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Dishwasher not cleaning properly? Here's how to fix it!

Find out how to deal with a dishwasher not cleaning glasses or dishes well. We’ll help you fix it!


dishwasher with dishes

Using a machine instead of handwashing your dishes is such a time saver, but what do you do if you’ve got issues with your dishwasher not cleaning on the top rack or bottom rack, or both? In this guide we’ll show you quick fixes for common dishwasher problems like these.

Whether you’ve got an old or new dishwasher not cleaning properly, take all the removable inner parts out for inspection – spinning arms, filters and racks. Checking for blockages and cleaning the component parts will deal with most issues and make your dishwasher problems a thing of the past.

Dishwasher not cleaning dishes on the top or bottom rack? What you can do

If dishes and glasses are coming out of the dishwasher still mucky, there’s usually a quick fix. The spray arms are often the cause of the problem, and that might explain why different parts of your machine don’t appear to be working properly:

  • Dishwasher not cleaning on the top rack? Whether it’s a much-loved or brand-new dishwasher not cleaning properly, the cause can be as simple as a blockage. Make sure there’s nothing covering the upper spray arm. If there is something getting in the way then clear it thoroughly.

  • Dishwasher not cleaning bottom rack? In exactly the same way as you checked the upper spray arm, do so with the bottom arm if the lower rack is not getting clean. Double check that nothing is stuck and that the arms can spin freely.

How to clean your dishwasher

In addition to the spray arms, sometimes it can be the overall cleanliness of the dishwasher that affects its function. Clean the following and check to see if the problem persists:

  1. Start by removing the trays and filters.

  2. Give the racks a good wipe down – sometimes debris can cause dirt to cling to dishes and glasses.

  3. Check the filter – it's where gunk gathers so give it a thorough clean before wiping down all sides of the dishwasher.

  4. Re-connect everything and then run the dishwasher on a full cycle.

Is your dishwasher not cleaning glasses?

Sometimes glasses come out of the dishwasher all streaky. Whilst any or all of the above fixes could sort the situation, a lack of rinse aid is a common issue too. Make sure you always keep your dishwasher topped up, and your glasses with soon come out at their sparkling best.

Dishwasher problems: know when to call in the pros

If your dishwasher is not working even after the above steps, it’s best to contact the manufacturer or a dishwasher repairer. They can have an expert look at the mechanics and inspect the electrics too. Don’t attempt to do this yourself – not only could it be dangerous, but it could void your warranty.

And there you have it: our top tips to deal with easy-to-fix problems on your dishwasher. Give them a try and hopefully your dishwasher will be back to its best in no time. If not, don’t be shy about contacting professionals and seeking help to understand why your dishwasher is not cleaning properly.

Key steps

Dishwasher not cleaning right? Remember to try these steps:

  • Check, clean and clear spinning arms for the top and bottom racks. 

  • Remove arms, filter and racks to clean the whole appliance. 

  • Remove debris and scrub surfaces. 

  • Check rinse aid levels. Call out the pros when all else fails.