The Ultimate Guide to Using Your Automatic Dishwasher

There are a lot of benefits to using an automatic dishwasher, but a lot can go wrong unless you know what you’re doing! Using an automatic dishwasher can save you a lot of time, as well as get your dishes cleaner than if you were to wash them by hand. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to get your dishes sparkly clean, from detergent ingredients to solutions to common issues.


The Dishwasher
The function of the dishwasher is to provide the mechanical action necessary to distribute and direct the detergent solution and rinse waters over, under and around the dishes to loosen and remove soil. The dishwasher must also remove soil-laden waters from the machine after each phase of the cycle and provide for the drying of dishes after the cleaning process has been completed.

Washing Systems
Automatic dishwashers vary in the design of their washing systems (or the means by which water is distributed). Some have a single water source, others may have several water sources. Water is distributed in dishwashers by spray arms or spray towers (or in the case of some older models by an impeller). The design of the spray arms or towers may differ in size, shape and placement in the dishwasher, or in the number, size and location of their water ports (holes through which water is forced). All of the washing systems do a good job, but those with fewer water sources require greater care in loading the dishes to prevent blocking the washing action to various parts of the machine, especially the corners.

The Water
The role of water is to dissolve and carry detergent, wet and loosen soil and effectively rinse the soil away. The velocity with which water is distributed in the dishwasher provides the scrubbing action to loosen and remove soil.

Cleaning in a dishwasher is accomplished with a relatively small volume of water. Contrary to what some people think, the dishwasher does not fill completely as does a clothes washer. The dishwasher, instead, employs several small fills during a cycle to accomplish the washing and rinsing operations. The total volume of water used in a complete cycle can vary from 6 – 10 gallons, depending on the number of washes and rinses included in that particular cycle.

Water pressure in a home may be noticeably reduced at some times because of numerous household water demands. As a result, insufficient water in the dishwasher could occur. This can be avoided by keeping bathing, laundering and other activities requiring quantities of water to a minimum while the machine is in use.

The temperature of the water is an important factor in dissolving detergent, removing food soils and drying dishes properly. To do these things most effectively, the water temperature at the dishwasher should not be lower than 130 degrees F (54.4 degrees C). As temperature is reduced, the removal of greasy and oily soils becomes more difficult; spotting and filming on dishes may occur as well as improper drying.

The amount of hardness minerals and other dissolved solids in water present obstacles to good automatic dishwashing results. Hardness minerals can cause spotting and filming on dishware. They must be effectively tied up or sequestered if the results are to be satisfactory. Hardness of water is determined by the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. It varies from locality to locality and season to season. Water hardness is expressed in grains per gallon (gpg), parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per litre (mg/L)

Soft Moderately Hard Hard Very Hard
Grains per gallon 0.0 to 3.5 3.6 to 7.0 7.1 to 10.5 10.6 _
Parts per million or milligrams per litre 0.0 to 60 61 to 120 121 to 180 More than 180


The Detergent
Automatic dishwashers require detergents with very special characteristics because of the conditions under which the detergent must work. One of its essential characteristics is that it must produce little or no suds or foam because too much foam can inhibit the washing action. Other important functions that a dishwasher detergent should perform are the following:

  • Make water wetter (reduce surface tension) to penetrate and loosen soil.
  • Tie up water hardness minerals to permit the detergent to do its cleaning job.
  • Emulsify greasy or oily soil.
  • Suppress foam caused by protein soils such as egg and milk.
  • Help water to sheet off surfaces of dishes, thus minimizing water spots.
  • Protect china patterns and metals from the corrosive effects of heat and water alone.


Automatic dishwasher detergents provide the chemical energy to help remove food soil from all types of cooking and serving items. Unlike hand dishwashing products, these must be very low to non-sudsing. Suds cushion the mechanical cleaning action of the water and result in suds overflow from the machine. In addition, automatic dishwasher detergents should inhibit foam that certain protein-containing foods, such as egg and milk, create. They must also soften water to prevent insoluble deposits, loosen and hold soil in suspension, leave items clean and grease-free so they rinse and dry without spots, and be safe for a wide variety of dishes, glassware, utensils, etc.

Today’s automatic dishwater detergents are available in three forms: powders, gels, and tablets. All forms perform well, so the choice is usually made on personal preference.

Powders are free-flowing granules. Most people are familiar with powders as they are the traditional automatic dishwasher detergent form.

Gels are formulated to provide controlled dispensing. Because of their form, they are less likely to be spilled than powders. Gels dissolve quickly, allowing the detergent to begin working right away.

Tablets are formulated for effective cleaning as well as convenience. Since they are pre-measured, there is no measuring, waste, or mess. One tablet contains the exact dose for a full load. Each tablet may be individually wrapped to protect it from moisture, humidity and to extend its shelf life. Although tablets are formulated to work in all types of water, you may need to use an extra tablet in extremely hard water.

Depending on their formulation and product form, automatic dishwasher detergents may contain the following ingredients:


such as sodium carbonate or hydroxide, may be used to aid in handling greasy food soils.
Chlorine or Oxygen Bleaches
are added to help prevent spots by leaving a cleaner surface than would be obtained with surfactants. The very small amount of bleach helps break down protein soils and aids in removing stains such as coffee or tea.
are added to lend individuality and an appealing appearance to the product.
Corrosion Inhibitors
such as sodium silicate, helps provide protection for the dishwasher and the wide variety of materials that are washed. Some materials still should not be washed in the automatic dishwasher. The corrosion inhibitor is also a soil suspending agent and an important source of alkalinity.
are naturally occurring proteins that help break down food and soil residue into small particles. The small particles are then washed away.
covers the chemical odour of the base product and stale food odours that might come from the dishwasher.
help prevent film build-up from hard water.
Processing Aids
are generally inert materials which allow the active ingredients to be combined into a usable form.
Special Additives
such as sodium aluminate or boric oxide, may be used to inhibit the removal of overglaze and pattern from fine china. Sometimes antifoams are added to reduce sudsing.
or surface active agents loosens soil and emulsifies fats, helps hold them in suspension, and leaves surfaces clean and free from spots and film. Specially developed surfactants having the lowest sudsing characteristic are used.
Thickening Agents
are used in gel automatic dishwasher detergents so the product remains in the dishwasher cup(s) until automatically dispensed at the appropriate time.

A Specially Formulated Product
There are no substitutes for an automatic dishwasher detergent. Only an automatic dishwasher detergent can be used in an automatic dishwasher. These products come in either powder or gel form. All other types of detergents or soaps produce too much suds and will smother the water action necessary for cleaning in the dishwasher. Furthermore, enough suds might be generated to cause a dishwasher to overflow. This could necessitate a service call and could be damaging to the dishwasher and the floor around it. No other type of cleaning product such as baking soda, borax, vinegar or hand dishwashing liquid can be substituted for an automatic dishwasher detergent. These other materials will not perform well and may be damaging to the items being washed or to the dishwasher itself.

Enough dishwasher detergent must be used to soften the water effectively, suppress foam from food soils, provide the necessary cleaning and suspension of soil and protect materials being washed. Under-use will result in poor cleaning, redeposition of soil, spotting, filming and possibly damage to some items being washed. Both the dishwasher instruction booklet and the detergent package provide guidelines for proper usage. A good general rule is to fill the detergent dispenser cup or cups to the level recommended by the dishwasher manufacturer.

It should be remembered that water hardness in any area may vary from season to season and that more detergent may be needed at some times than is needed at other times.

Powder automatic dishwasher detergents readily take up and retain moisture and carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere. This can cause the product to become lumpy. As long as it properly dissolves it can be used, but may be somewhat less effective. To help prevent this condition, the carton is specially designed to include a moisture barrier. Consumers should open the package as directed, avoiding unnecessary tearing of the outer wrapping and closing the box after each use. Always select undamaged packages and purchase only one or two at a time to ensure maximum product effectiveness.

Store these products in a cool, dry place. Storage under the sink is not advisable because this area is generally too warm and moist to keep the product in optimum condition.

Specialty Products

Rinse Agents are formulated to lower the surface tension of the water, causing it to sheet off the dishes. A rinse agent helps a dishwasher rinse away residues that cause spots and film. Rinse agents are helpful for obtaining dry dishware when dishwasher energy savings switches are activated, or when dishes are left to air dry. Liquids are available for use in dishwashers with a built-in rinse reservoir and dispenser. Solid forms are made to attach to the upper dishwasher rack where they slowly dissolve and contribute to each water change in the cycle.

Film Removers are alkali powders that contain chlorine and complex phosphates. Theses can be used to remove films and mineral deposits created by hard water on dishes and the interior of the dishwasher. Film removers can be used on their own instead of a regular detergent, or along with a regular detergent in a wash cycle.

Lime and Rust Removers are available in liquid or powder form to remove lime and rust deposits from the interior of the dishwasher. The product, a combination of acids, is added at the beginning of the main wash cycle (no dishes or other products should be present) with the dishwasher completing the rest of the cycles automatically. The dishwasher should then be put through another complete cycle using a dishwasher detergent to clean the interior of any dissolved lime or rust residue.

Some dishwasher manuals may suggest the use of white vinegar or citric acid crystals to remove film and stains. When using any product not specifically made for dishwasher use, it is very important to follow the dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions precisely and not substitute or vary the procedures. Make certain the product is safe for the item being cleaned.


An automatic dishwasher produces clean dishes, keeps the kitchen free of clutter before and after meals, generally uses less water than hand dishwashing, reduces breakage, helps control germs and frees time for other activities. Automatic dishwashers vary from brand to brand, model to model, but all clean by the action of hot detergent solution that is circulated by spray arms and towers. Water temperature, detergent concentration, and proper loading of the racks are all important for good results.

Water Temperature
For the best cleaning results, be sure water temperature in the dishwasher is hot. Most new dishwashers heat the water right in the tub to compensate for low temperature hot water supplies. If the dishwasher does not have a heat booster, run the hot water at the kitchen sink for a few minutes to clear the line of cool water before turning on the dishwasher.

Scraping And Prerinsing
Pre-rinsing dishes and glassware should not be necessary. An automatic dishwasher detergent and a properly installed and operating dishwasher of reasonably current vintage will do a thorough job with just a scraping off of large food particles. If dishes are loaded into the dishwasher and washed later, the “rinse-hold” cycle can be used; but experience may show that even this is not necessary. Extra heavily soiled cookware may need a rinse, soak or a pre-wash.

Loading The Dishwasher
Variations in dishwashers make it important to study directions and diagrams in the user’s manual. The most important factor is the positioning of the dishes and utensils in relation to the wash action.

  • Be sure to place the heavily soiled side of each item facing the source of the water spray at the centre of the tub. Don’t let large items shield small ones. Place cups, bowls and glasses upside down. Flatware should be loaded according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Avoid crowding or nesting spoons together so water can reach the soiled areas.
  • Place sharp items with points down for safety reasons.
  • Be sure more delicate items are firmly supported by the rack so they won’t topple and possibly break or chip. Experience and results will show how closely together dishes can be placed and how fully the racks can be loaded for satisfactory results.
  • Do not put stainless steel and silver flatware in the same silverware basket compartment. Direct contact between these metals can cause permanent damage to the silver. If possible, avoid placing the basket compartment directly in front of the detergent dispenser cups.

Adding Detergent
Use only a product made specifically for automatic dishwashers. Any other type will cause oversudsing and possible damage to the dishwasher. Use the amount recommended on the detergent container and in the user’s manual, adjusting it to the amount of soil, water hardness and load size. Some detergent dispensers have lines to indicate the amount of detergent to add. In hard water, it is particularly important to use detergent as recommended by the dishwasher manufacturer. In general, the harder the water, the more detergent is required. In soft water, less detergent can be used.

Add the detergent to the dispenser cup(s) after the dishwasher is loaded and is ready to be operated. Be sure the dispenser is dry and clean before adding detergent to maintain optimum performance. This also helps prevent powder detergents from becoming caked in the dispenser. Also, be sure to close the dispenser cup lid. Don’t sprinkle or pour detergent on flatware or other metals; spotting and pitting may occur.

Setting The Controls
Depending on the model, various cycles are available to the user. They may vary by the number of washes and rinses, type of load, degree of soil, and type of drying (air or heated). For most full loads, the regular or “normal” cycle will do the job well, but consider all the options and use any of the features the dishwasher offers. Special “energy-saving” cycles may be offered. Don’t shorten the normal wash time just to save energy; the washing action itself takes very little power. A too-short cycle may be a waste of hot water and detergent if results are poor.

Unloading Dishes
When dry and cool, a load of dishes can be left in the dishwasher until needed. Most users agree that unloading should be done before starting to prepare the next meal. To avoid the doubt about “clean or dirty,” leave the door latched until all clean dishes are put away. Some newer models have a signal device to indicate the dishwasher has been run.

Please see the question below ‘Which items should be washed by hand (and why)?

Common questions and their answers

How much detergent should I use in my dishwasher?

For starters, check the directions on the detergent label for the recommended amount. You can also refer to the dishwasher’s User Manual. Here’s an additional tip: if you have hard water, you may need to use a little more detergent to get the best “clean.” And if your water is soft, do the opposite and try using a little less detergent.

Should I use a powder, gel or tablet automatic dishwasher detergent?

Yes, yes or yes! All three of these are up to the job, so the choice is up to you.

Can I use liquid hand dishwashing detergent in my dishwasher?

No! Not only would this mean soapy suds all over your floor, but there’s also a technical reason why this doesn’t work. The suds created by a hand dishwashing detergent interfere with the mechanical action of the dishwasher. They “smother” the water action that’s necessary for effective cleaning. So leave hand dishwashing liquid at sink-side!

What’s a rinse agent, and do I need one?

A rinse agent is an additive that makes water “wetter,” meaning that the water sheets off dishes more readily and rinses away residue. That translates into fewer water spots, making a rinse agent especially helpful if you have mineral-rich hard water. And as an added bonus, rinse agents also help dishes dry more quickly.

Can I use automatic dishwasher detergent to pre-soak my dishes?

Normally, you simply scrape food particles from dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, making pre-soaking unnecessary. But if you’re dealing with dried-on, baked-on food or grease, try pre-soaking in a hand dishwashing detergent and water solution. Check the label on your automatic dishwasher detergent. Some of them are appropriate for pre-soaking, too.

Can I use automatic dishwasher detergent to wash other things like sinks, windows, floors, or clothing?

Simply put: no. While some household cleaning products are multi-purpose, automatic dishwasher detergent is formulated specifically for use in a dishwasher. In fact, it could damage other surfaces, so use it only as intended!

What’s the best way to store automatic dishwasher detergent?

If you’re using a powder form, you should keep it in a cool, dry place to prevent the detergent from picking up moisture. Otherwise, it could become caked or lumpy. But no matter what type you use – powder, gel or tablet – be sure to close the package tightly after use and store out of the reach of small children and pets.

Is automatic dishwasher detergent safe to use around children?

Yes, automatic dishwasher detergent is safe when used and stored according to the directions on the label. But because accidents can happen, it’s important to keep all cleaning products out of the reach of children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion.

Does automatic dishwasher detergent harm the environment?

No. Automatic dishwasher detergent is formulated to go down the drain with the wash water, and from there, it’s safely treated in both municipal sewage treatment facilities and home septic systems.

Can I put everything in the dishwasher or are there items that should be washed by hand?

As tempting as it is to throw everything in and get that load going, there will always be some items that are better suited to washing by hand. The force and heat of the water, and even the detergent, can damage fragile pieces. If possible, check with the manufacturer to see if the item is “dishwasher safe,” although this may not be easy in the case of older items. As an alternative, your dishwasher manual may give suggestions for the washability of delicate items.

Which items should be washed by hand (and why)?

To be safe, unless the manufacturer can tell you otherwise, you’ll probably want to hand wash these items:

  • Aluminum utensils (Aluminum, with a coloured or metallic copper or gold look usually on the lids of pans and moulds, has a thin anodized coat that is not dishwasher safe. The harder grey or charcoal-coloured anodic finish applied inside and out to some of the professional type cookware can also be permanently damaged. Plain aluminum will darken when exposed to water, some foods, detergents, and alkaline cleaners such as ammonia or a heated solution of baking soda and water. The degree of discolouration depends partly on the length of contact and metal (some alloys are more resistant). Aluminum can be washed in the dishwasher if the discolouration or the necessity of additional cleaning with steel wool or an acid cleaner is not objectionable.)
  • Cast iron (Do not wash in a dishwasher, as all the seasoning will be removed and rusting will occur.) 
  • China (hand painted or antique) (These delicate items should not be washed in the dishwasher. Colour may be removed by the high water temperature and alkaline solution in the dishwasher.)
  • Crystal (Some very fine crystal can break either from sudden exposure to very hot water or from being bumped or toppled.)
  • Cutlery (It is safer to wash kitchen knives by hand since the handles may not be dishwasher safe, and blades can be a hazard in the loading or unloading.)
  • Dirilyte (Gold colour will be removed.)
  • Decorated glassware (Metal trim and colourful enamel decorations on glassware will often fade in time when washed in a dishwasher. Delicate patterns can be damaged.)
  • Hollow-handled knives (Older flatware may have glued handles which could be loosened by the heat.)
  • Milk glass (Heat may cause yellowing.)
  • Pewter (Will stain, discolour and pit.)
  • Plastics (Many plastics are dishwasher safe and remain more stainfree than when hand washed. There are other types of plastics that are heat-sensitive and may melt and warp. Check care instructions on the plastic item. If in doubt, try one. Some may be labelled “top rack only” to keep them away from the heating element at the bottom of the tub. When the dry cycle is not used, they can usually be dishwasher washed if they are heavy enough to withstand the washing action without moving around in the tub.)
  • Silver (May corrode.)
  • Wooden items (Will lose their finish, dry out, crack and warp.)

How do I load the dishwasher?

The best approach is to check the manual that came with your machine. To get you started, here are some general guidelines:

  • Place the dirtiest side of the item facing the source of the water spray.
  • Don’t let large items cover small items, like cups or upside-down flatware.
  • Avoid stacking items together. If they are too tight, water can’t get to them.
  • Place sharp items with points down (safety first!)
  • Make sure delicate items are firmly secured on the rack to avoid toppling.

What temperature should the water in my dishwasher be?

In a word: hot! In fact, most newer dishwashers heat the water right in the tub, using a “heat booster.” Does your dishwasher have one? Check your User’s Manual to find out! If not, run the hot water at the sink for a few minutes before starting the dishwasher, to make sure there is hot water filling the dishwasher.

What is hard water, and how can I tell if I have it?

Hard water contains dissolved mineral salts like calcium and magnesium. These minerals can interfere with a detergent’s ability to clean, which is why you may need to use more detergent if your water is hard. Hard water can also cause spotting or filming on your dishes. Since water hardness varies from town to town, the easiest way to know if you have it is to call your local water company, public utility service department or Cooperative Extension Service.

You probably have hard water if:

  • You suffer from “ring around the bathtub.”
  • Soaps and shampoos don’t lather easily.
  • There is white residue around your faucets and drains.
  • Washed fabrics feel stiff, not fluffy.

Common dishwashing problems, causes, and solutions

ProblemCausesSolutionsPreventive Measures
Spotting, filming or
poor cleaning results
Insufficient amount of detergentIncrease the amount of detergent, especially when washing full loads, or in hard water, or when using the “energy-saving” cycle or “air/no-heat” drying.Use sufficient amount of detergent
Hard waterUse additional detergent and/or a film and spot remover. Then, use a rinse agent in the rinse cycle. To remove heavy, cloudy, hard water film from dishware, use one of the following solutions:
A film and spot remover, according to the package directions, or
Follow the dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Manufacturers suggest different procedures such as using white vinegar or citric acid.
Caution: Remove flatware or other metal items from the dishwasher when using white vinegar or citric acid crystals.
Use sufficient amount of detergent and/or a rinse agent. In extremely hard water areas, installation of a water softener may be necessary.
Water temperature too lowIf your dishwasher does not have a heat booster, run the hot water at the kitchen sink for a few minutes before turning on the dishwasher. This will clear the line of cool water. Run dishwasher when other household demands for hot water (such as for laundry or bathing) are low.Same as solution
Improper loadingFollow dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions for proper loading procedures. Place dishes so water spray reaches all soiled surfaces. Do not overcrowd the bottom rack since this will block the water spray.Same as solution
Insufficient water fillWater pressure may be too low. Do not use water for any other purposes while dishwasher is in operation. Check service manual for water pressure recommendations or call appliance service company.Same as solution
Filter needs cleaningRemove any accumulated or deposited foods.If dishwasher has a filter, check and clean it periodically.
Oversudsing – Pre-washing with a liquid dishwashing detergent.Rinse items thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher to remove liquid dishwashing detergent.Use “rinse/hold” cycle on dishwasher, or rinse thoroughly. (Note: it should not be necessary to pre-wash dishes.)
Insufficient amount of detergent.Increase amount of detergent to inhibit suds caused by protein solid and washing action.Same
Small particles
of food or detergent
left on items
Water not reaching surfaces, dishwasher overcrowdedCheck to be sure water action is not blocked by dishes. Check filter for accumulated or deposited food or detergent.Load dishwasher correctly; Keep filter clean
Water temperature too lowIf your dishwasher does not have a heat booster, run the hot water at the kitchen sink for a few minutes before turning on the dishwasher. This will clear the line of cool water. Run dishwasher when other household demands for hot water (such as for laundry or bathing) are low.Same as solution
Insufficient water fillWater pressure may be too low. Do not use water for any other purposes when dishwasher in operation. Check service manual for water pressure recommendations or call appliance service company.Same as solution
Powder detergent stored too long or under adverse conditions.Use powder detergent within one to two months after purchase. Open one box at a time. Always close pouring spout after each use. Store in a cool, dry place.Same as solution
Rinse agent supply depletedIf dishwasher has a built-in rinse dispenser, add liquid rinse agent. If no rinse dispenser, add solid form.Same as solution.
Detergent cakes in dispenser cupIf using powder detergent, there may be dampness in the cup.Make sure cup is dry before adding powder detergent. Start dishwasher immediately.Same as solution
If using gel detergent, the detergent may be left in dispenser cup too long before using.Start dishwasher soon after adding gel detergent. Do not allow detergent to dry out in dispenser cup.Same as solution
Faulty coverDo not overfill. Cover should close tightly. Check cover for fit. It may need to be repaired or replaced.Same as solution
Improper loadingDo not place large items such as platters in front of cups.Same as solution
Old detergentUse detergent within one to two months of purchase.To assure freshness, buy detergent as needed and no more than one or two at a time. Store in a cool, dry place.
Dark spots on sterling or silverplate itemsContact of wet items with undissolved or highly concentrated detergent.Remove spots with silver polish. Rewash.Do not overload silverware basket. Avoid spilling or pouring detergent directly on flatware. Make sure dispenser cup is properly closed and close dishwasher door slowly. If possible, move silverware basket away from dispenser cups.
Pitting of stainless steel itemsProlonged contact with salty or highly acidic foodsRemove spots with silver polish. Rewash.Wash soon after use, or rinse items (use “rinse-hold” cycle) if they will not be washed right away.
Contact of wet items with undissolved or highly concentrated detergent.Same as aboveDo not overload silverware basket. Avoid spilling or pouring detergent directly on flatware. Make sure dispenser cup is properly closed and close dishwasher door slowly. If possible, move basket away from dispenser cups.
Contact between silver and stainless steel in the dishwasher.Same as abovePlace silverware and stainless steel flatware in silverware basket so they do not touch. Most silver knives have stainless steel blades; make sure knives are all placed with blades in the same direction.
Bronze tarnish on silverplateSilverplate is worn offA temporary solution is to soak the flatware in vinegar for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry. The permanent solution is to replate the silver.Replate the silver. Check manufacturer’s instructions on dishwashability of the silverplate.
Discolouration of aluminumExposure to certain minerals and alkalis in some foods and water plus high drying temperature.Boil a solution of 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar to 1 quart (.95 L) of water in the utensil for 5-10 minutes. Then lightly scour with a steel wool soap pad. Clean with a metal cleaning product recommended for aluminum. Follow package directions. Cooking an acid food such as tomatoes will also remove the stains and will not affect the food.If water is causing the discolouration, do not use dry cycle or remove aluminumware after the final rinse. Check manufacturer’s instructions on the dishwashability of the aluminumware.
Black or grey marks on dishesAluminum utensils rubbing against dishesRemove marks with a plastic scouring pad and a mild cleanser.Be sure dishes and aluminum utensils do not rub against each other in the dishwasher. This is particularly important with lightweight foil containers.
Chipping and breakage of dishes/glassesImproper loadingIrreversible conditionLoad with care following the dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions. Place glassware so it does not touch the other dishes. Remove from dishwasher carefully.
Distortion of plasticsPlastics vary in their tolerance to heat.Irreversible conditionAlways check the washing instructions for plastic items to make sure they are dishwasher safe. Load plastics in top rack and away from heating element located in the bottom of dishwasher. Handwash extremely heat-sensitive plastic items.
Dishes not dryImproper loadingLoad so that all items are properly tilted for good drainage. Avoid nesting of dishes and/or silverware.Same as solution
Rinse agent supply depletedIf dishwasher has a built-in rinse dispenser, add liquid rinse agent. If no rinse dispenser, add solid form.Same as solution
Use of “air/no-heat” drying optionUse of a rinse agent will aid in drying.Same as solution
Damage to delicate and miscellaneous items such as coloured anodized aluminum, pewter, cast iron, antique or hand-painted china, woodSome items are not dishwasher safe.Irreversible conditionDo not put these items in the dishwasher unless recommended by the manufacturer. Check instruction booklet first.
Yellow or brown stains on dishes and/or dishwasher interiorIron or manganese content in water supplyAfter food soil is removed, wash dishes with citric acid crystals. Check dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions for amount to use and method. Do not add detergent. A liquid product is available to remove iron deposits from the dishwasher interior; follow the package instructions. To retard staining, use maximum amount of dishwasher detergent to keep iron or manganese in suspension during the wash. Use a rinse additive during the rinse.If staining cannot be controlled, the only solution is in the installation of iron removal equipment in the home water supply.
Iridescence/coating or film/etching of glasswareA water or chemical reaction with some glassware. Usually caused by some combination of soft or softened water and alkaline washing solutions reacting with the glassware. Can be accelerated by poor rinsing, overloading and excessive temperature.Irreversible conditionThe condition may not always be preventable. To minimize the possibility of etching, use the minimum amount of detergent, but not less than 1 tablespoon (15 ml). Put less dishes in the dishwasher for thorough rinsing and draining, and dry without heat. Use a detergent formulated for naturally soft water. Use of a rinse agent may also help
Odour in dishwasherDishes washed only every two or three daysUse the “rinse/hold” cycle at least once a day until a load accumulates, or hand rinse dishes before loading dishwasher. Add approximately 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of baking soda to bottom of dishwasher to absorb odours.Same as solution
A dirty filter may contribute to a bad odour.Clean filter according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add approximately 3 tablespoons of baking soda to bottom of dishwasher to absorb odours.Same as solution

Safety, energy, and disposal

Be Smart! Be Safe . . .
It’s a cinch to use your automatic dishwashing detergent safely! Here’s how:

  • Like all household cleaning products, store automatic dishwashing detergent out of the reach of small children and pets.
  • Don’t fill the dispenser cups until you’re ready to run the dishwasher. Otherwise, curious children or pets may get into them.
  • Don’t mix dishwashing detergent with other cleaning products, as irritating fumes could result.
  • Keep detergent in original container with the label intact, and never reuse the container.
  • Avoid direct contact between gel detergent and skin or clothes.

Product and Package Disposal
You’ve done it all right, now be sure to properly dispose of any leftover product and the empty container. Here’s how:

1. Use the product up.

  • If you can’t, give it to someone who can. Be sure the label is intact!

2. If you have to dispose of an unused product:

  • Read and follow label directions for disposal.
  • Pour powder, liquid and gel detergents, or rinse agents down the drain with plenty of running water.
  • Put tablets and solid rinse agents in the trash.
  • Do not mix products when disposing.
  • Do not reuse containers for any other purpose.

3. Recycle empty containers in a covered recycling bin.

Energy Saving Tips
The number one energy tip is to do it right the first time to prevent re-washing! For energy efficiency, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load. In between loads, use the “rinse-hold” cycle or hand rinse dirty dishes before loading them.
  • Don’t overload the dishwasher.
  • Dishes aren’t too dirty? Use a cycle requiring less water.
  • Use the recommended amount of detergent.
  • Skip the drying cycle whenever possible. It can save about 15% on your total operating cost. If your machine doesn’t have an “energy saving” or “air/no heat” cycle, move the dial to the “off” position after the final rinse. Use a rinse agent to help promote drying!
  • Clean the filter regularly according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • If necessary, insulate water heater and delivery pipes to avoid heat loss between the hot water supply and the dishwasher.