Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher drying tips

If your dishes come out of the dishwasher looking like this...

If your dishwasher isn’t drying, just know that your dishwasher drying problems might be completely fixable.

The No. 1 cause of wet dishes is lack of rinse aid, or drying aid as I like to call it.

Most think of rinse aid’s aesthetic benefits, because it helps water “sheet” off dishes rather than forming water droplets that cling and leave icky  spots.

But modern dishwashers are designed to use rinse aid for drying, so without it, your dishes and dishwasher interior will have excessive moisture. Also, the heated dry option will not perform as well without rinse aid.  (Now is a good time to check if your dishwasher includes a Heated Dry – or Extra Dry – option you might not be using.)

Once you fill your rinse aid dispenser, don’t forget to refill it. A full dispenser will last about a month, but I top mine off every couple weeks.

Proper loading also ensures good drying performance. Load items, especially plastic, at an angle so water can sheet off. Plastics have a porous surface and tend to collect droplets, so they take longer to dry and might not dry completely in a normal dry cycle.

For best results, the water should be 120 degrees F as it enters the dishwasher – not lower or higher by much. If your water heater is located far from the dishwasher, it may be necessary to run the hot water at the faucet closest to the dishwasher to minimize the amount of cold water in the water line.

4 thoughts on “Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher drying tips

  1. Thanks for leaving these tips. Newer dishwashers are designed better and much of those issues have been reduced, if not eliminated.

  2. In better dishwashers the top racks are angled. Be sure to store glasses and cups at an angle so the water has a chance to run off the bottoms. Rinse aid will assist in eliminating water on the bottoms of cups and glasses, but proper loading is still critical.

    Rinse aid is designed to make the water wetter so water runs off instead of evaporating on the products leaving water spots.

    Use of rinse aid should be required in dishwashers that do not have a heating coil. (this is a topic for another discussion of the types of dishwasher drying systems).

    1. Great explanation, thank you 🙂

      And I appreciate the clarification on dishwashers without heat elements. I linked to a previous post noting that, but I think I assume too much sometimes.

    2. I think you have more knowledge about dishwasher and how to dry them, because the way you have clarified the above post show your knowledge.

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