Dishwasher Not Washing Dishes? 3 Common Causes

Like the name suggests, your dishwasher is meant to wash dishes, so noticing food residue and splotches on your dishes, utensils, pans, and glasses should be a cause for concern. In some instances, dirty dishes after running through your dishwasher may be a simple issue. Unfortunately, dirty dishes after running a cycle may indicate a more alarming problem. Here are a few common reasons why your dishes are dirty after washing in your dishwasher.

Improper Loading

Most people are surprised to learn their dirty dishes stem from improper loading. If you do not load the items effectively, water and detergent will not reach each section of your dishwasher's contents, leaving behind food, grease, and soapy residue.

There are a few important rules to follow when loading the dishwasher.

No matter how efficient and effective your dishwasher claims to be, you still need to rinse off your plates, bowls, platters, pots, pans, glasses, and utensils before loading them. This may increase the time it takes to get the dishes done, but it is a wise investment.

Load plastic and lightweight items securely. Make sure plastic cups, platters, or utensils and anything that is lightweight is placed in the dishwasher where it cannot move during the wash cycle.

Finally, do not stack items because water and detergent will not reach them properly.

Clogged Drain Hose

If you are loading your dishwasher properly and you are still having issues with food on your dishes, your drain hose is most likely clogged.

This hose is located under the sink, connecting the dishwasher to the garbage disposal in most cases. Over time, it can easily become clogged with food and grease. If it is clogged, food will not be able to move out of the home, backing up into the dishwasher's interior and building back up on your dishes.

Disconnecting the hose to clean out the drain is possible, but make sure to place a bucket or large bowl under the pipe to prevent water and debris from spilling out onto your cabinets/floor.

Clogged Drain Pump

If you have removed and cleaned out the hose, but are still seeing food residue on your dishes, the drain pump is probably in distress.

The pump is how the waste is removed from not only the dishwasher but from your home, as well. The pump may be clogged, but it may also not be functioning properly due to a mechanical issue. If the dishwasher is older, replacing the pump may be necessary. Or, investing in an entirely new dishwasher may be a good idea. 

Reach out to an appliance repair service for more information.