The dishwasher no longer cleans properly – Causes & Solutions

Most modern households have a dishwasher. Cleaning dishes, glasses and cooking pots is hardly imaginable without this practical household appliance. Especially families with children benefit from it. Many a housewife can no longer imagine everyday life without a dishwasher under £300. All the greater is the annoyance when the dishwasher announces the end of the cleaning time, but the dishes are still dirty.

The glasses have streaks, food residue sticks to the plates, that’s annoying. A new wash cycle is required, which costs time and energy. If this also brings no real success and the dishes are simply no longer properly clean, it is time to look for clues. Often the costs for a professional can be avoided if you do a little work yourself. Most of the time it’s a small thing and the dishwasher can quickly work properly again. Our tips are designed to help you get your dishwasher working properly again.

Dishwasher no longer cleans properly, dishes do not get clean

As a rule, you can usually solve the causes of this problem yourself. If the dishes in the dishwasher do not get clean properly anymore, then the following causes can be possible:

Possible cause #1: Dishwasher is dirty

The most common reason for dirty dishes after washing is the machine itself. Over time, dirt builds up inside. If this is the case, it can also no longer clean the dishes properly. Food residues & Co are always stirred up and settle on the dishes. How to clean the dishwasher properly, we have summarized in a separate article.

Special machine cleaners are also available in stores that you can use at regular intervals, or alternatively home remedies such as citric acid or baking soda. They ensure a clean dishwasher, but you should proceed exactly according to the instructions for use.

Also, make sure that the dishes you put in the dishwasher under £500 are not too much stubborn food residues. If you pay attention to this, you’ll ensure that the machine doesn’t get dirty in the first place. Pre-rinsing by hand, on the other hand, is not necessary and is even not recommended.Dishwasher is dirty

Possible cause #2: Not enough dishwasher salt

If your water is very hard and dishwasher salt is missing, the dishes will not clean properly. Most machines will indicate when this is the case. Add salt regularly, it is used for water descaling. “Hard” water becomes “soft” water, much less dirt residue remains on the dishes.Not enough dishwasher salt

Possible cause #3: Wrong dishwasher tabs

Another cause for not clean dishes can be the wrong dosage with dishwasher tabs. If you have calciferous water coming out of the tap, you need regeneration salt and rinse aid. Check that you are using the right tabs, don’t cut corners and go for high-quality products. If necessary, you can also add two tabs to the machine.Wrong dishwasher tabs

Possible cause #4: Spray arms are blocked

It can happen that the spray arms of the dishwasher under £400 are stuck. Especially if you’ve set up the machine so that the arms can’t turn freely due to high dishes or pots. Before starting, check to make sure the lower and upper arms have free range of motion. Simply turn the spray arms manually for a short time. Also check periodically on the extinguishers through which the water is sprayed are not clogged.Spray arms are blocked

Possible cause #5: Cleaning tank does not open

Sometimes the cleaning container does not open, the tab is not dispensed during the cleaning process and cannot dissolve. Therefore, also test before rinsing whether the flap can open or is possibly blocked.

Possible cause #6: Clogged drain filter

Another cause can be a clogged dirt filter. Check the dishwasher strainer above the drain, it is usually located in the center of the machine. A clogged filter will prevent the water from draining. This is constantly transported back through the pump into the rinse arms. From there it spreads again over the dishes, which of course then cannot get clean. The clogged drain strainer reduces the flow of water, and the dishwasher no longer cleans properly. Regular inspection of the drain strainer therefore prevents the dishwasher from becoming clogged.Clogged drain filter

Other similar problems

Tarnished glasses

Glassware or drinking glasses, in particular, quickly fail to get properly clean. They lose their shine through the rinsing processes and tarnish. Glass should not be cleaned too hot, it is best to choose two separate processes, one for the dishes and pots, a second for the glasses. If you want your glasses to keep their shine, wash them by hand.

Unpleasant odor

When the dishwasher stops cleaning properly, an unpleasant odor often forms as well. Germs and residues settle on seals and filters. You should clean these areas regularly with a special cleaning agent. If the odor persists, it may also be due to a kinked wastewater hose. Avoid long standing times of the dishwasher contents, rather start the machine once more or rinse small amounts by hand.


If you clean and maintain your dishwasher regularly and always put cups, plates and cutlery in the dishwasher properly, then you should normally have no problems with the cleaning performance of your machine. However, if the dishes do not clean properly, you should seek the advice of a professional. The cost of a corresponding repair should actually be within reasonable limits.

David Shaw

David Shaw

Dishwashers expert with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and shares his knowledge on many sites. Helps you choose the best (portable, countertop, built-in) dishwashers on this site.

Dishwashers Review in UK