Dishwasher blues

I have a Servis M4605S dishwasher.
It doesn't wash properly and it doesn't dry the contents.
It goes through the various cycles but evrything comes out either still dirty or barely clean.
Obviously we top up the salt and rinse aid as required and don't forget to add the detergent blocks. I can confirm that the filter at the bottom of the washer is clean and I have checked the outlet pipe and it is draining as it should. It is often FULL of grease / fat clinging to the inside of the washer.
My first thought was that it was the heater element at fault, but it does get hot at one point during the cycle.
I have noticed that the first wash is always cold, is this normal?
Anyone any ideas as to what the problem may be?
Wife is nagging so I must get this sorted soon or buy her a new pair of marigold's for Christmas. :)
Steve.........
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The wash which uses the detergent must be hot. Some dishwashers do a cold wash/rinse first. (Final rinse is usually hot too to aid drying the contents afterwards.)

Maybe the programmer has developed a fault and is not heating the main wash?
Also, there is some type of grease which the dishwasher detergent doesn't dissolve, and it can build up over time. The dishwasher cleaners will dissolve it, but much cheaper, so will ordinary washing-up liquid. A couple of drips in each wash prevent it ever building up. (Any more, and you'll end up with the thing full of foam, and it won't pump the water around or drain out properly.)
--
Andrew Gabriel

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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

If a cold wash were the cause, the dishes would come out rinsed of all loose particles, there would not be dirty water in there when opened.

Washing liquid also turns the prerinse into a prewash, thus increasing the total cleaning power of the whole wash cycle. And costs under 0.1p, a much cheaer option than fancier 8in1 tabs.
NT
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If you take one of the sides off ( typically the left, as you face the machine ) you might find a rather complicated array of clear plastic tubes that deal with the supply and drainage of the water. Waste water flows through this array ( it often contains a float valve chamber and various microswitches ) and over time the various tubes and valves can get clogged with gunge. When this happens it screws up the water levels - so your machine operates with less water than it should, and you end up washing the dishes in a small amount of very dirty water that never gets hot because there's insufficient to cover the element.
If you remove this array and give it a good old sloosh out it should sort of the problems. It helps to spray some kitchen cleaner stuff into it ( like Mr.Muscle etc ) to loosen up the congealed fats.
While you're there, give the outflow pipe a good clean out ( you'll probably need a bottle brush ).
My machine's a Bosch - but I should imagine most domestic machines work on the same general principle.
Regards,
PS...Removing the array means you get a couple of pints of foul, stinking water over the floor..
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk
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Might try that idea.
Thanks.
Steve.....
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Hi,
Also take the arm off and check it's not bunged up.
Eat less greasy food too! :)
cheers, Pete.
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I also should have mentioned that the inside of the dishwasher gets mouldy from time to time, as per mould in a bathroom. Must stop washing the kids in it! :)
Does that give a clue to any extra considerations?
Steve.......
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