I am procrastinating right now from writing a paper, so I thought I would post about a frugal solution to a (potentially) expensive dishwasher problem.
Recently Amy at Motherload and Stephanie at Stop the Ride have posted about making their own dishwasher detergent. I have a stock pile of Electrosal 3-in-1 tabs (there were free coupons in the paper) so I don't have a need for detergent at this moment in time, however I will be giving this a try when I run out.
Anyway... our dishwasher came with our house when we bought it. It never got things really clean, so with thought it was old and needed to be replaced. We decided to run it until it died though and I switched detergent brands thinking that maybe the cheap ones didn't work as well in this machine.
One day after running the dishwasher at night I opened it up and found the bottom filled with water. I sucked the water out with a shop vac. and called our home warranty company. They send a plumber out to find out what the problem was with the drain. Low and behold it was clogged with something. Apparently this model was prone to that because of the way it is built. I made an off-hand comment about it not cleaning so well and the repair man/plumber told me that the little holes in the arms get clogged and that you need to clean them out.
Huh? I have wash my dishwasher? How would one do that?
He said that Jet Dry makes a dishwasher cleaner (which they do I found out) and that if you use it once a month or so (every 6 months works just fine at our house) it will clear out the blockages and the machine will work better.
Now, I always figured that the "dishwasher cleaner" was a scam by the detergent companies to get you to buy something you don't actually need. "ha ha" I said to myself. "you can't get my money!"
Turns out it is actually a useful and worthwhile product. with out home warranty the sevice call costs $55.00, I don;t even know what it would cost without that (more I'm sure).
The Jet Dry dishwasher cleaner is @ $4.00 and there are always coupons for $1.00 off in the Sunday paper.
SO.... I learned that spending $6.00 a year on dishwasher cleaner can actually save you repair money in the long run.