Dishwasher Tip


Let dishes air-dry instead of using the drying feature of your dishwasher. Not using the drying feature of your dishwasher reduces its energy usage by about 50%.

Routine Care Task

Treat for scale build-up

Removing the deposits from your dishwasher’s heating element improves the efficiency of the heating element and improves the appearance of the inside tub.

Timing: Every 2 months: February, April, June, August, October, December (yearly)

Perform annual maintenance

Annual maintenance improves the operating effectiveness of the dishwasher, which means that it will do a better job of cleaning your dishes.

Timing: February (yearly)

How To

Over time, a heavy film build-up from hard water minerals can become deposited on the inside walls and heating element of the dishwasher. After removing all of dishes, pans, silverware etc. and with no detergent in your dishwasher, the following should be done to remove the type of scale shown:

  • Mold: Place one tablespoon of bleach in your dishwasher and then run it for a full cycle.
  • Rust: Place about half of a small container of Tang brand orange-flavored drink mix and then run it for a regular cycle. The citric acid in the Tang helps to loosen hard water deposits and cleans the scale from your dishwasher.
  • Stains: Place a cupful of white vinegar in your dishwasher and then run it for a full cycle. An alternative to vinegar is baking soda.

Annual dishwasher maintenance consists of 6 tasks:

  • Clean filter and trap: Inside the dishwasher, the filter and trap are at the bottom where the water drains out. For most models, the filter and trap lift out so that they can be cleaned with a stiff brush.
  • Clear spray arm holes: Food particle or mineral deposits can clog the hole in the spray arms. Take the spray arms out of the dishwasher, and ream the holes out with a stiff wire. Shake out any loose debris.
  • Clear the “air trap”: Some models have a gap in the discharge plumbing to ensure that water does not backflow into the household water supply. If the unit has an air gap it should be checked and cleaned.
  • Check and tighten any loose water hose clamps.
  • Check the door seal gasket for any cracks or leaks.
  • Check the pre-heating mechanism: If your dishwasher has a pre-heating mechanism for when inlet water is too cold, this should be checked in accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendations.


The benefits of treating for scale build-up are moderate. Doing this task can help maintain the performance of your dishwasher, and extend its useful life.

The benefits of performing annual maintenance are moderately high. Doing this task can help prevent damage from water leaks, maintains the performance of your water heater, and help extend its useful life.


Treating for scale build-up cost low. It is estimated that this task should only take about 30 minutes to complete, and the task is relatively easy to do. No specialized tools are required, but you will need to have bleach, Tang brand beverage mix, and either vinegar or baking soda on hand.

Performing annual maintenance cost moderate. It is estimated that this task should take about an hour to complete. You will need a cleaning brush, a stiff wire, and a screwdriver to complete this task.


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