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I'm looking for any ideas about how to get my dishwasher working better. Right now I need to take it apart and clean out a filter each week, but this filter is not easily removed (~8 screws) and did not ever need cleaning in the past. Even after running the dishwasher empty I have observed this filter getting a bit of gunk in it. After cleaning, it works well and gradually gets more clogged up, by the end of the week there's soapy residue left on the dishes.

Some bad choices made leading up to having this issue:

  • running the dishwasher with juicer parts that were packed full of apple pulp, causing the bottom of the dishwasher to be full of standing water and the first time I observed the permanent filter being clogged

  • trying different more eco friendly soaps which was the first time we observed dishes not getting clean and soapy residue remaining

  • taking apart the dishwasher and noticing one of the gaskets did not fit clearly back into place, I think it's right now but liable to be wrong

Some things I've tried:

  • running the dishwasher empty with vinegar

  • running the dishwasher empty

The dishwasher is a Frigidaire FPHD2491KF0

Please see the pictures on this post. Appreciate any ideas about things to try!

photo of inside of dishwasher

above: inside of dishwasher and the problem area

shows grime immediately after running an empty cycle

above: cleaned the filter, and then ran an empty cycle with vinegar and this grime showed up

grime on the filter

above: the filter that's difficult to remove, after a week of usage

confusing o ring

above: confusing o ring, it doesn't seem to sit right in there and its not obvious to me how it should fit

different view of confusing o ring

above: it seems too big to fit into the groove in there, I regret having taken this apart

under the sink

above: under the sink, for context

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    Do you have a water softener? Is it working? Does it need salt? Try removing the o-ring and placing it in hot water for a few minutes, then re-install without stretching or pulling it. – Ecnerwal Mar 6 at 17:41
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    The pictures appear to show limescale build-up. This should never happen in a dishwasher. I also can't see anywhere you'd fill the salt [though there's something I can't identify on the left wall], so does it just not have a built-in softener?? Crud, as in the existing answer, is not getting removed. Do you have a Vax [carpet cleaner] you could flush & suck with? – Tetsujin Mar 6 at 17:56
  • @Tetsujin agree, but it's hard to see in a picture. When my drain is clogged I get the same white film & speckles, which in a picture is hard to distinguish from limescale. So it could be grime or indeed also limescale. – P2000 Mar 6 at 18:22
  • Do you clean the little cup thing and the course stainless steel mesh as well? On my dishwasher the cup thing is the filter that prevents grit from getting into the spray arms. – Fresh Codemonger Mar 6 at 18:24
  • @Ecnerwal i do not have a water softener, i don't believe the water here is hard (Portland OR) – schpet Mar 6 at 19:14
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Check the drain hose attachment. The inner diameter is reduced around the nipple and something can be caught there, possibly causing back-wash of drain water.

enter image description here

Image: https://howtofixit.net/dishwasher-not-draining/

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  • thanks for the suggestion! i pulled this off, some water and a tiny amount of gunk drained out but it didn't look clogged so it doesn't look like drain hose connection under the sink has a clog – schpet Mar 6 at 19:10
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A reservoir of crud must be in there somewhere

You cleaned all the filters and ran it empty and crud appeared. That crud was waiting somewhere that you did not clean. Where could it have been?

Water cycles thru the filter up to the spray arms and out. Maybe your apple pulp adventure overwhelmed the filter. Crud entered the spray arms and it is there still. I could imaging that cleaning out the dishwasher might not include cleaning out the spray arms.

Take them out and take a look. It should be pretty obvious. If big chunks are occluding the exit holes then water pressure will be low. My theory is clearing out these big chunks will allow a few empty runs to clear out whatever else is left along the recirculation circuit.

If you find a bunch of crud in the spray arms please post another fine image so that I might do a victory dance. If there is nothing in there please quietly ignore this idea and move on to ideas from people with real expertise.

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  • My thoughts also, a brunch of crud is hiding somewhere deep inside a passage way. The O ring does seem to be too big, should only maybe go to edge not beyond, They are made to size and not need to stuff in groove. – crip659 Mar 6 at 17:55
  • @crip659 - I admire how openminded you are as regards brunch options. – Willk Mar 6 at 18:31
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    OP did mention apple pulp, could be used in brunch. These new fangled typewriters always putting wrong letters in. – crip659 Mar 6 at 19:03
  • yeah i think there's a bunch of crud on the bottom of the dishwasher where the door swings open, it hides behind the gasket. i'll try cleaning that out well and run it empty again. the part that weirds me out is that this crud ends up in the non-removable filter, instead of the removable filter – schpet Mar 6 at 19:20
  • i'll check the spray arms too, i checked them pretty recently though and they seemed to flow freely when i connected them to the tap. whenever i open the dishwasher when it's running they appear to be spraying ok – schpet Mar 6 at 19:21

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