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.
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.
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.
There’s really no harm in using vinegar in your dishwasher, but I suggest only using it in lieu of rinse aid between trips to the store. Rinse aid should be called drying aid, and modern dishwashers need it to properly dry dishes.
2. Microwave cleaner – Heat a microwave-safe cup of vinegar in your microwave and let it boil, so the steam can loosen up all the stuck-on splatters for a minute or so. Wipe down the interior immediately, while it’s still moist inside — no scrubbing necessary!
3. Clothes washer cleaner – Just like your dishwasher, your washing machine benefits from a regular vinegar cleaning. Run a cup through an empty cycle using the hottest setting.
4. All-purpose surface cleaner – Equal parts vinegar and water work well for cleaning windows or glass. Also try the solution for an all-natural way to clean the inside of a refrigerator. I hear you can use it to clean stainless steel as well, though, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaner for a shiny, polished finish.
5. Coffee maker cleaner – This tip, learned from my mom, is among my favorites. I try to run a full coffee pot of vinegar through my coffee maker (remove any coffee or filter, obviously) every few months. It’s satisfying to watch all the grime flake off into the pot, and you’ll be amazed how much faster your coffee brews without all the sediment slowing it down!
6. Stove top and oven cleaner – I’ve already blogged about using a paste of vinegar and baking soda for oven cleaning, but that same paste can be applied to your stove top to scrub out those stubborn brownish discolorations and food splatters.
Have you ever tried cleaning with vinegar? What other household cleaning remedies have you tried?
This blog post, originally published last November, remains one of my most-viewed posts. So I’m reposting it — with a few edits — because like I say, this ain’t no Macy’s clearance rack.
What is it with us Midwesterners and our deal-bragging? You know: upon receiving a compliment, we gloat about the gasp-worthy low price we got it for — unsolicited. Perhaps it’s because we fancy ourselves pro deal hunters.
But our Extreme Warehouse Sale this Saturday (7-5:30) and Sunday (10-5) is no Macy’s clearance rack. I’m talkin’ big-ticket items at huge discounts: you need to prepare a bit. The savings are so hot, all sales are final.
Luckily for you, I’ve compiled the secrets of the pros — tips that will prepare any appliance rookie for the big league.
Before the sale
Don’t be a fool; Use this tool.
Measure your space
Don’t learn the hard way: there is no “standard” in appliance sizes. Use a measuring tape on the available space — not the existing appliance — and write down dimensions to bring to the sale.
Also, measure the width of the doorways and staircases the appliance will need to travel through.
Know your fuel type
You’ll need to know whether you have a gas or electric hookup when buying a dryer, a range or a cooktop.
Consider your hinges
For example, some refrigerators on sale will be left hinge only. Wouldn’t it be terrible to find a great deal on a fridge only to get it home and not be able to open it? Also know what side you want the hinges on a front-load washer and any type of dryer, in case there’s an option.
Do some research
We’ll have more than 2,000 appliances available at the start of the sale, so have something in mind to avoid frustration. The best tip? Know what you like and don’t like about your existing model. Check out our Web site for more ideas on what features are important to you.
If you’re purchasing as part of the Minnesota Trade-In & Save Appliance Rebate Program, check out qualifying Energy Star models.
The day of the sale
Buy a MN rebate-qualified product
If you’re shopping for a refrigerator, freezer, washer or dishwasher to submit a state appliance rebate, let your salesperson know that so they can help you find a qualified Energy Star model.
Bring a hauling vehicle
Usually, we offer free delivery on purchases $499 and above, but this sale is anything but usual. Our warehouse is full of products, so we encourage customers to take their purchases with them the day of the sale. We’ll help you load it up and everything.
If you’re picking and a new refrigerator or freezer as part of the MN rebate program, bring your old refrigerator or freezer for us to recycle as well as your “Proof of Demanufacturing” forms for us to sign.
If you do choose to have it delivered, it’s $75 and you must take delivery within 30 days. Application forms for the state rebate program must be postmarked within 30 days of your rebate reservation date.
Know your schedule
We’ll arrange for delivery and any installation for built-in appliances (available for additional charges) at the time of sale. We’ll call you the day before the delivery with an AM/PM estimate and our crew can call you before they arrive if you need to meet them at your house.
Pack a stroller
Our warehouse is a warehouse. It’s clean and safe, but it’s also big and crowded and without a play area. Strollers work well to keep small children nearby when you’re shopping the selection. We’ll have cookies and water on hand, as well as children’s areas with movies and coloring books near the checkout areas.
After the sale
Submit state rebate application If you have a rebate reservation or waiting list reservation for a dishwasher or clothes washer, you can send in your application form along with a copy of your receipt immediately after the sale. Those who purchased a refrigerator or freezer and dropped off their old unit should have our warehouse crew sign their “Proof of Demanufacturing” form and send that in along with their completed application form and receipt.
Those receiving delivery of a refrigerator or freezer for the rebate program should have our delivery crew sign their “Proof of Demanufacturing” form when we haul away their old unit for recycling. That form then should be sent in with the rebate application and receipt.
Receive delivery/install time estimate
You’ll receive a call with an AM/PM estimate the day before your scheduled delivery and/or install.
Apply for manufacturers’ rebates
You could qualify for even more savings by manufacturers’ rebate. Once you receive your product, you can fill in the serial number (the delivery crew can help you locate this) on your rebate forms and submit them promptly, as they expire. Be patient, as rebates can take 12 weeks to process.
Read your manual
Knowing your new product can help you save time and improve the quality of your cooking and cleaning. Stow it somewhere memorable to refer to for troubleshooting and general operation questions.
Don’t ignore accessories
If you get a dishwasher, buy rinse aid to help dry your dishes. If you buy a smooth-top electric range, you’ll want cooktop cleaner to keep it looking new. The water filter in your fridge will need to be replaced every six to 12 months. And please, for the sake of your breathing, don’t overstuff your vacuum bags!
Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?
Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean — especially on the top rack.
You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.
Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.
So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.
How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.
To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:
Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.
You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.
So you go to take your dishes out of the dishwasher and they’re completely wet. Sound familiar?
If your dishwasher has a stainless steel tub, you probably need rinse aid. Sure, your dishwasher could be the best, highest-efficiency model. It still needs rinse aid. Rinse aid helps dry dishes by reducing water droplet formation. (Note: If you have a plastic tub and your dishes aren’t drying, you might need a service call on the heating element.)
If you’ve added rinse aid to your dishwasher and your dishes still come out wet, check if you’re washing a lot of plastic dishes. Sometimes these can exacerbate the problem. Have you ever noticed that plastic dishes often come out with droplets of water while all your glass and porcelain dishes are completely dry? That’s because plastic does not hold heat the same way regular dishes do.
Why does that matter? It throws the dishwasher off its drying mojo. Here’s how the dishwasher drying process works: The final rinse water reaches a very high temperature (at least 157 degrees on European models) — and the final rinse temperature is really important to the drying process. By now, the dishes ideally hold a lot of heat. But the stainless steel tub (hopefully you purchased a model with a SS tub) is a cooler surface, so the moisture collects on the tub and condensation naturally occurs.
Other things that throw the dishwasher off its drying mojo:
Washing all the dishes before you load them. Scrape off large food pieces, but just say no to washing your dishes before you wash them! If the dishes are clean, your smart dishwasher cuts the wash time down. If this happens, the dishwasher may not have time to get hot enough. The water is heated to more than 40 degrees higher than the hot water being piped in. There are other reasons to not wash your dishes before you wash them, but I’ll save those for another post…
You’re using the light or quick wash cycles for everyday stuff. It won’t usually wash or dry as well.
You’re not using rinse aid (shame on you). Rinse aid is a key element in drying and it will keep everything sparkling as well.