S asked: How do I remove debris from spinning dishwasher arms? There is soft debris in the holes on the spinning arms in my dishwasher. The holes are too small to put anything in to clean them out. Is there some liquid I could pour in the holes to break up the soft debris? I used vinegar and commercial dishwashing cleaners, but the soft debris will not come out and clogs up the holes.
Dishwasher spray arms provide streams of hot water directly to the dishes to give a thorough cleaning. They can become clogged, dirty and need to be cleaned. You have the right products, now here are the instructions to remove and clean your clogged and dirty arms to keep your dishwasher working at top performance.
You Will Need:
- Scrub brush
- Cotton swabs or thumbtacks
- Tweezers or toothpicks
- White vinegar
- Enzyme cleaner
Steps to Clean the Spray Arms:
- Begin by unplugging the unit.
- Remove the dishracks.
- Locate the screw-on cap or bolts that are holding the arm in place. If you cannot find these, you will need to clean the spray arm without removing it. To do that, skip to step 6.
- Remove the caps or bolts. Take note of the order any washers that may also be in place that need to be removed.
- Remove the spray arm.
- Fill a sink or bucket with hot water.
- Add soap and one cup of vinegar. Agitate the water to mix.
- Place the spray arm into the water and allow it to soak until the debris becomes loosened. If you were not able to remove the spray arm, dip cloths into the soapy water, then lay them over the spray arm. Use a spray bottle to re-soak the cloths with more of the soapy water every 30 minutes to keep them moist until the debris has softened.
- If there are mineral deposits from hard water, soak it in straight vinegar.
- Use an old toothbrush, or other scrubbers to clean the surfaces of the arm. Cotton swabs ot thumbtacks can be used to remove build up from the small holes in the arm. Tweezers and toothpicks work well to pull out pieces of debris from the openings. A canned air can also be sprayed through the holes to loosen or remove debris.
- Once the debris is removed, rinse the piece completely with clean water inside and out. Spraying it with high pressure water will help to remove any loosened debris as well.
- If the debris still won’t budge, spray the holes with an enzyme digester, such as Kids ‘N’ Pets. Let the enzymes work as long as needed for the food debris to be removed, then wash the spray arm with soapy water to remove the enzymes and run the dishwasher through a cycle while empty to clean off the enzyme cleaner from inside the spray arm if the arm is not removable.
- Shake off excess water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Replace the arm back into the dishwasher ensuring all bolts and washers are installed in the same order that they were removed.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If unclean dishes are the problem, check the arms first to make sure they are functional. Before removing them, spin them to make sure they spin freely. Lift up on each one. There should be some movement in the arms. If either of these movements are restricted or need to be forced, there may be other problems with your machine.
- If the parts of your dishwasher differ from what is described above, consult your owner’s manual for the specific disassembly procedures for your particular machine.
- If you are unsure of your ability to disassemble the spray arms, a professional can be hired. However, the job can be done by most homeowners.
- If the spray arm cannot be removed, new arms can be purchased from the manufacturer to replace the clogged arms.
- There are also commercial products available, such as Dishwasher Magic, that can be used to remove build up from the interior of the dishwasher.
- Consider switching to an enzyme dishwasher detergent, which will eat up all the food residue before it can get lodged in the spray arm.