Why are Dishwashers so Unreliable? Here’s Why

Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by

Why are dishwashers so unreliable? Perhaps, your unreliable dishwasher is traceable to personal maintenance, which this article clarifies.

Your dishwasher may be so unreliable since it does a lot of cleaning work. Exposure to water results in acidic food scrap buildup, corrosion, and abrasive cleaners can wear the liners. Many dishwasher owners practice poor maintenance culture, which is also a problem.

If your dishwasher is aging to 10 years, it could be time to plan for a replacement. With the technological expansion, newer models steal the spotlight, making it difficult to find parts or repairmen to get your dishwasher working again.

Why do dishwashers not last long?

This section explores the major reasons your dishwasher does not last long enough:


A cheap and low-quality dishwasher typically has a shorter life cycle. Cheapies cost less but are quite unreliable. You should know what to expect when purchasing one – shorter lifespan.

A more durable and sturdy dishwasher costs more money. The cleaning quality is superior and it may feature elements that enhance energy-saving and other necessary functionalities.

You would also notice that a more expensive dishwasher has a low dBA compared to a cheapie with a low production investment.


Speaking of maintenance, many consumers or households fail to give their dishwashers the recommended treatment. When you overload it or even operate it outside the manufacturer’s instructions, you may be ruining it.

Maintenance gets your dishwasher running superbly. You want to clean it monthly or get a professional to get rid of dust and dirt that may be clogging within the machine.

Proper maintenance also gets rid of mold, protecting the dishwasher from health complications, dish contamination, and bad smells.

You would also be discouraging breakdown caused by food remnants getting in the washer arms and pump screens.

During the maintenance cycle, you want to look out for rust to prevent corrosion. All these contribute to the quick degradation of your dishwasher, making it seem unreliable.

What is the average life of a dishwasher?

According to Consumer Reports, the average life of a dishwasher is about 10 years. Consumer Reports questioned over 20 manufacturers to arrive at this estimate. It does not also mean that yours will not last longer or even shorter.

Experts may expect the same dishwasher lifespan of up to 10 years but this does not translate to 10 problem-free years.

You can tell just how long your dishwasher will last, especially when you thoroughly review how you use it or how often it runs.

Is it worth fixing a dishwasher?

It may be worth fixing a dishwasher depending on the problem – bigger problems may require a replacement or an upgrade.

For instance, if your dishwasher requires major repairs such as a motor or circulation pump, the repair cost may not be economical. To replace dishwasher racks alone will cost hundreds of dollars, almost enough to buy a countertop dishwasher.

If your dishwasher repair requires simpler replacement such as soap dispenser, seal or door latch, fill valve, drain pump, or pressure switch, fixing it is worth it.

Consumer Report in their report also mentions that an estimated “30% of new dishwashers require some type of repair within the first 5 years”.

If your dishwasher is up to 10 years, a replacement could be ideal compared to fixing a component that may break again. Repairs are necessary for your dishwasher but you may not want to sink hundreds into multiple repairs on an aging dishwasher.

If you have to replace, consider comprehensive and more expensive/reliable components. Nonetheless, buying a new dishwasher may save more money since newer models are efficient, conserve more energy and water.

How to make dishwasher last longer

You could make your dishwasher more reliable and long-lasting. Do the following:

  • Get rid of hard water

Hard water in your dishwasher can develop discoloration and mineral film that affect the components. Thus, if you reside in a hard water area, your dishwasher certainly gets a lot of it and you should remove the hard water residue.

Mineral film deposits in hard water look like a cloudy film in your dishwasher and, of course, the dishes. Look out for the wheels and rack rails moving with resistance when there is mineral deposit contact.

The solution is to use a citric-acid-based dishwasher cleaner, such as Finish, to get rid of the mineral deposits every month.

  • Remove gunk from the seal

You need to get rid of gunk on your dishwasher seal to make it more reliable. To degunk the seal, use white vinegar and a rag.

The seal sits between the tub and door of the dishwasher where food residues and particles are collected.

Gunk buildup can result in a bad smell, prevent the door from sealing properly or encourage mold.

  • Coat the dishwasher racks

Coating the racks keeps them rustproof, and you also save a few hundred from purchasing replacement racks.

When the rack coating loosens, apply vinyl paint or replacement tine to keep it from corroding. Corroded racks allow tiny shards of rusty metal to enter the dishwasher pump.

  • Plate scraping

You should scrape but not rinse the plate. Even if your dishwasher does not pre-rinse, make sure you scrape off toothpicks, bones, and other residues before you load your dishes into the machine. Hard bits cause clogging in the drain hose, break the pump or tear the filter.

  • Clean the filter

Food residues stick to the filter, but a filter may not be present in yours if it is an older model. You have to manually clean the filter every month, or more often if necessary.

When you notice a decline in your dishwasher’s performance, it could be the right time to clean the filter.

  • Do not overload

When you cram too many dishes into one dishwasher, it will not properly clean since overloading blocks water spray patterns. This means rewashing your dishes, and unnecessarily or unreliably running your machine to its death.

Note that a mechanical part will wear according to how often you use it. Moreover, partial loads will decline the machine’s performance.

  • Wash recommended dishes only

Dishwashers are designed for dishes and not anything else. Some YouTube videos may suggest washing certain vehicle parts but this results in damaging your machine.

Vehicle parts are typically greasy, and your dishwasher and detergent are not made to handle the grease. You would end up with a clogging problem that damages the pump.

Which is the most reliable dishwasher?

This part of the publication suggests the most reliable dishwashers for your money.

You would also have to give the dishwasher proper maintenance to unleash its genius.

Bosch 300 Series 24 in. ADA front control dishwasher

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The 24 in. Bosch 300 Series is a reliable and one of the most purchased dishwashers in the market. You get to enjoy the following from this dishwasher:


This dishwasher is ADA compliant, and its compact size lets it fit into almost any space in your kitchen.

Third rack

Not many dishwashers of this size feature a third rack. This one does, and so it creates ample space for your large utensils and silverware.

This V-shaped rack also welcomes taller items such as your stemware.


You would not want your next-door neighbor knowing when you have your dirty dishes washed. Well, the 24 in. Bosch 300 Series runs at 46 dBA, making sure less noise. It also features 18 unique sound-reducing technologies that bring quiet to the kitchen.

Washing cycles and options

There are up to 5 washing cycles, including rinse, normal, auto, heavy and favorite. You also have 6 washing options, including machine care, extra dry, sanitize, delicate, delay start, and remote start.


You can adjust the middle rack of this dishwasher up to 9 different positions. This means taller utensils fit in comfortably, giving space for your pans and pots below.


This is one of Bosch’s dishwashers with an advanced PrecisionWash system. This system features, according to Bosch, “intelligent sensors that continually scan and check the progress of dishes throughout the cycle.”

Its powerful spray arms do not miss the target, they reach every hard-to-reach part of your dirty dishes.

Energy and safety

Bosch designs its dishwashers to qualify for Energy Star, and this 300 series is no different.

Regarding safety, the 24 in. Bosch 300 Series can kill 99.9% of bacteria during the washing cycle. This Bosch model meets NSF requirements for sanitization, so it is safe for your household.

KitchenAid 24 in. PrintShield stainless steel top control built-in tall tub dishwasher

KitchenAid is a reliable name and the 24 in. PrintShield stainless steel top control built-in tall tub dishwasher is sturdily built to withstand long-term use.

Apart from its prowess, it brings the following features to your kitchen:

Stemware holders

The middle rack of this dishwasher has 2 stemware holders that secure wine glasses from moving while washing is in progress.

Top controls

Well tucked away on the dishwasher door top, the top controls have been redefined to match the luxury of your kitchen. It also features an indicator light, which uses color to communicate during the washing cycle.

Adjustable rack

The middle rack of this dishwasher is adjustable, which introduces flexibility for accommodating taller utensils such as a stand mixer bowl.

You would have to lower the middle rack to be able to place large dishes inside or raise it to create space below for pitchers, blenders

Expedited wash cycle

You could hasten dishwashing with the express wash mode. This mode cleans faster, letting you multitask in the kitchen.


At 44 dBA, this dishwasher gives your ears calm while you listen to your means on the cooker. Its quietness does not compromise the performance, it still speedily does a cleaner job than many dishwashers.


KitchenAid’s ProWash cycle packs sensors that measure soil levels during the washing cycle. This functionality is able to adapt to the water temperature and washing speed to get rid of the stubborn mess.

Another mind-blowing feature is microfiltration, which continuously removes food particles throughout the wash and rinse cycles. It also helps to circulate clean water across all the 3 racks so that your delicate glassware and cookware are washed together in one load.

What makes a dishwasher good and reliable?

Perhaps, noise is a quality factor, and you need a dishwasher that does not wash as if it is arguing with the dishes. 46 dBA is a decent operational quietness that brings the needed peace to encourage concentration in the kitchen.

  • Brand reputation

Patronize a brand that puts your interest first. Typically reliable brands design with simplicity and durability in mind to give you the value for your money. You would also get the necessary warranty to protect you against damages you are not responsible for.

  • Leak detection system

 Some dishwashers feature a leak detection system that can tell when your dishwasher leaks. Such a dishwasher should feature a front flashing light that notifies you. The dishwasher may also be able to drain water from the tub.

  • Adjustability

Adjustable racks allow flexibility and can accomplish taller cooking utensils in the dishwasher. Depending on the model you purchase, one of the racks, typically the third rack, should be adjustable.

  • Stainless finish

Fingerprint-resistant stainless is one of the selling points in modern dishwashers. Look for one with this premium finish to ensure easier wipes to keep the machine clean.

  • Third rack

Your dishwasher should feature a third rack for easily cleaning entire flatware, including knives and other small utensils. The third rack may have to be adjustable to allow you to dish-wash taller items.

  • Flood prevention sensor

Some dishwashers refer to this feature as ‘flood protect’. You need a dishwasher with an active flood protection functionality, a sensor that detects and prevents the dishwasher from overflowing during a wash cycle.

How often should you replace your dishwasher?

You should replace your dishwasher every 10-15 years long. During the operational years, maintain your dishwasher properly to avoid breaking expensive or irreparable parts.

Even cleaning the dishwasher, do not use bleach. Samsung advises against using bleach in your dishwasher to prevent discoloration or damaging the stainless steel interior.

Again, consider a replacement for a dishwasher aging up to 10 years. Perhaps, it is no longer efficient and may cause expensive repair problems in the long run.