercial Suppliers

From appliances to baking shelves, some professional-quality items come cheaper from the restaurant supply industry -- if you know how to shop for them.

Tips on Buying Appliances

Not all kitchen appliances are exactly alike. Use these tips from host Paul Ryan to choose the best appliances for your space.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.