Dishwashers are supposed to make life easier, but sometimes they can make things more complicated if you don't use them correctly.
Angie's List says the first tip in getting the most out of your dishwasher is to check your detergent, especially if you have hard water.
"If you have hard water, the only thing you should be using is a powder," says Chris Sublett, appliance repairman. "A lot of people like to use the tablets or the little packets, and actually that is too much soap."
Another tip: Know when you need to pre-rinse.
"You should remove any food particles that are the size of a nickel," says Sublett. "Other than that, you can stick dishes right in the dishwasher. They really don't need to be pre-rinsed as long as your dishwasher is working well."
Make sure you're loading your dishes the right way.
"If your dishwasher is one with one spray arm, you should only stack vertical dishes on bottom rack. No bowls, glasses on the bottom rack - leave those for the top rack. That way the water is spraying around and the bottom spray arm can reach the dishes up top," says Sublett. "Now if you have a dishwasher that has two spray arms, you can pretty much put them in there however you like."
Angie's List says dishwashers can last up to 13 years. If your dishwasher is seven years-or-older, and fixing it will cost more than half the cost of a new one, it's probably time head to the appliance store.
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