Do you often find grit, film, and food residue on your dishes? We hate to break it to you but it’s not your dishwasher’s fault.
Whether you’re incorrectly loading dishes, adding too much detergent, or using the wrong cycles, your Bosch dishwasher will not clean properly until you correct the mistakes.
Not to worry, these blunders are easy to fix, and we will show you how in our step-by-step guide.
Let’s get into it.
Why is my Bosch dishwasher not cleaning?
There are several causes for a Bosch dishwasher that won’t clean, including improper loading, incorrect settings, too much detergent, or dirt build-up.
Without regular cleaning, dirt can accumulate in your dishwasher and decrease its cleaning performance. It also makes malfunctions more likely.
If you don’t clean the dishwasher as often as you should, dirt will gather in the main compartment, filter, sprays arms, and other components. The trapped dirt may transfer to your dishes during cycles, requiring you to clean them again.
Unpleasant odors may also start to develop. Your dishwasher might smell like wet dog or rotten egg due to the accumulation of dirt.
How to Fix a Bosch Dishwasher That Isn’t Cleaning Dishes
Fixing a Bosch dishwasher that won’t clean can be as simple as changing the settings, using the right amount of detergent, or loading the dishes properly.
Cleaning the dishwasher might also be the quick fix you need to boost its performance. Run a long hot cycle to get it back to optimal condition.
Here, we made a list of the most common causes that impair your Bosch dishwasher’s ability to clean dishes properly. We will also show you different ways to fix it.
|Improper Loading||• Arrange small plates, bowls, glasses, and cups on the top rack of the dishwasher. Keep them upside down and tilted to an angle.|
• Add large bowls, serving plates, and other dinnerware on the bottom rack. Make sure dishes face inward while larger bowls stay upside down to promote better airflow.
• Only place a single item in each compartment in the silverware basket, alternating between spoons, forks, and knives.
• Load spoons and forks with the handles down while knives should be loaded with the sharp edges down.
|Wrong Cycle||• We recommend checking the user manual for the available wash cycles on your specific Bosch dishwasher model.|
• Get familiar with the different programs on your dishwasher and the additional options you can use.
• Select the right cycle based on the load, as well as your cleaning needs.
|Too Much Detergent||• To remove the excess suds, turn off the dishwasher and wait for the foam to dissipate. |
• Run the hottest wash cycle on an empty dishwasher.
|Limescale or Mineral Build-Up||• Remove the bottom rack to access the salt tank. |
• Open the tank and pour in the dishwasher salt until it reaches maximum capacity.
• Scrape the food scraps off the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher properly.
• Run a wash cycle.
|Blocked Spray Arm||• Unplug the dishwasher and turn off the water supply.|
• Open the door and remove both spray arms.
• Use a toothpick to clean the spray holes on each spray arm. Then, rinse them in warm water.
• Reinstall the spray arms.
• Run a cycle on an empty load to rinse and dry the spray arms.
|Dirty Filter||• Unplug the dishwasher and turn off the water supply. Open the door, and remove the lower rack.|
• Locate the mesh filter at the bottom of the dishwasher.
• Remove the bottom spray arm and set it aside.
• Rotate the filter cap counterclockwise and lift the filter to remove it.
• Remove any food residue and debris. Then, wash the filter in warm, soapy water.
• Reinstall the filter. Rotate the filter cap clockwise until it is secure.
• Reattach the bottom spray arm and the lower rack.
• Plug in the dishwasher and turn on the water supply. Run a wash cycle to test if it cleans the dishes properly.
One of the most common mistakes that result in dirty dishes is improper loading. Put your plates, bowls, and utensils in the correct racks so water can reach all the soiled surfaces.
Loading your dishes correctly will not only lead to clean dishes but also dry ones. If you overcrowd the racks, your dishwasher won’t dry the dishes (Bosch dishwasher not drying) properly due to poor circulation of hot air.
Solution: Load your dishes in the correct racks to ensure proper cleaning. Make sure not to overload or underload the dishwasher.
- Top Rack: Add small plates, bowls, glasses, and cups to the top rack of the dishwasher. Keep them upside down and tilted to an angle.
- Bottom Rack: Place large bowls, serving plates, and other dinnerware on the lower rack. Dishes should face inward while large bowls should stay upside down to promote better airflow.
- Silverware Basket: Add a single item to each compartment in the silverware basket, alternating between spoons, forks, and knives. Load spoons and forks with the handles down while knives should be loaded with the sharp edges down.
Are your dishes still heavily soiled when they come out of your dishwasher? Perhaps you need to switch to a different cycle to effectively clean your dishes.
If your dishwasher isn’t drying or cleaning, check the settings. Make sure you selected the right program that matches your cleaning needs.
In some Bosch dishwashers, you’ll find additional options for cleaning and drying. For instance, you can add an extra rinse cycle or extend the drying phase for optimal results.
Solution: We recommend checking the user manual for the available wash cycles on your specific Bosch dishwasher model. Select an appropriate cycle that matches your load and your cleaning needs.
|Standard Bosch Dishwasher Cycles||Purpose|
|Auto||• Auto activates your dishwasher’s built-in sensor and automatically adjusts the temperature based on how soiled the dishes are.|
|Glass 40°||• Glass adjusts the temperature and drying period to give sensitive glassware the best shine.|
|Eco 50°||• Eco is an energy-saving program that uses less electricity and water. It is a long cycle that lasts about 2 hours.|
|Express 45°||• Express 45° is a quick-wash program that cleans and dries your glassware fast. It uses cool water temperature for delicate glasses.|
|Express 60°||• Express 60° uses slightly hotter temperatures compared to the quick-wash cycle to thoroughly clean your tableware fast.|
|Intensive 70°||• Intensive uses high temperature and increased spray pressure to remove thick grease and dried-on food scraps on your plates.|
|1h program||• The 1h program washes and dries your dishes quickly. It is a quick wash cycle for lightly-soiled plates and glassware.|
|Machine Care||• Machine Care is for routine clean-ups and maintenance. It prevents the build-up of dirt, limescale, and unpleasant odors in your dishwasher.|
Too Much Detergent
One of the tell-tale signs that you’re using too much detergent is residue. It won’t dissolve properly, leaving white streaks on your dishes.
Using too much detergent creates excess suds during wash cycles and won’t clean the dishes. It only makes your dishwasher prone to malfunctions.
Bosch recommends using Finish products, but you can use other high-quality alternatives.
Solution: Turn off the dishwasher and wait for the suds to dissipate. Then, run the hottest wash cycle with an empty load to get rid of any residual foam.
• If you run out of detergent, run a hot cycle instead of using regular dish soap. Only use this for emergencies—not for everyday use.
• Always refer to the instructions on your detergent package.
• Don’t store dishwasher detergents under the sink as they may lose their effectiveness due to high moisture and humidity levels in the area.
Limescale or Mineral Build-Up
Do you live in a hard water area? If you notice a white film on your dishes, it’s caused by mineral deposits in hard tap water.
Hard water has high-mineral content, which may leave behind a chalky residue on your plates. It can also make your glasses look cloudy after wash cycles.
The best way to prevent mineral and limescale build-up is to clean your dishwasher regularly. If your dishwasher model has a water-softening system, you can use dishwasher salt to mitigate the effects of hard water.
Solution: First, use a water hardness test strip to determine how hard the water is in your area. Adjust the settings accordingly.
- Step 1: Remove the bottom rack to access the salt tank.
- Step 2: Open the salt tank and pour the dishwasher salt using a salt funnel.
- Step 3: Scrape the food scraps off the dishes before loading them into the dishwasher properly.
- Step 4: Run a wash cycle.
• Add more dishwasher salt to the tank once you see the refill indicator light up on your display. The symbol resembles the letter S.
• Don’t forget to refill the salt tank, or you might have to descale the dishwasher to get rid of any limescale and mineral build-up.
• Always run a load after refilling the salt tank to prevent the salt from corroding the metal interior of your dishwasher.
Blocked Spray Arm
Your Bosch dishwasher needs enough water to remove food residue and detergent from your dishes. It uses two rotating spray arms to sprinkle water during wash cycles.
One spray arm is located under the middle rack, while the other is located at the bottom. Over time, dirt and mineral build-up can block the holes in the arms, obstructing water flow during cycles and preventing your dishes from getting cleaned.
At times, the spray arms might also spritz water in the wrong direction, which can end up leaking out of or under the dishwasher, triggering an E15 error code.
Solutions: To clean the spray arms of your Bosch dishwasher, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Unplug the dishwasher and turn off the water supply:
- Step 2: Open the door and remove both spray arms.
- Step 3: Use a toothpick to clean the spray holes on each spray arm.
- Step 4: Rinse the spray arms in warm water.
- Step 5: Reinstall the spray arms.
- Step 6: Run a cycle on an empty load to rinse and dry the spray arms.
Do your dishes feel gritty after a wash cycle in your dishwasher? Or do they smell like rotten eggs?
It might be time to clean your filter.
Since the filter traps grease, food scraps, and other debris, it needs to be cleaned regularly. Without proper care and maintenance, unpleasant smells will start to develop and dirt will accumulate on the filter.
Eventually, the dirt on your filter will get deposited back onto your dishes, leaving a gritty residue after cycles.
Solution: To clean your Bosch dishwasher filter, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Unplug the dishwasher and turn off the water supply.
- Step 2: Open the door and remove the lower rack.
- Step 3: Locate the mesh filter at the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Step 4: Remove the bottom spray arm and set it aside.
- Step 5: Rotate the cap counterclockwise and lift the filter to remove it.
- Step 6: Remove any food residue and debris. Then, wash the filter in warm, soapy water.
- Step 7: Reinstall the filter. Rotate the filter cap clockwise until it is secure.
- Step 8: Reattach the bottom spray arm.
- Step 9: Reinstall the lower rack and close the door.
- Step 10: Plug in the dishwasher and turn on the water supply.
- Step 11: Run a cycle to test if the fix worked.
Tips to Boost Your Bosch Dishwasher’s Cleaning Performance
Performing routine maintenance on your Bosch dishwasher won’t guarantee that it never malfunctions. However, it can boost its cleaning performance and minimize the occurrence of error codes.
Here are a few tips that will keep your dishwasher running smoothly.
Clean your dishwasher regularly.
Give your Bosch dishwasher a deep clean every few months or so—but more frequently if you use hard water.
To prevent limescale and mineral build-up in your dishwasher, you must use a descaler while running the longest, hottest cycle possible.
- Step 1: Turn on the dishwasher.
- Step 2: Run the hottest and longest cycle on an empty load. Don’t add detergent.
- Step 3: Add a single box of descaler at the bottom of the dishwasher about 30 minutes into the cycle.
- Step 4: Let the cycle continue.
- Step 5: Run a second wash cycle once the first is done.
Scrape, don’t rinse!
There’s no need to pre-wash or rinse your plates and utensils before loading them in the dishwasher. Just scrape off the large chunks of food scraps into the bin and load the dishes in the right racks.
Use salt to soften water, if needed.
If your hard tap water is beyond a certain threshold, use dishwasher salt to soften the water. Some Bosch dishwasher models have a salt tank and a water-softening system, which enable you to minimize the effects of hard water.
Like your table salt, dishwasher salt is made of sodium chloride. Its granules are very coarse to prevent obstructions in the salt tank.
You can use an all-in-one detergent that contains dishwasher salt if your unit doesn’t have a built-in tank. Or, you can opt to have a filtration system installed to soften the water in your household.
Use the right detergent in the right amount!
Never pour dish soap into your dishwasher. We know it’s tempting when you run out but it’s better not to use any detergent at all than to use even the smallest bit of dish soap.
If you add dish soap to the drawer, it will produce an excessive amount of suds, which can spill out of the appliance and onto the floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
The quality of your dishwasher detergent will affect the cleaning performance of your Bosch dishwasher.
Low-quality detergents might not dissolve as easily, leaving residue all over your tableware. They can also corrode and damage your dishwasher, which can result in costly repairs.
Bosch also doesn’t recommend homemade dishwasher detergents as they may contain ingredients that might damage the unit. If damaged, the use of homemade detergent can also invalidate your warranty.
Dishwasher salt might be necessary depending on the hardness of your water. Use a water hardness test strip to determine how hard the water is in your area.
• Hard water: Dishwasher salt is necessary to achieve better cleaning results.
• Slightly hard/ Moderately soft: All-in-one tablets, which contain dishwasher salt, are enough.
• Soft water: Dishwasher salt isn’t necessary.
We recommend running a long, hot cleaning cycle on your Bosch dishwasher every month. If you live in a hard water area, descale your dishwasher once you see white residue inside the main compartment.
Regular cleaning prevents the accumulation of dirt, detergent, limescale, and mineral deposits in your appliance. It keeps your dishwasher free from clogs and ensures smooth operations every time.