kitchenaid dishwasher leaving food residue

Why Is My KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes Well?

Poor cleaning performance may be one of the dishwasher warning signs that signify trouble, but a DIY fix could solve the problem. Why is my KitchenAid Dishwasher not cleaning dishes? Overcrowding racks can prevent water and detergent from reaching every item. Use these KitchenAid dishwasher troubleshooting tips for cleaner dishes every time.

KitchenAid Dishwasher Not Cleaning
Like It Should? This May Be Why.

While a part malfunction may need a repair, a KitchenAid dishwasher not cleaning as it should could require just a simple intervention. From proper cleaning methods to the right detergent, here’s how you can improve your dishwasher’s performance.

Dishwasher Loading Problem

Loading issues are one of the most common reasons a KitchenAid dishwasher leaves dishes dirty. Overcrowding the racks restricts access to water and detergent so dishes don’t get clean. Allowing items to block the spray arms or detergent dispenser can further limit water and detergent access.

kitchenaid dishwasher leaves dishes dirty

Follow these dishwasher loading tips for cleaner dishes:

  • Leave space between each item: Load one dish per slot and avoid overlapping bowls and glasses so water and detergent can reach each item.
  • Face items toward the spray arms: Position dishes facing inward and bowls and glasses upside down for proper cleaning and rinsing.
  • Avoid blocking spray arms and detergent dispenser: Turn the spray arm by hand before starting the dishwasher to make sure it’s free of obstructions and rotates fully. Make sure items in the silverware basket are properly contained, allowing the detergent dispenser to open fully.

Dishwasher Leaving Spots 

If your dishwasher is leaving spots and residue, it’s likely due to hard water. Water hardness is determined by the number of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, in the water. When these minerals mix with soap, they can form a film on dishes that is difficult to remove.

To prevent spots and residue:

  • Use a rinse aid: A rinse aid helps reduce surface tension so water can easily rinse away soapy water leaving behind fewer spots.
  • Run a longer drying cycle: This will help dishes dry completely, preventing spots and residue.
  • Install a water softener: This will remove minerals from the water, making it easier for the dishwasher to clean dishes.

Dishwasher Needs to Be Cleaned 

A KitchenAid dishwasher leaving food residue behind may be in need of a cleaning. Despite regular access to water and detergent, dirt and debris can accumulate in the dishwasher, causing blockages that leave dishes dirty. Regular monthly cleanings can ensure that all components are clean and function optimally.

Here’s how to clean the dishwasher filter, spray arms, and tub:

  • Filter: Rinse the Upper and Lower Filters under running water, scrubbing stubborn stains with a soft brush.

kitchenaid dishwasher not cleaning

  • Spray arms: Remove the upper and lower spray arms and rinse under running water to remove residue. Unclog spray arm holes with a thin, straightened wire before reinstalling them.
  • Tub: Pour three cups of white vinegar into the base of an empty dishwasher and run the longest cleaning cycle with hot water.

Dishwasher Detergent Issue

Is your KitchenAid dishwasher not rinsing soap completely? A detergent issue could be responsible.

A KitchenAid dishwasher not cleaning dishes may have the following detergent problems:

  • Too much or too little: Too much detergent can leave behind residue, while not enough leaves dishes dirty. Refer to your detergent package to determine the right amount and measure it accurately before starting a wash load. Heavily soiled loads or homes with hard water may require more detergent.
  • Detergent dispenser broken: Make sure the dispenser opens and closes properly so the detergent dispenses completely at the right time. A broken dispenser requires replacement.
  • Poor quality detergent: Use a high-quality commercial dishwasher detergent for best results. Maximize freshness and effectiveness by storing it in a cool, dry place.

Problem with Dishwasher Water Supply

The dishwasher requires the proper amount of water at the right temperature and pressure to clean optimally. 

Check these water supply issues when you notice your KitchenAid dishwasher not cleaning dishes well:

  • Water not hot enough: A dishwasher’s water temperature should be at least 120℉ to clean sufficiently. You may need to raise the temperature of your home’s hot water heater to improve dishwasher performance. Running the hot water in your kitchen sink before starting a wash cycle can ensure that it’s readily available to the dishwasher.
  • Water pressure too low: The water inlet valve requires at least 20 psi of pressure to open, allowing water to flow from your home supply to the dishwasher. If the water pressure is too low, the valve won’t open to supply the dishwasher with enough water. If possible, increase your home’s water pressure so the valve can function properly.
  • Part failure: In other cases, the water inlet valve may be broken, restricting the dishwasher’s water supply. Spray arms are also prone to cracks and malfunctions that limit water access. These parts must be replaced for the dishwasher to function correctly.

Dishwasher still not cleaning as it should? A professional dishwasher repair service should have a look. Schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians to solve the problem!

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