16 February 2015

Dishwasher Stuff

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my dishwasher. I view my dishwasher as the one essential I can’t do without in the kitchen. I can’t stand a dirty, cluttered sink and I really hate washing dishes, so the dishwasher is a genuine need.

Now, I've had this same machine for over 10 years and it’s still going strong, doing wonderful things to dirty plates, glasses and cutlery and pots and pans and definitely saving me money, time and energy. Oh, it was cheap too – we only paid $400 for our dishwasher, it’s by no means a whiz bang fantastic machine. It is exactly what I want: a dishwasher I can put dirty dishes into and pull clean dishes out a short time later. Bliss!

There are a few tricks you can use to keep your dishwasher doing a top job, ensuring your dishes and glassware are properly washed and dried (no rough bits or spots!). And they are simple, easy and inexpensive, too.

1. Connect your dishwasher to the cold water. There are a couple of advantages to this: you’ll use less energy and the cold connection actually improves the wash performance of the machine. This is because with the cold connection, the water in the cabinet has to be heated and while this is happening, the dirty dishes are actually soaking. This softens food particles, especially those such as egg, which would “cook on” if they were rinsed with hot water immediately. Of course, if you are after speed, hook the machine to the hot water and the washing time is reduced.

2. Dishwashing detergent: It’s a personal choice, but I haven’t had a problem with the Homebrand Automatic Dishwasher detergent. I've also used ALDI dishwasher detergent (which has been discontinued) and of course Finish with great results. Your water will determine how much detergent you need to use. For soft water areas, 10 - 20 grams of detergent will do the job, in hard water areas, double it. I use two teaspoons of dishwasher powder for a normal load. If the pot or plates are particularly greasy, burnt or sticky then I use three teaspoons of powder. And yes I measure it out. The container of powder has a teaspoon in it just for this purpose.

TIP: Don‘t ever be tempted to use your ordinary hand-washing detergent it will cause way too much suds, giving an unsatisfactory wash and could even harm the machine.

3. Detergent substitutes: Use 1 tablespoon of bicarb soda with 1 tablespoon of borax. If you will be using this mixture on a regular basis, add vinegar to the rinse cycle every few loads.

TIP: Stretch your regular detergent by mixing it with the bi-carb/borax mixture.

4. Don’t rinse. Scrape off the chunks of food, but never pre-rinse items for the dishwasher. Automatic dishwasher detergent is highly alkaline and needs the acidity of the food to reach optimum cleaning action. Besides, rinsing wastes time, energy and water.

5. Stack it properly: Follow the instructions in the manual for loading the dishwasher. Make sure that dishes and cutlery allow the spray arms move freely. With cutlery, stack some up, some down in the basket.

TIP: For safety s sake, make sure pointy knives are point down in the basket.

6. Rinse aid: A rinse aid improves the sheeting action of water and leaves dishes sparkling clear, but it can be pricey. There are a number of generic rinse aids available, and they seem to do a reasonable job.

TIP: White vinegar is a reasonable substitute. Fill your rinse aid dispenser with straight white vinegar. Occasionally toss a cup of white vinegar to the last rinse to keep everything looking good!

7. Save water: It takes less than half the amount of water to run your dishwasher that it does to wash them by hand. So, give yourself a break and save water and money, too and let your dishwasher do the job for you!

1 comment:

  1. our current DW does not have a basket in which we can reverse the cutlery - all the handles go in the basket. It is annoying but until we need a new one . . .


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