7 tips to get the most out of your dishwasher

A dishwasher saves you a ton of time and energy on cleaning dishes, but the energy costs can add up. Which is why we've put together our top seven tips for getting the most out of your dishwasher, without having to do more yourself.

1. Don't install your dishwasher next to your refrigerator

Dishwashers produce a lot of heat in order to kill all of the bacteria on your dishes and silverware. This is a good thing, but if your dishwasher is next to your fridge, the heat is probably transferring. Any extra heat near your fridge means that it has to work harder to keep cool. Keep the two separate to keep your costs down and help food last longer.

2. Turn off heated dry

The heated dry function can be convenient — if everything is completely dry when the cycle is over. But, if you find you often have to dry items by hand before putting them away, then consider turning off the heat and saving the energy cost. (You can always leave the dishwasher open and/or pull out the racks to let everything air dry.)

3. Fill your dishwasher completely

Your dishwasher uses a fixed amount of water and energy to do each load, regardless of the number of dishes inside. If you're only filling it up halfway before you turn it on, that means you're using twice as much energy.

4. Don't bother pre-rinsing

According to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a newer dishwasher can clean even the dirtiest dishes as long as you clear off food and empty out cups. At this point, pre-rinsing just uses up more time and water than is necessary.

5. Check the food trap after each load

Inside the dishwasher is a filter that catches food and keeps it from getting back on your dishes. After each load, just empty it out to keep it from getting too full.

6. Check the spray arms regularly

Food can also get trapped within the nozzles on the spray arms, especially the bottom one. Periodically check and remove food to help make sure that water is being distributed evenly.

7. Get the hot water flowing

A dishwasher will continue to fill until the water inside is hot enough to kill bacteria. The problem is that – just like in your sink or shower – water comes out cold for the first few seconds. Once the cold water is in the dishwasher, it takes more water to heat everything up than if hot water just came out in the first place. Luckily, your dishwasher probably uses the same water pipes that the nearest sink does. Turn on your sink’s hot water tap until the water coming out feels hot – just a few seconds – then turn on your dishwasher.

Use these simple tricks help your dishwasher work harder and last longer. And, to be prepared when things eventually break down, consider a Cinch home protection plan to help reduce the cost of major repairs.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.

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