15 Mistakes That Can Shorten the Life of Your Dishwasher

source: Flickr

I’ve had my trusty dishwasher for years now, and honestly, I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s seen me through countless dinner parties, family gatherings, and even the occasional craft beer tasting event at my place. Its reliability has made life so much simpler—just load it up, press a button, and voila! Clean dishes without the fuss. However, like any beloved appliance, if you don’t take care of it properly, you could inadvertently shorten its lifespan. And let’s face it, a new one doesn’t come cheap!

Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve made several mistakes that could have taken years off my dishwasher’s life. I didn’t know about some of these until it was almost too late, and trust me, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to appliance upkeep.

source: Flickr

So, from one home chef to another, here are 15 ways you might be shortening the life of your dishwasher without even realizing it:

  1. Overloading the Machine: In my early days of dishwasher ownership, I thought I was a packing genius. More dishes meant fewer loads, right? Wrong. Overloading the dishwasher prevents it from cleaning properly and can strain the motor. I learned the hard way when I had to hand-wash half the load that didn’t get clean.
  2. Pre-Rinsing Dishes Too Much: I used to rinse my dishes until they were almost clean before loading them. Turns out, this is a no-no. Modern dishwashers are designed to detect food particles and adjust the cycle accordingly. By pre-rinsing, you prevent the machine from working at its optimal level.
  3. Not Cleaning the Filter: This was a game-changer for me. I didn’t even know dishwashers had filters until one fine day, my dishwasher started leaving grimy residues on my glasses. Regularly cleaning the filter is crucial to keeping the machine running smoothly.
  4. Ignoring the Spray Arms: These arms are the heart of your dishwasher’s cleaning power. If they’re clogged with debris, your dishes won’t get clean. Now, I make it a habit to check and clean the spray arms every few months.
  5. Using the Wrong Detergent: There was a time when I just grabbed whatever dishwashing soap was on sale. Bad idea. Some detergents are too harsh and can actually damage the appliance’s interior. Now, I stick to brands recommended by the manufacturer.
source: Flickr
  1. Loading Improperly: Knives pointing up (ouch!), bowls facing the wrong way, and pans blocking the spray arms were all rookie mistakes I made. Proper loading ensures each item gets cleaned without damaging the machine or other dishes.
  2. Hard Water Woes: Hard water can leave limescale deposits in your dishwasher, which can reduce its efficiency and lifespan. Installing a water softener has been a worthwhile investment in my home to protect both my dishwasher and other appliances.
  3. Neglecting Door Seals: The rubber seals around the door keep water from leaking out during cycles. Cleaning them regularly to remove food particles and residues can prevent leaks and door malfunctions.
  4. Using It Infrequently: Believe it or not, not using your dishwasher can actually be harmful. Regular use keeps the motor and hoses in good working condition. I try to run a cycle at least once a week, even if it’s not fully loaded.
  5. Dumping Chemicals Inside: Once, in a desperate attempt to clean my dishwasher, I dumped a household cleaner inside. Bad move. Some chemicals can corrode the interior and damage the machine. Stick to products designed specifically for dishwashers.
source: Flickr
  1. Letting It Run Half Empty: Running half loads not only wastes water and energy but also means you’re using your dishwasher more often, which can wear it out faster. Now, I wait until it’s full (but not overloaded) to run it.
  2. Ignoring Weird Noises: If your dishwasher starts making unusual noises, don’t ignore it like I did initially. This could be a sign of a part needing repair or replacement. Catching it early can save a lot of headaches later.
  3. Skipping Maintenance Checks: Regular maintenance by a professional can spot issues before they become serious. I schedule a check-up once a year—it’s like a health check for my dishwasher.
  4. Improperly Balanced: I never realized the importance of having my dishwasher perfectly level until I noticed it wasn’t draining properly. A simple adjustment to the legs can prevent a host of problems.
  5. Scraping Too Hard: In my zeal to remove food, I used to scrape dishes too vigorously, which sometimes scratched and damaged them. Gentle scraping is enough; let the dishwasher do the rest.
source: Flickr

Learning how to properly maintain my dishwasher has not only extended its life but also improved its performance. It might take a bit of extra time and attention, but trust me, it’s worth it to keep this kitchen workhorse running efficiently for years to come. So, take a little time to give your dishwasher the love it deserves—it’s doing a lot of dirty work for you, after all!