Dishwasher

Repair and disassembly guides and support for dish washing appliances.

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The dishes on the top rack are filthy, bottom rack cleans great.

I have cleaned the dishwasher, checked for food pieces, but the top rack stays very dirty, even if the bottom rack is close to empty. How do I get the water up there again? The dishes on the bottom come out great.

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What make and model dishwasher is it?

by oldturkey03

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Check your upper spray arm for clogged holes and/or not raising up from the center if it does. Also, make sure you don't block it with a pot.

Try using a strong piece of wire (heavy duty paperclip or coat hanger) to make a hook to grab to post to pull it up or use it to clean out the holes. If you can take it apart you can try soaking the parts in 'Lime Away' to clean off the mineral build up if you have hard water.

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Assuming you are using a good quality detergent. And the upper spray arm nozzle is not clogged with mineral deposits, etc.

If you have 2 (or more) spray arms. The upper spray arms are most likely not expelling liquid.

Determine if your upper spray arms are supplied dishwater through tubing that goes up the back of the dishwasher or if the lower arm has a center output (possibly it may look like a collapsed accordion like piping is in the center.

For piping going up the back of the washer the upper basket arm should have a pipe going to the back of the washer. This must meet up properly so that when the water is expelled from the pump it is forced thru the connection and out the upper spray arm (s). If the connection is not made then the water may be partially going thru the upper spray arm or not at all. (Our current washer the connection got moved out of place. But it was easy to move back into place. (Also as prior by Dan check for debris such as cellophane wrapping that loves to get under the lower strainer but not get cut by the grinder resulting in blockage.

Finally if you don't have piping going up the back of your dishwasher you most likely have a series of partial tubes in the center of the lower washer arm (there may be an extending portion up thru the lower dish-rack. It's important that nothing obstructs the flow of water at this point and that the partial tubes aren't stuck together or otherwise obstructed (when water is forced thru them they push upwards and each subsequent cone tube is slightly narrow at the top than the bottom which forces the next smaller tube further upward until it meets with the upper washer arm inlet. here make sure that there is no debris in the inlet which should be right on the bottom of the arm. also the one we had most recently had a rubber gasket that was needed to complete the seal.

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my top spinning arm gets caught on the piping coming up the back & top of washer arm

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You'll need to replace it as the joint is broken

by Dan

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Part of my answer to this question, unfortunately, is "next time you buy a dishwasher, don't buy this one!" I have now repaired mine about 4 times -- cleaned out everything, including the grinder, the filter, the spray arm, etc. I even bought & installed a replacement grinder (for $11.... not bad; you can buy them at places like Home Depot, Amazon, etc.). To unclog any obstructions I couldn't see, I poured in boiling water, vinegar and baking soda, as well as dishwasher cleaner from the local hardware store before running the cleaned machine.

Everything worked - temporarily. The fact is that this machine is not very well made. The plastic parts are light (in part, I assume, because it takes less energy to move them), but they are not durable. Also, newer dishwashers that are 'eco-friendly' save on energy by using less-hot water. Unfortunately, most powder dish detergents do not dissolve as well in cooler water as in hot water, so you get lots of caked-on detergent (in addition to the food and other gunk) blocking points of entry and exit.

A wet-dry vacuum cleaner is a handy thing to have while repairing this machine.

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Erin will be eternally grateful.