Make your dishwasher last longer

Dishwasher maintenance: top tips from Choice

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A little elbow grease towards dishwasher maintenance now can save a lot of handwashing later.

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A little elbow grease towards maintaining your dishwasher might be all it takes to keep it cleaning your plates for you, for longer.

Consumer advocate CHOICE has released a list of tips and tricks to ensure that your dishwasher doesn't end up getting sent to the tip before its time.

CHOICE dishwasher expert Ashley Iredale said dishwashers should typically last about nine years.

"However, if you're not looking after it properly, there's a chance that it won't quite go the distance. This isn't great news for the environment, as it means one more appliance headed to landfill earlier than it should. Dishwashers are also quite expensive, so taking care of yours will mean you're saving money too," they said.

"Luckily, CHOICE has put together a great list of all the simple things you can do to keep your dishwasher working effectively as long as possible."

1. Clean the filter properly

Cleaning your filter at least once a month should keep your dishwasher working smoothly. If you don't, it can cause blockages and a bad smell.

If it's clogged, empty the dishwasher and remove the bottom basket - the filter will be in the sump, or lowest part of the dishwasher and should twist out without the need for tools.

Then, wash the internal filter under hot running water, lightly scrubbing with plastic brush to remove the grease and grime. The bigger trap filter can be rinsed under hot water.

To replace the filter, simply reverse the removal process.

2. Run an occasional cleaning cycle

On the odd occasion, run the dishwasher completely empty and on the hottest cycle possible. Iredale said this helps to flush away grease and limescale that can build up in your dishwasher and cause issues. You can use a commercial cleaning product, but even plain white vinegar works well.

To clean your dishwasher with vinegar, pour two cups into a dishwasher safe bowl and place it in a rack in your empty dishwasher, then run the cycle. Double check your dishwasher manual first though, as some manufacturers don't advise using vinegar in their machines.

3. Don't ignore issues that are easily fixed

"While it can be a pain to fix small appliance issues that aren't bothering you too much, it's important to do this before they turn into a bigger, more expensive problem," Iredale said.

"Most dishwashers will have spare parts that you can purchase for general maintenance, like a new basket or tray if yours breaks. If there's an issue you can't fix yourself, call a plumber or service technician before it gets worse."

4. Leave the door ajar between cycles

"If you can, leave the door on your dishwasher ajar between cycles so that it can air out. This will reduce odours and mould growth, and will also help the seals to retain their shape," Iredale said.

More tips can be found here.

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