Dishwasher Advice Needed

I’ve recently moved into a rental property which has a dishwasher installed but I don’t think it works properly and I don’t know what I can use as a benchmark to convince my agent of that.

The dishwasher runs, there’s steam if I open it, but nothing seems clean at the end of the cycle and everything is really wet (other dishwashers I’ve used mostly dry things off at the end). The dishwasher tablet very often doesn’t fully dissolve, even on the pots and pans (hottest) cycle. Following the advice I found online, I’ve started putting the dishwasher tablet in the utensil basket where it still doesn’t completely dissolve.

I spoke to the rental agent and she kindly but condescendingly told me I need to rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Well duh. I have to go beyond “rinsing” - I’m hand washing at this point. She then sent me this email:
“I have spoken with Redacted at Local Appliance Repair Business, who recommends that dishwasher powder, (Finish or Morning Fresh) rather than dishwasher tablets be used as our water is soft enough. He also recommends that the dishwasher be cleaned bi monthly. Redacted has suggested that you check that the spray arms are clear. The Landlord has generously offered to purchase Finish dishwasher cleaner for you. Please let me know if you would like to accept his offer.”

I’ve removed and cleaned the arms, and already use the suggested dishwasher cleaner. I’m constantly checking and cleaning the filters. I can switch to powder but I think that’s ignoring that the tablet not dissolving is a symptom of the larger problem.

I’m at a loss. I can’t think how to demonstrate that this machine is underperforming to the point where it’s not really cleaning. What do you think is a reasonable thing for a dishwasher to remove? An example of residue I’ve found on dishes: mugs still have tea residue; a bowl used for yogurt and cereal came out with the spoon marks still visible in the film of yogurt left on the bottom.

A rental? I’d bitch like hell until it works. You shouldn’t have to check spray arms or take the dishwasher apart. A modern dishwasher shouldn’t require you to rinse anything other than huge glops of food off dishes. Tea can stain mugs, but shouldn’t leave residue, and yogurt should be thoroughly cleaned out of dishes.

The fact that everything is still very wet and the dishwasher tablet wasn’t dissolved points to the dishwasher not functioning properly. Sure, you can try powder, but in my experience the tablets/pods work better.

Personally, I’d take “before” and “after” pictures of dishes, show them to the landlord, and demand they fix the damn thing.

Probably not draining. Soon enough it will belch water onto your kitchen floor, THEN you might get the landlord’s attention. In any case, that’s the landlord’s responsibility. Unless things work in reverse down under?

I’m really perplexed about how to “prove” it’s not washing well enough because they seem to think it’s user error, and that’s a comeback to everything I can say.

Yogurt residue? You must have left the bowl sitting around instead of rinsing it right away. * But I did rinse it right away! Clearly you didn’t do it properly if there was still yogurt in the bowl.*
Marks in teacups? Dishwashers won’t remove tea stains. They aren’t tea stains. It’s just tea residue that rinses out. * So you didn’t rinse it first? You have to rinse your dishes.* I did rinse! I just didn’t thoroughly wipe it all over and use dishwashing liquid because that’s not rinsing, that’s washing and if I’m hand washing all my dishes to the point of cleanliness before running the dishwasher… Why am I even running the dishwasher?

I thought the tablets not dissolving was the slam dunk that, yeah, it’s not working, but they’ve handwaved that away too.

You could ask the Tenants Union about this

Seems to me if you’re confident the thing isn’t working (and it sounds like it to me) you can in fact make them take it seriously

I had the same problem with a fairly new (5 yo) dishwasher. Saw steam, water, but nothing seemed to get cleaned much.

Plumber diagnosed the situation. The inlet line was narrowed by mineral deposits so much that very little water was entering the wash chamber. Replacing some plumbing connections fixed it. Apparently the mechanism that measures the incoming water does it by time, not flow, volume or weight – bad idea.

Since my water source is very hard water, it looks like I will have to repeat this repair every few years. The alternative is a very expensive filtration system, which I am considering.