My new baby (and yes, those are blue laminate countertops)
I got a new Asko dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: the way all my pots and pans fit, the stemware holders for my house’s wine habit, the knife holder for my vegetable habit.
Nothing comes out with a speck of food, and we no longer have to yell at each other over a tsunami of washing sounds. My life has improved two-fold. No more dishwasher problems.
Well, there was one. The Cascade Action Packs we had just bought on sale were getting stuck in the dispenser.
After reading the Use & Care manual (gold star for me), I noted that Asko recommends using powder detergent, and only about a tablespoon of it depending on the hardness of your water.
When I switched back to powder, everything was fine. But it’s not always as easy as switching dishwasher detergent.
If you still have caked detergent after running your dishwasher, try these dishwasher troubleshooting tips, adapted from Whirlpool Corp.
Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?
If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump. This also means that if there’s still detergent left in the cup, don’t think, “Oh, well now I don’t have to refill it!” Clean it out and start over.
Is the cycle incomplete?
If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher. But this probably isn’t the cause for those with chronic detergent-caking issues. Again, clean the detergent from the cup and start over again.
Is the detergent old?
Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Buy new detergent, and this time, keep it in a tightly closed container (i.e. not the box with an open flap) in a cool dry place (i.e. not under your sink right next to the wall where your dishwasher runs hot!).
Is the water temperature too low?
For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher, so check your water heater setting. I also try to remember to run the kitchen sink tip until hot water comes out to help this.
Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?
Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.
Other good (if not obvious) detergent guidelines
- Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
- Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
- I’m guilty of this. I’ll fill the detergent cup when I’m done with the night’s dishes so I only have to press the button before bed a few hours later. Don’t be like me.
- The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
- If you use too little, dishes won’t be clean.
- If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
- Your manufacturer’s suggested amount is based on standard powdered detergent, so follow instructions on the package when using liquid or concentrated powdered detergent.
- Water hardness can change over a period of time. You can find out your water’s hardness for about $15 by calling Water Doctors.