8 Reasons for Dishes Coming Out of the Dishwasher Greasy

Last Updated on April 13, 2022 by

Why are my dishes coming out of the dishwasher greasy? This can be extremely annoying, especially if you cannot figure out the cause to solve the problem. However, this publication redeems you from thinking “what could be wrong”.

Your dishes come out greasy from the dishwasher because the seal, filter, or drain is clogged. The detergent dispenser could be dirty, otherwise, the detergent quality cannot fight grease. Other culprits include the spray arm and faulty thermostat. Lastly, get a replacement dishwasher if yours is aged.

A great tip: scrape excess food off dishes instead of pre-rinsing to keep the dishwasher from having to take in lots of debris.

Read also: is handwashing or dishwasher better at removing grease?

Does dishwasher remove grease?

A dishwasher is designed to remove grease from dishes, however, excessive debris or other component damage will keep it from doing so.

Your dishwashers will remove stains from your foodware. It will also power away lingering lasagne and baked-on bolognese from pots, pans, and other dishes.

Foods you can scrape and pour into the trash should not be washed into the dishwasher. Apart from the dishwasher, grease is not good for sewer or plumbing systems.

A little residue is okay, your dishwasher can handle that with the help of high-quality dishwasher detergent. Let’s say you use a Bosch dishwasher, you want to use these reviewed detergents for Bosch dishwashers.

If a dishwasher can remove the grease, then why will dishes come out so greasy?

Why are my dishes coming out of the dishwasher greasy?

For this section, we explore the possible grease causes as well as solutions for a greasy dishwasher. Below are the reasons your dishwasher will not stop giving greasy dishes:

  1. Clogged seal

The job of the seal in a dishwasher is to stop water from leaking at the bottom edge of the dishwasher door. It accomplishes this by creating a watertight seal.

The seal is positioned around the bottom of the dishwasher’s inner door panel.


You need to clean the seal using warm water at least every month. Simply wipe down the dishwasher seal using a clean dry cloth.

  1. Aged dishwasher

A telling sign of a greasy dish-wash is an aging dishwasher. If you have used your dishwasher for more than 10 years, it might be time to upgrade.

An older dishwasher is less efficient and you may not even find the proper replacement parts to stop the greasy problem. Moreover, parts like racks get really expensive.


Buy a replacement dishwasher. Determine if you need a portable or built-in dishwasher or a compact countertop dishwasher, depending on the size of your household.

By the way, we reviewed what sized dishwasher you would need for a family of 4 members. If you are a family of 5, here is the best dishwasher for you.

  1. Clogged detergent dispenser

Your dishwasher detergent dispenser releases detergent into the tub during the wash cycles. It typically features 2 compartments, including an unsealed compartment (for prewash) and a sealed compartment (for main wash).

When blocked or clogged, the dishwasher no longer receives the proper detergent for the wash.


You need a damp cloth to clean the dispenser hole and cap. Ensure that the dishwasher detergent is rid of debris, then run a test wash to confirm if dishes still come out greasy.

  1. Damaged spray arms

The dishwasher distributes the water needed in the dishwasher to clean the foodware and other kitchen items. If damaged, dishes will come out really greasy, and sometimes have soapy taste.


The solution we recommend is based on Bosch’s suggestion:

  • Take off the screw and detach the upper spray arm.
  • Detach the lower spray arm.
  • Use a cocktail stick for cleaning the spray arms outlet nozzles. Alternatively, soak the spray arms in distilled vinegar to dissolve food particles in the outlet nozzles.
  • Thoroughly rinse the spray arms and wipe off the moisture.
  • Replace the upper spray arm and the lower spray arms.

Spray arms should be cleaned once every 6 months.

  1. Tossing floodware covered in food

Loading food-covered dishes will result in gunk your dishwasher cannot handle. Even the drain system will find it difficult to handle excessive foods flushed through.

Thus, the dishwasher will underperform when getting rid of grease.


The solution is to scrape off excessive foods from foodware before tossing them in the dishwasher.

  1. Malfunctioning thermostat

A high-limit thermostat stops your dishwasher from becoming too hot while the temperature-sensing thermostat regulates the hotness while the heating element heats the water. Here is a description of how your dishwasher heats water for a wash cycle.

A malfunctioning high-limit thermostat will prevent the heating element from heating. Thus, dishes will come out greasy.


If you detect that the water is not heating hot enough, the thermostat may be faulty and need a replacement.

  1. Filter or drain pump clogging

Your dishwasher filter keeps small, soggy food bits from entering the dishes, or clogging your drain.

The drain, on the other hand, works with the hose linking the dishwasher with the garbage disposal.

A clogged filter or drain will cause dishes to be poorly cleaned. In many cases, damaged filters cause the dishwasher to leak.


Inspect and clean the filter to get rid of food debris clogging it. Regarding the drain, disconnect the hose from the pump.

To check for clogging in the hose, Bobvila advises simply blowing through it. If air does not pass through it, it is clogged.

  1. Detergent quality

A low-quality detergent will cause the dishes to be greasy since it does not contain the needed components to enhance the dishwasher.


The solution is to buy high-quality or manufacturer-recommended dishwasher detergent.

Best dishwasher detergent for grease

In this section of the publication, we review one reliable dishwasher detergent you need to buy for fighting grease in dishes:

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Below are the reasons we recommend Seventh Generation detergent:

Fighting power

This detergent uses a dual-action formula capable of fighting off 48-hour stuck-on food and tough stains from dishes.

Natural components

Seventh Generation is made from plant-based ingredients.

No dyes, phosphates, or chlorine bleach used. Seventh Generation does not also use synthetic fragrances for this detergent.

Safe for septic

It contains mineral-based sodium carbonate for cleaning and removing grease from dishes.


It arrives in an easy-to-use resealable pouch that is environment-friendly.


This dishwasher detergent is EPA certified.

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Best dishwasher for grease

For this section, we recommend the one dishwasher you need as a replacement. It is tested and reliable for removing grease from dishes.

FRIGIDAIRE FFBD1831US Dishwasher, 18 inches, Stainless Steel

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FRIGIDAIRE FFBD1831US is one of the most reliable grease removal dishwashers we believe will replace any malfunctioning dishwasher in its category. It packs the following features:


This is an 8 place setting dishwasher with generous space.

Spray arm

This machine uses dual spray arms for fighting off grippy grease. It uses dual spray at the lower and upper racks designed to eliminate grease in every cycle.

Sanitize cycle

The sanitize cycle ensures hygienic wash for children and adults foodware and other utensils. FRIGIDAIRE FFBD1831US is also NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certified.

6 wash cycles

This machine uses 6 wash cycles designed to optimally fight grease. Each of the cycles is water and energy-efficient.

What we like:


It runs quietly enough at 52 dBa. This is not the quietest machine but is quieter than your normal conversation with people. Read about dishwasher quieting to makes yours silent.

Energy Star

An Energy Star certified dishwasher that performs optimally and excellently while saving the cost of energy and water. Here are some water efficient dishwasher that are reliable.

What we don’t:

No adapter hose

We had to buy the adapter hose separately to set it up.


The body finish is not fingerprint-resistant. As such, you would find prints on it when it is touched.

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How to clean a greasy dishwasher

Before you toss the dishes back in the dishwasher, you want to perform a general cleaning to possibly stop dishes from greasing when coming out.

  1. Gather your cleaning supplies

The cleaning supplies you need for this procedure include a brush, rubber gloves, distilled white vinegar, soft fabric, and baking soda.

  1. Remove the dish holders and parts

The next step is to remove the holders such as racks, spray arms, and even the filter. If your dishwasher uses a self-cleaning filter, you cannot remove it as the dishwasher will forcefully clean itself.

If yours is the manual filter, you may need a screwdriver, depending on the dishwasher model.

  1. Clean the dishwasher

First, put the filter and other detachable components in the bucket of distilled vinegar for about 20 minutes. Do not put the rack here to avoid eating up the plastic coating, which exposes the metal.

Look for debris in the empty dishwasher, and pick them out. Clean the sidewalls, the corners, and the bottom of the dishwasher.

Open and clean the dispenser or reservoir. You can use a brush or toothpick to get rid of dirt from the dispensers.

  1. Run a hot water cycle

Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar before you run the hot water cycle to enhance the cleaning. The vinegar will break down soap scum, food remains, grime, and grease, which makes dishes come out greasy.

At this point, your dishwasher is refreshed to wash dishes without greasing them. Ensure to implement best practices such as not pre-rinsing but scraping off food from dishes before loading them.

Read also: what toys cannot go into dishwasher?