Property Line

Myth: Dishwashers wash themselves

The hustle and bustle of everyday life will often get in the way and be a distraction for the preventative maintenance of our household appliances.

When an appliance stops working properly (or stops working altogether), it is often when the cleaning and care of our appliances occurs. A great example of this is with our dishwashers. The dishwasher is one of our more often used appliances, saving us a lot of time, and making dish washing a less tedious process.


Upkeep of a dishwasher seems counterintuitive to homeowners. Many are mistakenly under the impression that a dishwasher is self-cleaning. The truth is that because of the frequency of its use, the importance is even greater that basic maintenance of this household workhorse should be performed regularly.

Neglecting to complete preventative maintenance on our dishwashers can lead to costly repairs later. Below are some basic maintenance tips that can help to keep your dishwasher performing well.


1. The more dishes wedged into the dish racks, the more detergent you need, right? Wrong. When it comes to detergent, using less than you think will more-often-than-not get you better results than if you use extra. When we use too much detergent it might not dissolve well, leaving the water grainy. This will make the detergent more likely to leave a residue on the dishes. Grainy water can also mean that the drain to the dishwasher can get clogged easier. Another issue with using too much detergent is that even if it should dissolve completely, it can produce too many suds, which can also lead to residue, or can cause the suds and water to leak out the sides of the appliance.

2. The spray arm in the dishwasher streams hot water directly to the dishes to give them a thorough cleaning. Periodically clean off the spray arm to remove bits of paper or food that can clog the holes and reduce the efficiency of the spray.

3. Refer to your user’s manual to learn how to remove and/or change your dishwasher’s filter and take a couple of minutes or so every month and clean it out. Not cleaning your dishwasher’s filter can lead to debris building up and can cause odors.

4. Check the utensil basket often to make sure items can’t fall between the slots or any broken bottoms in the basket. If knives or forks, or handles can fall through, it may damage the spray arm as it cycles by.

Melissa Rolland is a Real Estate Salesperson and Realtor®, Accredited Home Stager, and author of the book “Straight from the Kitchen Table: Every Day Real Estate.” She lives in Tolland along with her husband Todd, an Associate Broker and Realtor®. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group powered by eXp Realty of CT, LLC. You can connect with them at, by email at or by phone at 866-408-8059. “The statements and opinions contained in this article are solely those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the positions or opinions of EXP REALTY INTERNATIONAL, INC or its subsidiaries or affiliates (the “Company”). The Company does not assume any responsibility for, nor does it warrant the accuracy, completeness or quality of the information.