Every Part, Piece, and Function of a Dishwasher You Should Know About
There is no doubt about it: your dishwasher is one of the best performing appliances in your home. And anyone who has lived without anyone knows how handy it is to have a machine and detergent do all that washing and scrubbing for you.
But no matter how advanced your model is, it requires proper use and a bit of TLC to keep working, such as monthly cleaning with an effective and thorough dishwasher cleaner, such as Finish®.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your beloved dishwasher in top condition.
How a dishwasher works
Knowing how your machine works can help you take better care of it. So let’s take a step back and get down to the basics.
- Wash: Once your dishwasher is loaded, the door is closed, and you’ve selected your setting, the real magic happens. Your dishwasher, connected to a hot water pipe, will increase, depending on the program, the temperature of the water entering the machine.
Then the water is pumped through the spray arms, where it sprays against the dirty dishes, says Lynn Redmile, product testing and review analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s cleaning lab. The force of the water turns the spray arms. “Kind of like a garden rotary sprinkler,” she adds. Dishwashers filter and recirculate water several times during a cycle, and some even add more water and time depending on how dirty the load is. The dirty water then flows through the pipes under your sink. Each charge you do can add buildup to the hidden parts of your machine, so to make sure it continues to run efficiently, you will want to perform monthly cleanings with a solution such as Finish Dishwasher Cleaner.
- Rinse: In this cycle, new water is pumped into the machine and pushed through these spray arms to rinse the dishes of any residue or detergent left. This is also when a rinse aid, like Finish Jet Dry, is dispensed to help prevent stains and dandruff, as well as to aid the drying cycle. Jet Dry uses surfactants to do its job – they reduce the surface tension of the water and prevent droplets from forming on dishes, which ultimately helps banish water spots. If a disinfection cycle is selected, the temperature of the final rinse is increased.
- To dry: This is the last step. Dishwasher users can choose to save energy and let dishes air dry in the machine or choose a heated drying cycle where a heating element heats the air in the machine to help speed up. the drying process. Note: As dishwashers have become more energy efficient, adding a rinse aid, like Finish Jet Dry, helps water come off the dishes and helps items dry clearly with fewer stains and less of movie. It also helps to stop the redeposition of any food and detergent bits in the rinse part of the cycle (since water is often recirculated in a cycle). But if the filter is clean, there shouldn’t be a lot of it in the rinse water, says Carolyn Forte, director of the Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
What parts really matter
If you really want to get to the heart of the matter, there are a few parts of a dishwasher that you should know about.
- Spray arms: The spray arms are located at the bottom and in the middle, and sometimes also at the top. While the machine is running, they spin and spray water throughout the machine to clean the dishes.
- Distributor: Usually located inside the door, the dispenser usually has two different compartments: one for detergent and one for rinse aid. Throughout the cycle, timers ensure that each solution is dispensed at the right time.
- Filtered: Every dishwasher has a filter and it’s a good idea to check it every now and then. Some are removable and can be cleaned with lukewarm water.
- Heating element: This is the coil, usually located under the machine, which heats the water for washing and the air for drying. (But some machines use condensation or evaporative drying.)
In terms of setup, most dishwashers have two sliding racks, although some have a third, which is usually a dedicated tray / rack for cutlery and small items. “In general, the more you pay for a dishwasher, the more options you have,” says Redmile. This includes extras such as specialty utensil baskets, stemware holders, and super powerful jets for cleaning kitchen utensils.
Extra dollars buy other features as well, like top-mounted controls for a sleek design, digital displays, and dedicated programs like a sanitize cycle, high and low wash cycles only, and quick wash.
How to keep yours running smoothly
“With regular use, you can expect grease and dirt to build up in your dishwasher filter, spray arms and hoses,” says Redmile. “In areas where the water is particularly hard, you may also notice a build-up of lime.”
All of this dirt can affect the operation of your appliance, she notes, and can lead to poor dish cleaning.
To prevent this from happening, monthly cleanings are important, says Redmile. Use a dishwasher cleaner, such as Finish Dishwasher Cleaner, about once a month, especially if you use your dishwasher frequently. During the cycle, this simple solution helps remove grease and lime buildup in areas such as filters, spray arms and hoses, and other parts hidden inside.
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