Using The Right Products For Your Appliances

3 Areas of Your Dishwasher to Clean Regularly for Max Efficiency

by Brent Hart

A dishwasher is a cook's best friend when it comes time for cleanup. But your dishes aren't the only things in the kitchen that require routine cleaning for efficiency and safety. Your dishwasher has a few different areas that require regular maintenance in order to keep it running to its best potential and to keep your dishes spotlessly clean.

Food Trap

In the bottom of your dishwasher, under the lower rack, is some type of food trap that collects the tiny particles of food that the spraying water blows off the dishes. The food debris and minerals in the water can cause the trap to clog up, which means those food particles are now free to fly around your dishwasher.

Clean the food trap weekly if you use the dishwasher on a daily basis or about monthly if you only use the unit occasionally. You can consult your owner's manual to find out the exact way to remove the trap, but it should be pretty self-explanatory if you look in the bottom of your dishwasher.

Some traps have a twist off cap and a mesh filter that pulls off. You can rise out the mesh filter in your sink before replacing the filter and shutting the lid. Other traps aren't removable. You can either stretch your kitchen sprayer over to clean out the trap or use your hands and a damp brush to remove all of the debris.

Spray Arm

The spray arm is the large, somewhat fan-shaped device on the floor of your unit. As the name suggests, the spray arm is what sprays the water at your dishes when the unit is turned on.

Food debris not caught by the trap can accumulate on the arm. Small accumulations are unlikely to affect the arm's function. But continued buildups can block the area where the water exits the arm and leave your dishes dryer than is required for proper, sanitary cleaning.

When you check the food trap, go ahead and wipe down the spray arm at the same time. You can do that by either removing the sprayer arm and rinsing it in the sink or by wetting a rag with water and/or a demineralization solution and wiping down the arm where it sits. Make sure you don't knock the arm loose while you are cleaning or it can malfunction when you turn the unit on again.

Door Seals

The dishwasher door has a gasket or seal around the entire interior border. This seal ensures that the door forms a water-tight barrier for when the unit is turned on. Debris or mineral buildup on the door seals should be cleaned to keep the dishwasher as sanitary as possible.

While you are taking care of the food trap and sprayer arm, wipe down the door seal with warm water. Check to make sure there aren't any cracks or tears forming in the seal. If you do see such issues, call in an appliance repair technician to replace the seal before water ends up coming out of your door. For this and any other repairs, contact a company like A-1 Appliance Service.