dishwasher - not cleaning as well as before?

I've got a kenmore dishwasher that came with our house. I estimate it to be under 10 years old....its a reasonably modern piece.
the machine seems to cycle properly, and does all the things it usually does. however i've noticed a decline in clean quality. glasses come out spotty and mucked up....sometimes certain dishes dont' get clean at all.
i've been using cascade with pure-rinse powdered detergent with Jet Dry brand rinse product ever since we moved here....no changes in soap or anything...
is there something simple to look at? its almost as if the jet dry isn't being released....is there a way for the mechanism that releases the rinse aid to get clogged? anything else to look at that would be an easy fix?
b
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Could be a couple of things. Easiest to check is the spray bars. Be sure they are not clogged and can turn freely. While you are at it, check the filter and behind the filter where the water goes back to the pump. It could be the pump is not pumping as well as it should too.
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wrote:

I had something like this one time..turned out there was a fragment of paper wedged into the drain hose...clogged the drain enough that the system never completey drained the dirty water...dishes never got fully dried either due to pool of water in bottom. Removed paper from hose and things got better (Still junked it a few months later as it was a cruddy "builder's model" and at it's best was an indifferent cleaner.
Jim P.
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On Sun, 09 Jan 2005 15:06:33 GMT, "Hamilton Audio"

I had a either a Kenmore or a GE that did the same thing. What was happening with it was the diverter valve. In one position it recirculates and sprays the water inside. In the other position it pumps the water out and into the drain. It was gunked up and not moving all the way to the pump out position so it was never pumping all the dirty water out, sometimes it hardly pumped any out. So the same water got used the whole cycle. It was also leaking. Plus it was part of the whole pump housing so fixing it required a new pump. I just scraped the dishwasher and bought another one. -- Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts:
"What, sir, is the use of militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. . . Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise a standing army upon its ruins." -- Debate, U.S. House of Representatives, August 17, 1789
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Happened too me, too, with a fancy GE dishwasher.
For some reason, some apple seeds got around the filter and plugged up the wholes in the rotating spray-arm.
Pulled them out with tweezers and all was well.
--

Walter
The Happy Iconoclast www.rationality.net
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On Sun, 09 Jan 2005 15:06:33 GMT, "Hamilton Audio"

leave the dishes spotty, but wouldn't affect the cleaning ability. I presume the detergent dispenser always opens?
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i watched a cycle closely just now....it definitely is running in clean water and pumping out the dirty between cycles (prewash, wash then rinse). On the second last cycle I hear the detergent door trip open and it releases the detergent and uses it all successfully.
I'll revise my issue - as I just ran a normal cycle. it seems that the dishes are getting clean as you might expect - considering that sometimes I might overload the unit - i'm coming to realize that you can't just jam a pile of dishes in every possible open slot and expect good results :)
it seems that my rinse-aid resevoir was completely empty...i thought I had put a good amount in there, but realized tonite that it must come right to the top....and I had not filled it that high.
the unit is reasonably quiet, decent looking and does not leak or anything. I'm betting that my spray bars are probably plugged as its pretty gunky inside....
thanks for the good pointers....its a bunch of things to look at. Someone mentioned filters and such....where would I find those to clean??
b
wrote:

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The filter is usually in the bottom of the cabinet. On my Kitchen Aid, it is a mesh screen just under the spray arms. Very visible, not some hidden away device.
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I was also wondering if you have hard water in your area and if you possibly have lime deposits someplace....
I had a similiar problem with it not cleaning very well. I was a broken ground wire. Soldered it back togather and the dishwasher worked much better afterwards.
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I would add one thing to the other solutions provided. Check your water temperature. We had a similar problem a while back and found out that our water was not hot enough. Turns out the wife decided that we could save money by turning the water heater down a little.

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I've cleaned two filters, both were not really that dirty. I did notice, however, that the timer mechanism was "sticky" at one point just in the final rinse cycle. I disassembled the front case and removed it, cleaning up the junk and making sure it worked smoothly....seems to sweep through an entire cycle cleanly now.
In the end it turned out that the rinse aid dispenser was completely empty, causing the unit to leave spots like crazy. I added fresh rinse aid and did a large load on the HOT setting and it worked MUCH better.
my final question about this problem - when I had the inner doorskin off (which contains the mechanism that releases the detergent door and I assume the rinse aid). How do I test the door mechanism to ensure that the rinse aid is being released properly??
b

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An appliance repair man that posted here several years ago with good advice said repeated questions to rinse aid makers about their products got no response about conflicts with washing materials. We had a sudsing problem with suds on the floor and he suggested using same maker for washing and rinse aid. We switched from Cascade and another name rinse aid to Palmolive gel and no rinse aid and got cleaner looking dishes from day one.
On Tue, 11 Jan 2005 01:58:42 GMT, "Hamilton Audio"

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