Angie's List: Get Cleaner Dishes

Four tips from Angie's List can help you get spotless dishes from your dishwasher.
 Dishwashers are supposed to make life easier, but in kitchens across the country, they can be a point of frustration.
  Many households fight over how to properly load them. Should you pre-rinse the dishes or not? Should you put bowls on the top or bottom rack?
 Here are four ways to get you spot-free dishes.
  Tip number 1: check your detergent.
  Chris Sublett, an appliance repairman, says, "If you have hard water, the only thing you should be using is a powder. A lot of people like to use the tablets or the little packets and actually that is too much soap."
  Tip number 2: know when to pre-rinse.
  Sublett advises, "You should remove any food particles that are the size of a nickel. Other than that, you can stick dishes right in the dishwasher. They really don't need to be pre-rinsed as long as your dishwasher is working well."
  Tip number 3: load dishes correctly.  Vertical dishes, like plates, go on the bottom rack. Items like bowls or glasses should be on the top rack. The way the spray arm works it can reach the curved dishes up top better than on the bottom. However, if you have a dishwasher with two spray arms, you can pretty much put them in wherever you like.
  Tip number 4: clean your dishwasher.
  Angie Hicks, creator of the Angie's List website, says, "Many people may not realize the kind of build-up you can get from the hard water in your dishwasher and that needs to be cleaned to make sure your dishwasher operates properly."
   Sublett adds, "If you open your dishwasher and see any white film built up, that tells me you need to have your dishwasher cleaned. You can do that yourself. There are several different products you can buy at the grocery store."
   If you find you're still having trouble with spotty, dirty dishes Angie's List says it may be time to call in a pro to take a look.
   Dishwashers can last up to 13 years, but if your appliance is 7 years or older and repairs will cost more than half the cost of a new one, it's probably time to buy new.
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