Apart from saving manual time washing dishes, dishwashers are more hygienic and produce cleaner finishes as they work at high temperatures.
It always pays to scrape off as much surface food residue as possible. The largest and dirtiest items should be put on the lower rack with the smaller, less dirty items on the top rack, including glasses and cups. Any cast iron or wooden handled items need to be washed by hand.
• Glassware – ordinary glassware or Pyrex items can be included. Lead crystal glasses should not be put in unless they carry a “dishwasher safe” label.
• Tableware – everyday crockery is fine to include but do not put antique or hand painted items in a dishwasher.
• Cutlery – stainless steel and silver cutlery are usually fine for the dishwasher. It is wise to rinse off any acidic food residue. Bone or wooden handled items should be washed by hand.
• Plastics – they should carry a note that they are dishwasher suitable. Do not place in the lower rack as they may be affected by the heating element during the drying process.
• Pans – stainless steel are ideal for the dishwasher but aluminium pans may discolour during the rinsing process.
A monthly clean will be sufficient to remove any lime or grease deposits that can build up. Special dishwasher cleaners and fresheners can also be used in an empty machine. Never use ordinary washing up liquid in a dishwasher. There are plenty of dishwasher detergents available in tablet, powder, gel or liquid forms.
All dishwashers have a water softener as soft water helps the detergent work more effectively and hard water can lead to lime scale deposits affecting the machine. The water softener reservoir needs to be topped up with salt. This should be granular salt. ‘Three-in-one’ tablets and ‘salt action’ tablets are not sufficient and ordinary table salt or rock salt will not do the job. Ensure no salt is left on the floor of the dishwasher as this can lead to erosion and pin-hole type leaks.