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Lessons Learned from the Appliance Guy

Good: Individual wrappers protect the detergent from moisture.

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We’ve been having trouble with the dishwashers in the test kitchen. They’re brand new, yet they haven’t been doing a good job of cleaning the dishes.  They’re still under warranty, so the manufacturer sent a repairman the other day, and we learned that the dishwashers’ poor performance was mostly our fault. We’ve been buying our powdered dish detergent in bulk, you see, and humidity had gotten to it. Apparently when that happens, the enzymes in the detergent break down and it’s no longer good at removing food residue.

The repairman’s recommendation was to use detergent tablets instead. Since they’re individually wrapped, moisture can’t get to them. He likes the ones made by Finish (formerly Electrosol), and he advised us to avoid the gel-pack style tabs. I use the Finish tabs at home, and I can attest to their quality.  I almost wish they didn’t work as well as they do, because then I’d have an excuse to get a new dishwasher. But with these Finish tabs, my 20+ year-old, beat-up, water-hogging, loud-as-a-lawnmower monster just keeps cranking out the clean dishes, darn it.

So if your dishwasher’s not doing its job, try a new detergent.  And if that doesn’t work, here’s his second tip: Make sure the filter trap is clean.  Never heard of the filter trap?  You’re not alone, because a trap full of junk is frequently the cause of the problem when our repairman goes on other calls.


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  • unbaked2 | 07/10/2009

    I use the Finish/Electrosol tablets in my ancient rental's dw and it works like a charm. I don't even rinse my dishes anymore and they come out sparkling clean with only 1 tab!

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