HA! There is much more to it to achieve the gleaming dishes we all want to see come out of our dishwashers.
I had no idea about the science behind detergents, or the best techniques of loading and caring for our dishwasher. So let me share some of the things I've learned, and hopefully we will all have better, cleaner results from our favourite kitchen machines (okay, my favourite kitchen machine, at least... I hate washing dishes by hand!).
Did you know that there are two types of cleaners that can be in detergents? Enzymes take care of proteins and starches, and bleach gets the rest. Enzymes work at a lower temperature than bleach, and start the cleaning process - as the water temperature rises, bleach kicks in. The bleach kills the enzymes. For this reason, a gel detergent can only contain one or the other. So a separated detergent tablet like Finish Quantum seems the ideal way to go. The wall inside the tab keeps the bleach from killing off the enzymes - hence, more cleaning power!
Then there's that ball of rinse agent in the Finish Quantum tabs. This helps prevent soft water etching (damage on glasses, for instance) or hard water film and calcium buildup on your dishes and in your dishwasher.
Another thing I learned (which should be common sense, but for some reason this was an eye-opener for me) - under the kitchen sink is one of the dampest places in the house. So keeping your dishwasher detergent in there is not the wisest plan! Have you ever had a box of powder detergent go hard? That's the moisture activating the cleaner. Once it's hardened, it will not have the same cleaning power anymore.
And my technique of loading every last thing I can jam into my dishwasher before running it probably isn't doing me any favours. I often have put small bowls under big ones, thinking the water will wash up and over the little ones. Not so. Nesting like that can trap particles and prevent water from reaching the upper dish. So for the best results I should be taking care that each dish has its own space. It may mean more frequent loads as a result (our current Bosch dishwasher has a small load capacity), but better results. Huh!
So I'm trying this new approach on loading the dishwasher and I have to admit, I am running it a bit more often, but doing a lot less post-dishwasher hand-washing. And why have a dishwasher if you have to hand-wash what comes out of it?!
Here are my top takeaways from the webinar. I hope you find this helpful!
My Top 5 Tips for Great Dishwasher Results:
- Use hot water. If your kitchen is far from your hot water heater, or your heater is set too low (it should be at 120 degrees, and no hotter than 125 to prevent scalding), you may not be getting the ideal temperature for your dishwasher's peak performance.
- Load with care. Make sure cutlery and dishes are not nesting or pressed up against each other. Give the water and detergent room to do their job!
- Use detergent that contains everything you need. You want enzymes, bleach, and a rinse agent to get the cleanest dishes (Finish Quantum contains all three - and does not contain phosphates).
- Check and clean your dishwasher once in a while. Check the holes in the spray arms for build-up, and check the water outflow drains for food or buildup as well. Water should be able to enter and exit the dishwasher freely. Running a cleaning agent like Finish Dishwasher Cleaner once in a while will keep your dishwasher running smoothly and odour-free!
- Keep your detergent away from moisture! In my experience the powder in boxes always goes hard before I finish the box. That's wasted money and useless detergent. And despite the smaller boxes, tabs are more concentrated and keep longer as they are sealed - and generally do the same number of loads as a big box of powder detergent!
Disclosure: I am part of the Finish Blogger Program by Mom Central. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.