Without good dishwasher tablets, your dishes will leave the dishwasher, only partly cleaned. Sure, the hot water and spinning jet nozzles will go some ways to remove hardened foods and sauces, but the real cleaning power comes from the tabs.
Dishwasher tablets contain safe detergents and enzymes that break down grease, proteins, and starch from soiled cookware, cutlery, plates, and bowls. They help dissolve dirt, soften water, and leave your dishes smelling fresh.
But lately, at the end of a wash cycle, you’ve noticed that your dishwasher tablets won’t dissolve, or they’re partially dissolved. There’s a few things at play here that could be causing this problem, we’ll go through them together.
Dishwasher Tab Troubleshooting
If the tabs are not dissolving over successive cycles, go through the checklist set out below. Tabs failing to dissolve is rarely a serious issue that requires technicians. At worst, it could be a defective heating element, but generally, it could be as simple as a loading, program, or water pressure issue that’s easily resolved.
Checklist When Tabs Don’t Dissolve:
- 1. Cause: Is the dishwasher on very low temperature, such as eco program?
- Solution: Try running at higher temperature, as this helps tabs dissolve.
- 2. Cause: Are the spray arms spinning freely?
- Solution: An overloaded dishwasher, or protruding objects can jam the arms.
- 3. Cause: Are the wash arm spray nozzles blocked?
- Solution: Check and clean spray arms.
- 4. Cause: Is the heating element defective?
- Solution: interrupt the program mid cycle to check water temperature.
- 5. Cause: Low water pressure
- Solution: Check inlet water hose for leaks, kinks, twists, or blockage, and mains pressure.
These five steps above should help you get to the bottom of the issue.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, the water pressure in your home has dropped. This could be an issue with the main supply into your home, or the way your plumbing works. For example, if the shower and washing machine are running, the the dishwasher, it could be that the dishwasher pressure is the lowest of all other things that are using water in the home.
Further, there could be a leak in the hose that feeds the dishwasher with water, a kink, twist or crushed hose will also cause a drop in pressure, so start by assessing the hose for anything that could restrict water flow.
Check Spray Arms
The spray arms in your dishwasher are not motorised, instead, they move against water pressure. Again, of the pressure is low, these arms won’t move much. But more common is something blocking them from spinning – a pot handle, spoon, or anything in the way of the arms will stop them spinning and water won’t get to the dishwasher tab effectively.
For lightly soiled dishes, the dishwasher manufacturer recommends the eco or gentle cycle at a lower temperature. If a tab does not dissolve, this may be due to cold water, as tabs require some heat to help dissolve their outer wrapper.
Many hard compressed tabs are not suitable for use in low temperature rinses.
Older dishwashers can develop a calcified heating element that prevents the dishwasher from reaching the appropriate temperature. To fix, you may need technical support to descale this element properly.
In addition to eco and economy programs, special short programs are a challenge for every dishwasher tab. Because not only the colder temperature, but also the shorter flushing time can prevent dissolution.
If the heating element is whole, the tab usually dissolves without any problems in a hotter program. Otherwise, the dishwasher is defective and it is not due to the tablet, so that the problem cannot be easily rectified and solved without a craftsman.
Do Cheap Dishwasher Tablets Dissolve Properly?
Some branded tans can be quite expensive, so it’s tempting to try the cheaper options. however, the make and cost of the tab should not affect their ability to dissolve. Because inexpensive tabs are also perfectly suitable for the dishwasher and ensure clean glasses, plates, cups and cutlery. If there is still any doubt, testing is the first act.
Of course, you can play around and try different tabs, but it’s unlikely that tab brand to be at fault.
A overloaded dishwasher can lead to problem, as the spray arms can be blocked and water doesn’t cover all the dishes. This is common with slimline dishwashers as their internal capacity is smaller and it’s tempting to squeeze in as much as you can. Don’t do this, split your wash load into two smaller cycles.
But the cleanliness of the tab compartment can also be a possible cause. Alternatively, it is advisable to stow the tab directly in the cutlery tray and ignore the compartment in the dishwasher that is intended for it. Cleaning it often helps if the compartment is soiled with tablet residues or limescale and no water can penetrate.
The fact is: tabs that do not dissolve only rarely have anything to do with poor quality and the desired savings when buying. Much more often, the problem is “homemade” and is based on the insufficient intervals between cleaning the dishwasher, the lack of decalcifying agent or simply too high a load.
If a tab does not dissolve, it does not have to be primarily due to the dishwasher. It’s more down to users error, or inexperience.
Too low a wash temperature, too full a load or incorrectly positioning the tablet are the most common causes of dirty dishes after a wash cycle. With a test to the example, the reorientation to a new program and the placement of the tab in the cutlery basket, the problem is usually solved and the dishwasher cleans again.
Calcification of the nozzles on the spray arms can also be a possible cause. This can easily be determined by using the flashlight to search for visible traces of limescale.
Tip: The dishwasher should be descaled at least once a week. This measure proves to be extremely helpful, especially in regions with very calcareous water. This prevents the nozzles from being blocked and the heating rod no longer being heated sufficiently.
Even if eco and economy rinses save money, they are at the expense of the dishwasher and lead to defects in the long run. Better: rinse with hot water and thus increase the longevity of the device.