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Dishwasher don'ts

Dishwasher don'ts
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Not cleaning or overcleaning dishes before loading them

Not cleaning or overcleaning dishes before loading them
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Don’t fall for ads which show dishwashers cleaning practically full meals off of dinner plates. Doug Rogers, past president of Mr. Appliance, says food particles remaining on plates can gum up the moving parts of the appliance and get cut in the crevices. Rinsing can help prevent this and keep your machine running smoother for longer. However, cleaning your plates entirely is one way you’re loading your dishwasher incorrectly. Leaving some residue on them is necessary in order for the detergent to work properly, says Shirley Hood, an appliance expert and sales representative with Abt Electronics.

Abusing the door

Abusing the door
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Don’t let your pets or children sit on the door to the dishwasher. It may sound obvious, but it’s something Hood, with over 20 years experience, sees often, along with damage from people tripping over the doors of their dishwashers. Plus, it’s so fun to play with the door at the end of the cycle and watch the steam come billowing out!

Here are 12 more ways you’re shortening the life of your home appliances. 

Using too much detergent

Using too much detergent
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Hood says overloading on detergent – one of the most common dishwashing mistakes – can cause residue build-up in the wash and rain pumps. Use pre-measured detergent packs or balls to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

Running small loads

Running small loads
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Always be sure your dishwasher is full, Rogers recommends. Not only will it save you on water and electric, but it’ll mean fewer uses and a longer life for the appliance. A rare instance in which it might be better to hand wash instead!

Forgetting to replace the hose

Forgetting to replace the hose
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Change inlet/outlet hoses every five years to avoid calcium build-up, Mark McCleary, vice president of marketing for Beko and Bloomberg told Consumer Reports. You can change the hoses on your own or call a technician if you’re uncertain.

Here are more things most homeowners aren’t doing – but need to. 

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Using hard water

Using hard water
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The quality of your water may not be on your side depending on where you live, but hard water causes dishes to break and builds up mineral layers on the inside of your dishwasher and its pipes, according to Smith. Luckily, she says, there’s a number of ways to soften water whether it’s detergent with water softeners, water filters, water softening units, or conditioners. “They have the same goal, namely, to improve the overall appliance efficiency, avoid damaged components and extend the dishwasher lifecycle,” Smith says.

Avoiding regular inspections

Avoiding regular inspections
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If there’s something wrong with your dishwasher, don’t hesitate to call a professional, advises Stephany Smith, part of the handyman crew at My Handyman Services. “It’s important for an experienced repairman to check for loose, damaged valves, tub or door troubles that may further result in drips, leaks and even worse, in substantial water damages,” Smith says. “Professional help will keep the mechanics operate efficiently and save you from major repairs and replacement costs in the long run.”

Here are some surprising items you can put in the dishwasher.

Putting sharp objects in the racks

Putting sharp objects in the racks
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Leave the knives in the silverware rack. Sharp edges will scrape off the plastic covering the metal of the racks, Rogers says. Without that plastic protection, the metal of the racks will begin to rust and break down the machine.

Leaving broken glass in the bottom

Leaving broken glass in the bottom
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It happens: things break in the dishwasher. But Hood says people often don’t realise there’s glass in the appliance. “Depending on the size, glass chards can get past the dishwasher filter and make its way into the drain pump where it can cause real damage,” she says.

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