Dishwasher Issue: Dishes Don’t Come out Clean

Sometimes, a dishwasher gradually becomes less efficient and the dishes come out partially dirty. In some cases, it does not work like you want from the very beginning. Here we have collected the most common problems and the easy ways to fix them.

Dishes Don’t Come out Clean

Do You Use the Dishwasher the Correct Way?

Sometimes, it does not mean that your dishwasher is broken, even though it does not clean the dishes as it should. It is possible that you are using it somewhat incorrectly. Here are some easy tips:

  • Clean the dishes from the leftover food before putting them into the appliance. You do not have to clean them, just scrape the leftovers into a trash bin or rinse the plates under the water tap;
  • Make sure you are using the correct settings. Read the manual and choose a suitable program carefully. It is possible that you have been setting your device to wash the dishes with water, but not to clean;
  • Check the detergent you are using. The choice of detergent depends on the model of your dishwasher and on the type of water you have. For example, hard water usually requires a specific kind of substance.

If these tips do not help, some parts of your dishwasher may be broken or malfunctioning.

How Do I Fix My Dishwasher When It Does Not Clean Properly?

There are quite a few parts of the dishwasher that may cause trouble. In order to fix the problem, it is important to figure out which part exactly is not functioning in the correct way.

What to Check

Some parts simply require cleaning or can be replaced easily, but in some cases, a professional technician is required. Below, you will find the list of parts to check.

Clean the Dishwasher Spray Arm

A spray arm is a part that splashes the tableware with water and cleaning agent. After some time, the holes in the spray arm might become clogged with debris. Pieces of food, glass from smashed plates, and other objects can be stuck in the spray arm. Clean it out and see how it works.

Dishwasher Spray Arm

Clean the Dishwasher Float Switch

In some cases, the dishwasher does not get enough water to clean the dishes. If the float does not move freely, remove it if possible and clean it. Soap tends to gather around the float and prevent it from moving correctly. Get rid of the soap and debris and see how it works.

Clean the Dishwasher Valve Screen

The valve screen, just as many other parts, can easily become obstructed with debris and food leftovers. Check the valve screen and see if it is clean. If not, clean the debris to make sure it is working correctly.

Dishwasher Valve Screen

Docking Station

This is an option for the dishwashers that have a spray arm in the middle. It is connected to the docking station in order to have access to the water. Check the station and see if it is connected tightly. This element is partially made of plastic. See if it is intact and replace it if needed.


This part cuts the pieces of food, so they can leave the dishwasher easily. Sometimes they cannot be chopped small enough and become stuck in there. Clean the chopper out from all the debris and leftovers.


Water Inlet Valve

This part often causes dishwasher malfunctioning. Sometimes the dishwasher does not fill with enough water or there is no water at all. Check and see whether it is obstructed or not.

inlet valve

Water Delivery Tube

In case your dishwasher has more than one bottom spray arm, you might have issues with the water delivery tube. This tube connects to the spray arm located at the top of the dishwasher. Ensure that it is not twisted and the water flows freely.

dishwasher water tube


The number of filters depends on the model of your device. Sometimes they become jammed. Clean the debris if needed. If the filters are damaged, replace them.

dishwasher filter

Wash spinner

Ensure that this spinner is not damaged and fits tightly. See also if it is obstructed by something. This might be the reason why the plates are not that clean.

dishwasher spinner

Detergent Dispenser

Make sure the dispenser opens up during each cycle. Put enough detergent in every time. Remove the remaining cleaning agent if something is left.

Detergent Dispenser

Heating Element

The temperature of the water should be hot to a certain degree in order to make the tableware clean. See if the water that feels the dishwasher is hot. If it is, but the temperature decreases while the device is running, then the heating element might be damaged and should be replaced.

Heating Element
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