The automatic dishwasher was invented in 1850-51, years before the invention of the first clothes washer, and 57 years before the first electric clothes washer made its appearance. Yet nearly 140 years later, a dishwasher is far less common than is a clothes washer.
A part of the reason that dishwashers have never quite gained the popularity of other appliances is that so many people have the attitude that an automatic dishwasher is an unnecessary convenience. There are some distinct advantages to having a dishwasher, however. Not only will the appliance clean your dishes more efficiently, it will at least partially sterilize them. The temperature of the water in the dishwasher is below the boiling point, but is sufficiently high (between 150 and 160F) and is in contact with the dishes long enough to kill the majority of the ,germs.
HOW IT WORKS
Proper loading of the dishwasher is critical to efficient operation. For example, if you load the bottom with a lot of pans and your dishwasher has only a lower spray arm, the dishes above may not be thoroughly washed. Worse, if a table knife slips down through the rack and blocks the motion of the spray arm, not only will the dishes be left unclean, you are likely to damage the dishwasher.
The soap dispenser holds a predetermined amount of dishwasher detergent. Never use regular dishwashing liquid in the unit. Dishwasher detergent is more alkaline than is regular soap, which helps it to remove food and grease. The detergent is also low sudsing to prevent clogging the dishwasher and to make rinsing easier. Some brands also contain a wetting agent to allow the water to flow off the dishes easier, thus preventing spotting.
Most dishwashers have a separate container for a rinsing agent for use with overly hard water. The receptacle for this second solution works much like the detergent dispenser. In many cases, a special concentrate is used, and the dispenser releases the proper amount in the final rinse cycle. The dispenser often holds enough of the concentrate to last for several months. The correct temperature for efficient washing is somewhere around 150 F, with 160 F usually considered to be the upper maximum and 140F the minimum. (Some manufacturers list 150 F or 140 F as the maximum and 120 F as the minimum. It is known that the harsh dishwasher detergent at water temperatures of 150 F or higher can etch glassware.) The water fills the bottom of the dishwasher tub.
During the wash cycle it is kept hot by a heater element. Some units also have a built-in
preheater to bring the water up to temperature, regardless of how hot the supply water is and to make up for loss in temperature in the pipes between the water heater and the dishwasher.
All of the above tips are for informational purposes only. For your safety, we strongly encourage any dishwasher repairs to be performed only by a certified technician.