QUESTION: I just moved into a new apartment. The dishwasher is running normal but when it completes the wash cycle, my dishes are not clean and the detergent tablet is still there. The dishwasher is not dissolving the tablet. Maybe a little bit but about 80% of it is still there. I believe it gets hot water and runs normally. The apartment management said to use dishwasher cleaning tablets and not the powder soap. What can I do to try and get the tablet to dissolve? Any help you can provide would be great!
ANSWER: If your dishwasher hot water temperature is below 110F/115F, then it may not be hot enough to dissolve certain brands of detergent tablets. Be sure the water is HOT before you run the dishwasher. Run the hot water in the sink until it is very hot, then immediately run the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on the longest, hottest cycle it has.
Also check that the spring opening action of the detergent dispenser door is working properly. If the detergent dispenser is too small a big detergent tablet may not be letting it open correctly. It may be jamming up the door. Try using a liquid or gel dish washing detergent if this is the case. There are many high quality liquid and gel dishwasher detergents on the market today. Liquid Cascade seems to be the best so give that a try. A powdered detergent will work too. Use a rinsing aid also as this will help remove spots even when the tablet may not be dissolving properly.
If you are in an apartment, then most likely you do not have a high quality dishwasher. Knowing this, the dishwasher needs all the assistance it can get with the hottest water possible. You also need to be sure your dishwasher is clean at the bottom (removable strainer filter) where the pump and bottom washer arm is located. Be sure that it is clean and has hot water and this will be the best method to dissolve tablets. If you must use tablets, you can break them in half in the sink first. Place them in the dispenser and the hot water should make it easier to dissolve since the tablet is not as large.
You also need to be sure there is enough water for the pump to actually pump the water. To check this, start the dishwasher. Once you hear it running, open the dishwasher and be sure there is hot water and enough of it. If there is not much water in the dishwasher it may not be getting much water to the pump. When you open the door while it is running, check the water level at the bottom of the washer. If there is not much water at the bottom, then it may not be getting enough water to clean dishes and dissolve the tablet. Clean the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher to help the pump get the water more efficiently.
If all else fails, you may have an old worn out dishwasher. The pump may be bad. Possibly your water heater is set to low. Your water heater should be set right around 120F. This will ensure that your dishwasher is getting the correct water temperature to effectively clean dishes and dissolve the tablet. If in an apartment, let the management know you are having this issue and they SHOULD resolve it.
Do you know of another way to assist a dishwasher to dissolve a detergent tablet? Please leave a comment below.