We get complaints concerning dishwashers all the time. Whether it’s not cleaning or not drying, it can be incredibly stressful for people when the inability to clean dishes brings a kitchen to a screeching halt! However, more often than not, there isn’t anything wrong with the machine itself…. the problem is usually the soap.
The dishwasher does a very simple job. It allows water to enter, then circulates the water, raises the temperature if selected, drains the water out, and then repeats it all again. Some units may even heat the water further for better cleaning or sanitizing, or offer a heated drying cycle. The dishwasher by itself, with no other aids, cannot clean dishes with any effectiveness. It requires quality water, quality detergent & rinse aid, proper temperature, time, dishwasher safe dinnerware and correct loading (see our previous blog on proper dishwasher loading). All of these actions working correctly lead to a very clean result. If even one is missing, it can all fall apart.
Today, we’re going to focus on proper soap.
The best soaps on the market use enzymes and bleaches to clean dishes. Enzymes take care of proteins and starches, bleaches take care of teas and coffees. Most powders are enzyme based, and most liquids are bleach based. Powders are better at cleaning most dishes, however a tablet like Finish Quantum is what we recommend as it contains both enzyme and bleach.
What many people don’t realize is how important temperature is to soap effectiveness. Enzymes work best around 100 deg F, but die around 122 deg F. Bleach starts to work around 120 deg F but loses effectiveness around 155 deg F. So for a combination soap like Finish Quantum, water should be around that 100 deg F temperature and a hi-temp wash/scrub option, if available, should be used to gradually increase the water during the cycle to maximize the effectiveness of an enzyme & bleach soap. You can check the temperature of the water by running your sink and holding your hand under the hot water after about 20 to 30 seconds. If you have to pull your hand away, it’s too hot. If it’s lukewarm, it’s too cool. It should be on the hotter side of warm, but not uncomfortable.
Storage of your soap and how old it is should be another factor to consider. Older Soaps that have been sitting under a sink (where it is typically higher in moisture) are at a higher risk of losing how effective they could be. So stay away from those bulk buy soap purchases from big box companies unless you’re sharing with family and friends. A lot of friends and family.
Water quality also impacts a soap’s ability to clean. A Finish tablet accounts for water hardness up to 10.5. Most city water is between a 7 and a 10 hardness. To know for sure, check your city’s water quality report or purchase water hardness test strips. If the water hardness is above a 10.5, a product like Glass Magic must be added to soften the water.
Again, check out our blog about proper dishwasher loading to perfect your dishwasher loading skills.
Don’t forget, dishwashers need to be cleaned too! Just because dishes go in dirty and (hopefully) come out clean, doesn’t mean the dishwasher does too. If you need any assistance with any of this, feel free to reach us online at Guinco.com or call us at 844.3.GUINCO. As always, Thank You for Letting Our Family Help Yours!