Dishwasher troubleshooting: Why your dishwasher is not drying your dishes

I think this is what I have at home. No brand preference...surely, it was on sale.

You shouldn’t have to towel off your dishes after cleaning them in your dishwasher.

But you also shouldn’t write off rinse aid because you think it’s just made to prevent water spots on your dishes.

Dishwashers are actually designed to use the rinse aid to sheet off the water on dishes to assist in the drying process. So without it, you’re handicapping your dishwasher’s drying performance.

I’ve read blog posts about using vinegar and stuff like that in place of rinse aid, but if that actually works for you in terms of helping dry your dishes, I stand corrected (and you can hang me in the comments).

Buy a bottle of rinse aid, and I betcha that’s the missing link. Keep your reservoir full, checking it every few weeks.  Your (dry) dishtowels will thank you.

Other tips:

  • If you have a new, plastic tub dishwasher, be patient. It’s drying performance will improve over time as the tub “seasons.” Don’t prewash your dishes, as this impedes the seasoning process, manufacturers say.
  • Run the tap next to your dishwasher until the water is hot, ensuring that the water entering the dishwasher can get as hot as possible. I do this without fail, because it’s an all-around boost to your dishwasher’s perfomance.
  • Limit the amount of plastic items. Plastic doesn’t retain heat as well as say, ceramic, which is why you’ll notice that it’s generally the wettest of all your wet dishes. Because it doesn’t retain heat, it doesn’t condensate the water.


Categories DishwashersTags , , ,

3 thoughts on “Dishwasher troubleshooting: Why your dishwasher is not drying your dishes

  1. Great post. I think its interesting to note that higher end dishwashers won’t really benefit from the “run the tap” trick as they have built-in water heaters and thermostats that heat the water in stair step fashion through various ideal temperatures to a set maximum termperature so washing performance is consistent regardless of the temperature of the water when it enters the machine. For example, the enzymes in your detergent work better at temperature X whereas the bleach in your detergent only works at temperature Y so its important to hit all temperature bands to maximize cleaning results. Moreover, like clothes washers, certain stains and muck are cleaned better at different temperatures. Hope that helps or is at least interesting!

  2. Good comments Matt.
    Julie, Several months ago you did a posting on dishwashers. If I recall the article talked about stainless interiors and the European drying system like we see on Bosch, LG, and others verses the American system like we see on most GE, Whirlpool, Maytage etc. models. That might be a good one to post again as many consumers are coming through the holiday season where they may have had issues with their dishwashers especially when they needed quick turnarournd from one load to the next.

  3. Great tips. My plastic utensils never dry fully. I have to take them out of the dishwasher and dry them with a towel. Will try your tips.

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