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Thread: Help! My dishes are coming out dirtier than they go in!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4

    Question Help! My dishes are coming out dirtier than they go in!

    At first it as just the top rack - so I just stopped using the top rack. Now it is the bottom rack too sometimes. It's fine particles, almost like sand. This dishwasher is just 2 years old. I've switched to liquid cascade detergent and nothing has helped. Any ideas on what this could be? It is a quiet series 300 model #MDBH970AWW. I've tried the extra rinse, the pots and pan setting, & auto clean - but still the sand-like stuff!

    Any help would be appreciated,
    Brandy Marie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    S. Central PA
    Posts
    456

    Default

    your pump sump may need to be cleaned out....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    pennsylvania
    Posts
    563

    Default

    There are some revisions to some of the parts in this model. I forget what they all are at this time though. Is your water hard? Check your spray arms to see if holes are clogged as well. If your heating element is gray or grayish brown, you have hard water and may need to check the phosphorus content on the box. The higher the phosphorus, the more it will soften the water in your dishwasher, which results in better cleaning. 9% phos. is very high and good to soften the water to achieve better results. I prefer powder for my home. liquid must be shaken every time before use, as the clay stabilizer settles out of the detergent and becomes useless. Most importantly, turn your sink on hot and let it run before starting your washer. This purges the hot line of any cold water and greatly improves not only washing, but drying as well. That's the single best piece of advice you can get for improving performance. Make sure temp is above 120, preferably at 135-140 for best results. If your water is soft, do not use a high phosphorus detergent! It will oversoften, leading to oversudsing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy backflow into maytag dishwasher

    I don't want to be a defeatist, but your symptoms sound like my unfixable problem.

    Every load I wash in my Maytag dishwasher is specked with grit, particularly the top shelf but the others, as well. After several years and my second Maytag (how stupid am I?) I have tried everything suggested here, and much more. I have also had four plumbers work on it (elevating the loop to the height of the sink, cleaning the arms and hoses, replacing all the above, etc.) and have even replaced the dishwasher. I can't count how many times I have had the drains routed, all the way to the street. The grit is definitely from the sink/disposer (the tiny particles are identifiable as whatever has recently gone through the disposal), but no amount of water run through the sink drain gets rid of it. Waste several days old is still backwashing after several loads have washed and drained, maybe until it's all been returned.

    I had my under-sink re-plumbed so the sink and dishwasher have completely separate traps and lines to the wall, but the dishwasher just sucks back waste from wherever its line runs into the other, outside the exterior wall of the house! If I re-wash the dishes in the sink immediately, while they are still hot and wet, the waste is fairly easily removed. If it dries, however, it is like scrubbing bits of cement off the glassware and dishes.

    Over four years, and numerous expensive failed repairs, I have become hopeless. I see no point in replacing the machine any more, and the problem apparently cannot be fixed, at least by any of the plumbers I have hired.

    If you should happen to ever get this fixed, can you please let me know what worked?

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    pennsylvania
    Posts
    563

    Default

    what's your water hardness? Your filter flow plate may be clogged. If so, your machine won't work well. Water hardness is a critical piece of information I look for with washing complaints. Some units will not clean well if hardness is more than 12 grains. The specks and grit is soil that won't break down. I have a test kit I use to check hardness. You can have this done professionally for free in some cases. There are dishwasher agents you can add to help break all this junk down. I generally only see this complaint though with people who have nearly intolerable water hardness... ie..over 10 grains

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Thank you so much for your response. It is very lonely after these years of repair people doing their best, and then giving up on my problem, and any suggestions are more than welcome. This is not a matter of a few particles on a few dishes; this is large amounts of waste deposited on everything on the top rack, and lesser deposits on other dishes.

    I do have soft water. In any case, not cleaning the dishes is not my main problem with this machine--the problem is that it introduces new dirt onto them. Let me also note here that I replaced the first, almost new, Maytag with another, more expensive, Maytag because this problem could not be solved any other way, and I concluded the machine was at fault. The "new" machine does exactly as the other, so it isn't the individual machine, although it may well be a Maytag design flaw.

    I have contacted a Maytag online service site (and also inquired of all the repairmen) to ask whether there is supposed to be some kind of backflow control valve in the machine, which is either missing or malfunctioning. Apparently not, so far as I can learn.

    I have done every experiment I can, over the years, to identify the material that appears in my dishwasher and try to find out why. Among other results, I have learned that:

    Washing a load of completely clean dishes in a clean dishwasher has exactly the same result, particles stuck to them at the end of the wash. In this experiment, there is no waste at all in the dishwasher when it begins, but there is waste at the end.

    I have a very heavy-duty disposal (insinkerator 777 series), which grinds its contents into tiny particles. Through observation and experimentation, I have learned that those are the particles that are settled on the dishes. E.g., if I grind a lemon (or something else that retains its color or appearance after grinding), then that is on my dishes for the next two or three loads. On one recent occasion, I washed a garden trowel--with only a little soil stuck to it--in the sink, and the next three loads had backwashed garden soil in quantities that seemed as great as the total amount washed down the drain. (This was AFTER separate traps were installed.)

    This is why I have had my under-sink area re-plumbed, so that waste from the sink/disposal and the dishwasher go through separate traps and separate lines until they exit the house through the wall. You cannot imagine my feelings when I saw that the dishwasher was now sucking back the same identifiable waste, but from much farther away, where the lines join at the house wall and not from a common trap. How much other waste and sewage has it been pulling in?

    The arms and hoses of the dishwasher have been completely replaced twice. The very next load (run with the dishwasher empty) has little waste, but by the third load, the waste is again flowing into the dishwasher. And this is without any dishes or with clean dishes, so the waste cannot come from within the dishwasher.

    Plumbers have raised the drain line, until it is anchored just under the counter, or have extended to 6 or 8 inches the amount of drain line attached to the under side of the counter. This has made no difference at all.

    The lines have been routed from the sink and all the way to the street, three or four times.

    If I thought that another machine would not have this problem, I would not hesitate to replace this one. A new machine could not possibly cost me as much as these service calls and repairs have. (I am discouraged from doing that only because I have already replaced the machine once, with no improvement.) Do you think it is unique to Maytag that it can suck garbage in from an outside line, or will I (as I fear) always have this problem for some reason?

    Thank you very much for your answer. I'll watch for a reply to this inquiry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    akron oh
    Posts
    2

    Question I have the same problem ......

    I have taken my dishwasher out of the wall and cleaned out the line to the garberator. i thought there would be all kinds of garbage in there but the line was clean. i took the bottem of the dishwasher off and there was no food and garbage in the bottem so i do not know where this food is coming from.

    I do have a back flow valve in place in my dishwasher and it does appear to be functioning.

    I am encouraged and upset by the earlier post. i was tempted to replace the dishwasher but that does not appear to be the problem.

    The problem has only occured in the last couple of mnths. We have had the dishwasher for 2 yrs and was working just fine.

    i hope that someone knows what to do......
    I do not feel this is a waterhardness issue as the water is the same and has not changed the function of anything else in the house nor the taste or quality of our showers.....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy My fellow sufferer--

    I had no idea there were dishwashers in the Stone Age.

    I am not surprised that you did not find the source of garbage in the machine. I have had the arms, base, drains, hoses, and pipes to the street cleaned (the machine parts replaced) several times. The entire dishwasher has been replaced. There is no doubt in my mind that the material that appears in my dishwasher comes from the sink via the waste pipes, and not within the dishwasher.

    You have saved me a step, trying to attach a backflow valve to my machine. Apparently yours doesn't solve the problem.

    Presently, I am planning to replace my kitchen sink with one that has an additional hole for an air gap. This suggestion was from In-Sink-Erator. I have to say I'm not terribly optimistic, though. An air gap will break the vacuum, but the quantity of matter that flows into the dishwasher suggests there may be a positive back pressure somewhere in the machine or on the line, not just a gravity/vacuum issue.

    In the meantime, I am experimenting this weekend with pouring several gallons of water into the bottom of the dishwasher before I start it. Then, while it empties at the beginning of the cycle, I am turning on the faucet in the sink, full blast. The test hypothesis is that if there is a point beyond which the dishwasher cannot pull back garbage from the line, this may wash most of the garbage out of its reach. So far, no perceptible change, but I've done it with only one load. I'll let you know if there's any benefit from this as a stopgap measure.

    My most effective intervention to date--which is NOT a solution!--is to interrupt the machine before the dry cycle, while the dishes are very hot and wet, and put them into a sinkful of hot water. At this point, most of the garbage will float off of them, or at least wash off without much effort. (Once the dishes have dried, it's like scrubbing off cement particles, and generally requires soaking in soap and water for some time to loosen it.) However, big surprise, I can't always stay home to wait for the dishwasher to finish so I can clean the washed dishes in the sink.

    I'll let you know if anything works. Please do the same. And thanks for the moral support.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    akron oh
    Posts
    2

    Default

    What brand of dishwasher are you using? Mine is maytag.

    I was trying to recall when this all started and i want to say that about the same time as we started useing the packets of dishwasher with drip and dry built in.

    I am going to go back to the inexpensive poweder soap that we were using before and see if that makes any difference.

    Knowone else that i know has a "fancy" sink so that their dishes come out clean. I think that the problem is in the dishwasher it self. I orignally thought that we were not rinsing the dishes enough or stacking them incorrectly but i do not think that anymore.

    i do notice that there is a lot of water on the bottem after the dishes are done and "dried" and that there is also scum on the door lip and edges which is why i cleaned out the lines etc.

    While hunting around today for other solns i found a thread of people who hate their maytag and think that the new ones.... are less reliable.

    for what it's worth.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    pennsylvania
    Posts
    563

    Default

    Hardness issues can develop over time, clogging the fine mesh filter which is part of the wash system. If you can't even do a water hardness test, because that is where I first start w/ washability complaints, then I personally can't help you out. Find out what your hardness is and get back to me. Also, you aren't going to taste calcium carbonate (ie. hardness) It is this info which is of utmost importance to lead you in one direction or another. Whether you may need to run a chemical dishwasher cleaner through the wash cycle, or switching detergents. And, hardness CAN and DOES change for people, even on city waters. It usually stays close to the same, but it does change. Also, check your spray arms for debris stuck in the holes.

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