JP Vossen on 3 Nov 2008 20:22:18 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] OT: Dishwasher

Bottom line up front: It looks like it was bad detergent.  We got 
Cascade Advanced Power (a green container with a grey cap) as 
recommended by Isaac B. and that seems to have done the trick.  I can't 
believe it was so simple and obvious (except to me).

Many thanks to everyone who gave it some thought and avoided flaming me 
too badly for the OT post.  Show up at PLUG N 2008-11-10 to get a shot 
at me in person, if you want. :-)

Thread summary, for completeness.

> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 05:37:12 -0400
> From: Casey Bralla <>
> JP, if your aggressively pre-wash your dishes (which CR says **NOT** to do since
 > it uses extra water), does the cleaning quality get better?

I haven't tried.  I've been rinsing better since the problem, but not 
that well, since that was one reason we bought that unit (per CR as you 

> Do you have well water or city water (is the residue mineral or food remains)?

City water that is relatively hard.  But it *used* to work fine.

> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 06:12:35 -0400
> From: "James Barrett" <>
> This is about as off-topic as you can get without being vulgar or
> offensive.

I actually kind of disagree with that.  In my experience, folks who are 
*really* good at IT are the same folks who work on their cars, take lots 
of stuff apart to see how it works, hack contraptions together, etc. 
That's one of the beauties of F/OSS, you can take it apart to see how it 
works, hack contraptions out of it, etc.  Correlation is not causality 
from either end, but you can't tell me the person who hacks a MythTV 
setup together instead of buying a Tivo wouldn't consider hacking at 
other aspects of life.

Having stretched my point to breaking, I will otherwise admin guilty as 
charged.  But look at all the useful replies.  You have to admit this is 
smart and resourceful group.  (And the [Del] key is easy for 

> White residue - coming from the detergent, perhaps, or the failure of
> the rinse cycle to wash off the detergent.  Have you tried using
> different detergent?  :)

Never even thought of it, and that's a great idea.  Will try that. 
[More below.]

> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 07:02:26 -0400
> From: LeRoy Cressy <>
> Is the rinse cycle even working, IE filling and spraying?

As far as I can tell, yes.  I can hear it spraying and stuff...

> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 07:53:30 -0400
> From: "Brian Vagnoni" <>
> Must be a Windows based dish washer. :-)

ROTFLH.  See?  I'm not totally OT.

> ------------------------------
> Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 08:08:35 -0400
> From: Eric <>
> Good point!  Does it have a BSOD on the display?
> We could help you hack the controller to run embedded Linux.  That way 
> you could ssh into other systems and monitor them while cleaning your 
> dishes :-)

Nah, not until we all adopt IPv6...  Yeah, I'm holding my breath.  Not...

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 08:10:34 -0400
 > From: Isaac Bennetch <>
 > I've had better luck with dishwashing gel detergent than with the
 > powered kind. The one I prefer is Cascade Advanced Power and comes in
 > a green container with a grey cap, but I imagine other companies have
 > gels as well. It's just the first one I found that worked well and
 > I've stuck with it.

Good point.  I should have mentioned that we used to use Cascade in a 
green bottle and yellow top, but recently switched to a generic.  I 
never even gave it a thought until this and James' post above, but it's 
very possible the problems at least got worse when we switched.  We'll 
switch back and try this.  Might be useful to see if anyone makes a "... 
for hard water" too.

 > The twice-a-year vinegar wash also seems to help, as does keeping up
 > with the rinse aid.

Doing that.

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 09:52:45 -0400
 > From: Dan Widyono <>
 > You could try running a cycle with some perls thrown in, perhaps with
 > a ruby or two.
 > Or let a python live in it for a while.
 > You might want to C what it's doing while in wash cycle.
 > I've heard dishwashers are great for cleaning keyboards!
 > Sorry, just trying in vain to bring you on-topic.

LOL.  I'm afraid the problem is so traumatic that it's leaving me just a 
bashed up shell.

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 11:11:50 -0400
 > From: Art Alexion <>
 > Just went through this, except mine was from the late '80s (Kitchen
 > Aid).
 > The residue is lime/calcium.
 > There are some commercial products that you can run through
 > periodically that are supposed to avoid/eliminate this.

Yeah.  Vinegar is supposed to do that too.  And the "rinse aid" is 
supposed to help.  (I suppose Lime-Away would be a Bad Idea...  Pity, 
that stuff works great.)

 > (How close are you to Willow Grove?)


 > I found the only solution was to replace the thing.

"The thing" meaning the entire dishwasher?

 > PS:  The only repair I needed on the Kitchen Aid in 20 years was
 > replacing a hose that fed the whirly thing under the top basket.

Nice.  Thinking about them if we have to replace it.  $$$ though and I'm 

 > PPS: You can save money by installing it yourself.  It is quite easy
 > if you are replacing an existing one and don't have to run electricity
 > or plumbing.

Yeah, since I'm cheap I did that last time too.  It was a bit of a pain 
because the drain hose was situated differently and didn't want to reach 
the garbage disposal attachment point.  I figured it out, but I forget 
how.  Rerouted it or cut a new hole in the cabinet I suppose.

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 11:41:09 -0400
 > From: "Michael Bevilacqua" <>
 > Sounds like you have hard water. Contact a local water conditioning
 > outfit ( <-- my unlce) and have them come
 > out and do some simple tests on your water. If you want, you can do
 > the tests yourself as well by just going to the pet shop and buying a
 > hard water testing kit used for fish tanks. However, I recommend
 > reading up on it first or just leaving it to the pros.

I already know it's reasonably hard.  I'm aware that impacts sudsing 
action, but we're not really that interested in getting a softener.  And 
it had previously been working OK.

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 12:00:36 -0400
 > From: jeff <>
 > I think I understand.
 > Tell `your friend' that he needs to see a doctor about his
 > `dishwasher.' It's perfectly normal and happens to all dishwashers
 > after a certain age.  Your friend just needs to take his dishwasher
 > to the doctor for a checkup.  Ok?

I have no good response to that.  :-)

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 17:00:43 -0400
 > From: Randall A Sindlinger <>
 > I've become very leery of Consumer Reports.  [...]

I'm getting there too.

 > My biggest complaint is that its estimates for how long the cycle will
 > be are *horrible* (it has a display with number of minutes left).
 > I've always wondered how that was something that Consumer Reports
 > could either miss or not bother commenting on.

Is *that* what those numbers are?  Since they bear absolutely no 
resemblance to actual time, I've always assumed they were a) Microsoft 
time or b) some semi-random indication that something loosely related to 
progress might be being made.  (But I'm not bitter.  And I'd thought I'd 
gotten over this particular pet-peeve.  Guess not.)

 > ------------------------------
 > Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2008 17:26:21 -0400
 > From: John Sladek <>
 > Check to make sure the dish rack that you slide in and out is seating
 > into  the water system.  I had some washing problems with my
 > dishwasher and I determined this to be my problem.

Good point.  I have checked that in the past but will double-check again.


JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|        jp{at}jpsdomain{dot}org
My Account, My Opinions     |=========|
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