A faulty dishwasher can be a real cause of concern in your kitchen. One of the common issues that can affect a dishwasher is failure to properly clean the dishes. This can result in plates, pots, and cups that come out of the cleaning chamber filled with grime. If you are experiencing this problem, you may be able to troubleshoot and solve it yourself so as to restore a normal operation of your appliance. Here are some dishwasher parts that could be causing the issue and what you can do to fix them.
Faulty spray arm
Your dishwasher could be failing to clean properly due to low pressure in the spray arm. To fix this, inspect the spray arm for holes plugged by food debris or grime and unclog them using a sharp object such as a screwdriver. If water pressure doesn't improve, you may have to replace the upper discharge housing gasket, which is usually located on top of the discharge cover, just above the circulation impeller.
Jamming too many dishes in your appliance could also obstruct the free movement of the spray arm, resulting in dirty dishes. Be sure to prevent overloading the washer to restore the normal flexibility and functionality of the arm. You should also inspect the spray arm mounting bracket and service it if it appears cracked or loose.
If your dishwasher has a faulty middle spray arm, the likely culprit is obstructing debris in the docking station at the rear end of the appliance. The docking station typically houses flappers that open to feed water to the middle spray arm. Remove any obstructing debris to ensure the flappers open freely when this spray arm is selected.
Clogged drain or water inlet valve
Another likely culprit for a dishwasher that cleans poorly is a clogged dishwasher drain. This prevents dirty water from draining away, which results in the grimy water being reused in the tub. A simple fix for this issue is to remove food debris and grime from the draining pump to allow for the free flow of used water. You should also inspect the appliance for faulty choppers that won't properly break down food particles on dishes and have them replaced.
If your dishwasher won't clean dishes due to little or no water supply to the tub, then you could be dealing with a plugged water inlet valve. Locate the valve behind the lower access panel at the back of the appliance and remove any debris blocking it. You should also test the valve with a multi-meter to confirm that it gets power during the fill portion of the cleaning cycle.
For professional help with diagnosing what's wrong with your dishwasher, contact a local plumber.