Why is my dishwasher leaving my glasses dirty?

Question: Every time I run a load in my dishwasher, there always seem to be a couple of glasses in the back of the dishwasher with food remnants on them. Why is this happening?

Answer: Your dishwasher’s wash and spray arms might need to be cleaned. The sprayer arms spin and dispense water during your dishwasher’s cleaning and rinsing cycles. The arms have tiny holes which water come out of and over time those holes might have become clogged with food particles or mineral build-up from your water. There are usually two sprayer arms in most types of dishwashers, an upper sprayer arm and a lower sprayer arm. The arms can be detached from your dishwasher for cleaning. Remove the lower sprayer arm first by twisting off the twist cap that holds the arm to the motor shaft.

Remove and clean both sprayer arms with some mild dishwashing liquid and water. Do not stick matches or toothpicks to unclog the sprayer arm ports holes as these items can easily break off, further plugging the port holes. Also, do not use anything made of metal, like a nail or end of a screwdriver, as these items can damage the port holes or enlarge them.

While the lower sprayer arm is removed, check to see if your dishwasher has a filter or strainer that needs to be cleaned. On some dishwasher models, this filter or strainer is located at the bottom of the tub underneath the lower sprayer arm. You might need the help of a screwdriver to disengage the filter from its setting in the tub. Remove the strainer and clean it with mild dishwashing liquid and water and place it back in the dishwasher. Return the lower wash and spray arm back to its setting, and screw the twist cap on securely. Clean the upper sprayer arm in the same manner.

Need more dishwasher repair help? Check out APWagner.com’s online dishwasher repair section. If you need replacement parts for your dishwasher, buy them online at APWAgner.com. We carry a wide-selection of dishwasher replacement parts including: dishwasher door latches, drain hoses, and replacement door gaskets and seals for your dishwasher.

2 thoughts on “Why is my dishwasher leaving my glasses dirty?

  1. I’ve heard a cup of white vinegar in the top rack of an empty dishwasher, run through a full hottest water cycle, will go a long way towards killing any odors and might do those spray arms good.

  2. My 2 yr. old Kitchen Aid leaves ground up debris on the inside and outside of glasses. A repairman’s check of the sump, grinder and screens revealed a lot of ground up debris, but no apparent malfunctioning parts. This “stuff” looks like the same stuff that accumulates under the rubber flaps of the garbage disposal opening. If this is not a design flaw in Kitchen Aid dishwashers, it may be some kind of bacterial growth in the sump.

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