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April 28, 2021 10:02 AM   Subscribe

We just got a nice new dishwasher and I'm not sure of the best way to use it.

We got a Bosch 300 series dishwasher, upgrading from a very old, very not-modern dishwasher that just basically took powdered soap and ran for a couple hours, sort of getting things clean-ish. So this is a big step up!

Everything in the literature that came with it says to be sure to use Jet Dry or similar along with detergent. The dish soap pods we bought (Cascade Platinum) have a rinse agent in them as part of the pod - do we also need to use the liquid rinse agent, or is what is in the pod enough?

Also, how often do we need to clean the dishwasher itself? We're a family of two, so we're not ultra-heavy users of it in terms of dish volume, but we'll probably use it near-daily.

Also also, any other tips and tricks to know to get the most out of our new dishwasher?
posted by pdb to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Bosch. I fill it with rinse agent somewhat randomly. I use cheap detergent pods that don't have anything fancy. It makes little difference but sometime glasses do get cleaned better with rinse agent.

You should clean the filter basket in the bottom out every few loads. It depends on how much stuff is still on the dishes when they go in. The filter definitely gets gross.

For whatever reason my dishwasher waste tube has gotten clogged several times. The dishwasher is good in that it just stops and doesn't flood but it doesn't run either. The solution is to bail out the inside of the machine, disconnect the hose from the airgap and just drain it. Generally the blockage is some thing that can't quite make it through our airgap and it's easily removed. It's a pain but on the plus side the machine has never flooded, so I assume that good design and not just good luck.
posted by GuyZero at 10:12 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

This video is worth watching: technology connections detergent pods. Within a few days of its upload, I had numerous friends/etc mention how they'd learned how to use the dishwasher better because of watching it.
posted by winesong at 10:28 AM on April 28, 2021 [12 favorites]

My recommendation is to experiment with different detergents and additives until you find a result you are happy with. What works best is really dependent on your water, and somewhat on the things you tend to wash. For us, I've found that it works much better to use cheap powdered detergent plus rinse aid rather than any of the pods I have tried (including Cascade Platinum). If nothing else, it allows me to moderate the amount of detergent I'm using depending on the size and makeup of the load. Our dishwasher also has a built-in water softener, which helps a ton with our hard water, but it took some tweaking to get the setting right. If yours has that, you should also try different settings.

At the end of the day if your stuff is getting clean, and doesn't have spots, streaking, or fogging, you're probably fine.
posted by primethyme at 10:30 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

The most important things are putting detergent into the prewash and making sure your water is hot when you start the machine. Beyond that, to an extent, you're paying for sound dampening and style.
posted by phunniemee at 10:36 AM on April 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you run a few test loads early on you might be able to save money in the long run - I've found that our dishwasher does a great job with the cheapest generic pods and no rinse aid, so we don't buy the fancy stuff, but this really depends on the dishwasher and the kinds of loads you're running. The fancy stuff might be more effective but if the dishes are getting clean anyway, there's no point in paying extra. We don't clean it other than clearing out the filter occasionally (way less often than you're supposed to).
posted by randomnity at 10:37 AM on April 28, 2021

Number one thing is to make sure the first "rinse" of the dirty dishes has some soap in it. If your machine doesn't have an (exposed) cup for this, just squirt a little (about a TBSP) liquid dishwasher soap on the inside of the door before you start it up.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:27 AM on April 28, 2021

Buy some of these caps to go over the plate rack prongs. With regular use over a few years, the plastic covering on the prongs splits and then the metal underneath can rust. These covers will prevent it. I wish I'd known this when I bought my dishwasher.
posted by essexjan at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2021

I'd go with the rinse aid. As least on our Bosch, if it detects that the rinse aid dispenser is empty, it adds some extra time (and I'd guess extra water and energy usage). And according to the experts, rinse aid "really works." When it's not cleaning well, I often find that there's something stuck inside one of the arms that sprays water. Take them off occasionally and look to see if a hole is blocked. Then periodically - maybe every few months? - run it with just vinegar.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:50 AM on April 28, 2021

My cheap dishwasher came with a manual and I read it. recommend. The door that dispenses the 2bd round of detergent broke so I use cheap pods. It would be nicer if the filter was removable because it gets gross and is way back in a corner. /cries privileged tears.
posted by theora55 at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2021

I cannot overstate how much I love my Bosch dishwasher. It is quiet and everything comes out of it absolutely sparkling clean.

I just use the combined detergent/rinse agent pods (current ones are Finish, but I've used Cascade versions), and I run a dishwasher cleaner through it on the recommended intervals. Bosch sells a version, but a few of the brands that manufacture dishwasher detergent also have stuff that cleans the dishwasher itself. My model has a "sanitize" cycle and I run that with dishwasher cleaner in it.
posted by bedhead at 12:12 PM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

We have a five-year-old Bosch. We clean out the filter at least once a week — as others have pointed out, it collects food and grease. We stopped using the RinseAid a few years ago, largely because it left a sticky residue on whatever was on the bottom rack and also because filling the little dispenser was fussy.
posted by lasagnaboy at 12:16 PM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I got a Bosch 500 series last summer (I wanted a 300, but the place I got it from had this 500 series for $35 more — I really have no idea how different the 500 is than your 300, though). I live alone, so I run it about twice a week. I've used Cascade and Finish pods. The $7 bottle of Jet Dry I bought after the sample packet ran out is still half full. I scrape plates off and give them a very quick rinse if it seems like stuff will cake on before I next run the machine. I run it on the 60 minute cycle and there have only been one knife and one plate that needed additional cleaning. Everything comes out super clean after 60 minutes.

I also bought a thing of dishwasher cleaner a few months ago, but I have yet to use it.

So, assuming your Bosch is like my Bosch, I'm not sure what tips you need. It's most likely just going to do a great job without much effort on your part.
posted by jonathanhughes at 12:25 PM on April 28, 2021

I'm not as a big a fan of Bosch as many here, but I have a 1 year old 800 series with crystaldry and it works ok. It cleans most things well enough, and definitely requires jet dry to dry plastic dishes along with the crystal dry. It dries non-plastic stuff without.

I wanted a 300 series with the built-in water softener, but that one was unavailable when we had to buy.

There is only one soap dispenser, and I've never seen a need for a prewash cycle. I'd done the 'spray some soap on the door' thing a few times. The regular cycle cleans just the same without doing that. I'd also say that for things like smoothies that leave dried on fruit inside cups, those almost always need to be pre-rinsed. Plates and silverware don't need anything.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:23 PM on April 28, 2021

We have a Bosch 300 too. In case you missed this when looking through the manual, check out the section that talks about how to adjust some of the settings via the front panel. Ours was using too much rinse aid, and I was overjoyed when I found out there is a setting for that. The default is set for near-maximum rinse aid usage, and I put it down to 1 and am much happier about the rate at which it goes through rinse aid.
posted by wondermouse at 5:45 PM on April 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

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