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Advice about Dishwashers

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > What/Where to Buy > Appliances & Electronics > Advice about Dishwashers


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2008 - 2013 Recommendations


How much to install a dishwasher?

Jan 2013

I am potentially moving to a rental home which has no dishwasher. I am trying to convince the owner to install one where none previously existed. Does anyone have an estimate of how much this would cost? Any recommendations for plumbers and/or electricians? Thanks! Trying to Save my Teenager


Not sure why a dishwasher will save your teenager... washing the dishes is good discipline. anyway... you need a person that understands plumbing, electric and carpentry (need to cut out space in cabinet for dishwasher). Count on a two day job with planning (though can be 1.5 days) plus the supplies (dishwasher, minor plumbing, some electric, paint for cabinet). So: two days labor: $1200, random supplies: $125, dishwasher: $500
I recommend A7 Appliance Installation. The owner Dan installs major appliances. 925-771-4711 jami

Dishwasher Rack getting Rusty

Nov 2011

I have a 10 year old Maytag dishwasher with rusty spots on the bottom rack (at the joints where the plate separators are). This happened to my previous dishwasher and when it stopped working I was told by the repair person that over time, the rust comes loose and falls into the motor, damaging it. At the time it was cheaper to get a new dishwasher rather than repair the old one and get a new rack. I can't believe this is happening again! My mother's dishwasher has lasted well over 30 years! Should I replace the rack, get another new dishwasher, or is there a way to stop the rust? dishwasher woes


Don't let it get too rusty before you fix it. Use a small bottle of 'ReRack' vinyl repair for exactly this. Sand the spots, clean, paint. Do it periodically when you think of it. Available at the hardware store. anon

Great dishwasher?

Sept 2011

Anyone have a dishwasher they love-or hate? Mainly we want a dishwasher that works great and is reliable. Emphasis on reliable. Ideally, it would be quiet too. Would be interested to know about good experiences and bad ones too-what to watch out for. Any info is appreciated!


We bought a Miele. It is quiet and (so far) reliable. Before that we had a Kenmore which was a lot cheaper, but only lasted 5 years. The other one we considered was Bosch. --dish washer of the family
I love, love, love my miele. Had a sears basic model - we have an 18 inch space - and it lasted less than 5 years and never worked great - and we could not be in the kitchen when it was on. Miele sips water (reduced out bill noticeably - we run it every night), love the top cutlery tray, things are always clean, the filters are very easy to clean, and it's very, very quiet. It has been worth every penny. Got it thru a huge appliance place in sf - good prices. Never loved a dishwasher before, or even imagined that I would have such a strong opinion - but it was the best appliance purchase. Good luck
Dishwasher recs, from our recent experience: No: Fisher & Paykel Dish Drawer. We wanted to love this dishwasher. Alas, great concept, poor execution. It broke down often= expensive & frequent repairs. After 3 years of use, when it malfunctioned again, we gave up & dumped it. Yes: Kitchen Aid model KUD35FXSS bought from Galvin appliances. Very quiet, cleans well, well laid-out interior. Still in warranty; no breakdowns yet. Seems like the days of dishwashers, washers, ranges, etc. working for years, maintenance free, are gone. What happened? @only reasonable
I bought a Bosch at Galvin Appliance a couple years ago. LOVE IT! I thought my old Kenmore was great, and it did last for years, but my Bosch is like a whole nother appliance experience. It is so quiet that I've accidentally opened it a couple of times because I didn't realize it was running. It cleans really, really well - breakfast plates with dried egg, roasting pans with cooked-on bits of meat, does a beautiful job on wine glasses. One hting to know: it does not have an air dryer so when the cycle is done you need to open the door to let the steam escape. Dishes will air dry in a short time.

ISO a dishwasher that cleans well and doesn't emit steam

Dec 2010

I am desperate for a dishwasher which actually cleans dishes and does not emit steam. I can find no new recommendations for dishwashers, which seem to be much more poorly made recently. I have a Miehle. It has never cleaned very well, and puts out so much moisture during the drying cycle that we began to have mildew in the kitchen cabinets, even when we leave the kitchen fan on. It is quiet, but otherwise our model is unsatisfactory. Our old house had a Kitchenaid, which we loved. It got fabulous reviews many places through 2001, but by now it gets only 1 star. I can find no dishwashers which get more than 2 stars overall on epinions and similar sites. Any ideas about where I can turn? I'd wash dishes by hand but we have a very tiny sink and little counter space in our small kitchen. Thanks, Judy


We purchased a Bosch dish washer 3 years ago and I love it. I don't prerinse, just scrape off the food, and everything comes out very clean. I haven't noticed a lot of steam. The cycle is fairly long but it's a quiet appliance. Bosch is more expensive than some other brands but worth it in my opinion. We purchased it from Galvin Appliance on San Pablo. Laura
We have a Miele we got last year. It doesn't emit any steam. During the drying cycle, ambient air goes around the *outside* of the interior walls of the machine. This cools them relative to the hot steamy air inside and the moisture in the air condenses on the inside walls and drops to the bottom. --Happy with our Miele
We have had a Bosch for the past eight years or so and it's great. We bought the lowest-end model. It was still pretty expensive ($600, I think), but we've had no trouble and it cleans very well. There is a removable filter and every once in a while you have to take it out and clean it, but it's easy to do. We bought ours from the kitchen store on Shattuck, near where Reel used to be. Bosch owner
We've had good luck with Bosch units. Just don't get the cheapest one. All of the mid and high end ones are the same internally with minor feature differences that don't matter. They all clean the same. It is a known problem with the Bosch that if it is hooked up incorrectly or only used rarely that it can have a smell but I imagine that any dishwasher could have that issue if not used regularly. Also since it does not have an electric drying element it dries glass and ceramic perfectly but plastic items tend to come out slightly damp. I don't notice any steam come out of ours unless I open it right when it finishes. So my recommendation would be, if you have mostly glass and ceramic dishes, run the dishwasher multiple times a week, and start it in the evening and unload in the morning then the Bosch is perfect. Oh and using a high quality dish detergent is probably pretty key. I like to see what caked on stuff I can get away without prewashing. Pretty much anything other than lots of dried egg comes out perfect. Alex

Green Dishwasher Soap that WORKS

July 2009

I've been trying to green our household, including cleaning products, and am doing well with things like Bon Ami and 7th Gen. But I can't find a green dishwasher soap that works. Seems that no matter which brand I use, I get dishes with little chunks of stuff crusted on and cutlery that looks dingy. I don't want to go back to the conventional cleaners, but I'm really tired of washing dishes twice when the dishwasher is actually supposed to make my tasks easier. Any recommendations? Trying to be Green


We're use Biokleen Automatic Dish Powder and are very happy with it. You can get it (I think) at Whole Foods, Andronico's, or El Cerrito Natural Grocery. It comes in a round, coffee-can-shaped container. Berkeley grandma
I've tried a few green dishwashing detergents and the one we love (and haven't had any issues with) is the Method brand tablets. I used to be able to get them at Whole Foods, but now I see them at Target. They do an awesome job! jewelzie
Bio-Kleen dishwasher powder works. I use the grapefruit kind, and it works great: http://www.drugstore.com/qxp94850_333181_sespider/bi_o_kleen/automatic_dish_powder_with_grapefruilt_seed_and_orange_peel_extract.htm They also sell a ''free/clear'' unscented but I can't attest to its effectiveness. Clean Dishes
Eco-Friendly dishwasher soap: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/05/oregon_house_approves_dishwash.html or http://greenhome.huddler.com/products/earth-friendly-products-973008-dish-soap Both work very well.
You don't say which you've already tried, but we have had pretty good luck with Trader Joe's. It's enzyme-based, no bleach or phosphates. Be sure you scrape off big stuff, but don't rinse (the enzymes need something to ''feed on'' to activate, I guess), and load everything properly (no nesting; dirtiest side facing the spray, etc.). Our dw is a Miele, by the way. clean dishes
Smarty Dish by method is a phosphate and bleach free detergent that comes in tablet form. Works GREAT. You can buy it at Target stores. I looked it up on consumer reports and it got great reviews for how well it works: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/august-2009/home-garden/dishwasher-detergent/overview/dish-detergent-ov.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=1&searchTerm=dishwasher%20detergent green cleaner
I would like to recommend ECOVER dish tabs and the rinse agent. They work VERY VERY well for me, and have been recommended by Consumer Reports ( not this last time around, but before that). They ranked #3 right under Cascade. Use the rinse aid. It helps a lot. Good Luck

Building in a dishwasher in an existing cabinet

Sept 2008

We've decided we're going to tear out a cabinet and put in a dishwasher. But we need some help. Who does this sort of thing? Am I looking for one professional for all this or a couple of different ones? Any recommendations? There's the figuring out if it's possible to do. The sink is pretty far from where the dishwasher will be, so we're not sure this is possible. There's the ripping out the cabinet. A plumber won't do this, will they? There's the inserting the new dishwasher and doing some custom hook up work with the pipes and the electricity. Location is Berkeley. Time is in the next month or so. PS- I'm not interested in a portable dishwasher. We have one and don't use it much because of where it is in the kitchen.


We had a handyman install a dishwasher (actually dish drawers) in an existing cabinet a few years back and it worked out great. I was really impressed with his ability to fit it into our 1950s cabinets -- you'd never know it wasn't part of the original construction. He took out some drawers, moved a door over, etc. and then touched up the woodwork. He also did the plumbing and electrical, which are pretty basic (although beyond my abilities). I'd call some of the handymen/carpenters recommended in the archives and see what they say. Happy Not Washing By Hand

2004 - 2007 Recommendations


Eco-friendly dishwasher detergent?

June 2007

Can anyone recommend an environmentally safe dishwasher detergent that really works? I tried a powder version from Trader Joes that was OK, but not great. Maybe Method? Ecover? Seventh Generation? Thanks.


We've had good results with both Method and Ecover - the tablets. I agree that the TJ's doesn't seem to get stuff off that well. Green dishwasher
I recently switched to Ecover tabs plus Ecover rinse aid and finally I'm getting clean dishes out of my machine! (For a while I thought it wouldn't happen without phosphates... a couple that I tried that didn't work were 7th Generation and Trader Joes.) Kat
I just checked Consumer Reports -- both Ecover tablets and powder got excellent ratings. Good luck! Kristin
I'm on my first box of the Ecover powder, which I bought based on the online recommendations for it at Drugstore.com, and it seems to be working well. I also found the Trader Joe's powder lacking; their liquid did the job but I didn't like the smell (kind of fishy). I really love the grapefruit-scented Method Dish Cubes, but they are pricey. That's my 2 cents! Tried 'em all
I am using Shaklee products for most of my household and laundry needs. The dishwasher detergent works very well and a little (of all of their products) goes a long way. I don't like Shaklee just because Oprah plugged the company about a month ago. I like them because their products are tried and true - my parents used these as I was growing up. They are still Shaklee fans. Anyhow, check it out: www.shaklee.com Best of luck! Kimberly
We are very happy with Shaklee's product which, like all their products, is all natural and very eco-friendly. Larry
In general I found the liquid kind to be better than powder for my dishwasher (no clumps and streaks). Ecover and Seventh Generation are pretty good. If you are looking for a good list eco-friendly dish detergents and detailed reviews, check out http://www.organicpicks.com/category/20256 Cynthia
I gave up on the powder version of dishwasher soap and am very happy with Trader Joes or Seventh Generation gel dishwasher soap. Ecover was OK, but I prefer the other two. Keley
None of the zero-phosphorus detergents worked for us, and we tried them all. Our dishes simply didn't get clean. The best low-phosphorus detergent we could find is Palmolive, in a yellow bottle. It may depend on your dishwasher, though. Nicole R.

Dishwasher for plastic things

Nov 2006

We are looking at getting a Miele dishwasher for our newly remodeled kitchen. The one thing that concerns me is that it might not do a good job washing/drying all the little plastic tubs/cups/etc. that we seem to have. (At least that's the problem with our current dishwasher -- not a Miele, though). Does anyone have experience with Miele dishwashers or have another fantastic one to recommend? Thanks tired of hand washing


I have a Miele dishwasher which I LOVE, especially since my son was born. We got the high end model, which has a sanitary cycle, which runs VERY HOT and does a great job of drying plastic items. I don't use the sani cycle so much now that we're not using bottles, etc and find that I have to leave plastic items on the counter for a while to air dry, or dry them with a dishtowel right away. All my friends find this to be true, with any brand of dishwasher with plastic items. The wash cycles on the Miele are long (1.5-2hours) but it does a FANTASTIC job of getting things clean. A little trick: use Ecover dishwashing detergent to avoid detergent residue taste on plastics. anon
We LOVE our Miele. With 3 kids, I know exactly what you are talking about with the plastic stuff. The Miele is not only the quietest dishwasher you will find, it is the gentlest, as well. Plastic items don't get contorted or ''blown-away'' like in most dishwashers. After a friend showed us her gold-rimmmed china that had been put through her Miele dishwasher for many years and it looked like new, we stopped hand-washing even our crystal and china. You cannot go wrong with Miele. Based on our satisfaction with our dishwasher, we have since bought a clothes washer and dryer and double ovens Miele Fan
we just got a miele optima and love it! w/ my old washer, i needed to rub my utensils clean before company used it. it is great for sippy cup parts and plastics. i separate all of those little parts and put them on the top utensil rack. there is also ample plate space for all of the plastic kid plates you may have. enjoy squeaky clean dishes and the ultra quiet cycle! jennifer

Looking for a portable dishwasher

Feb 2006

We are looking for a portable/movable dishwasher. We have jsut moved into a new home without a dishwasher and it's not possible to install a traditional one. Any and all information on good models and ones that are for sale or re-sale, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Lori


This is in response to the woman seeking a portable dishwasher. I've owned my Maytag MDC4000AWE for almost 7 years, and am very happy with it. It is standard size, and if I ever remodel the kitchen, it can be installed. It has a fake wood top, that is a bit cheesy, but I keep it covered with a cutting board and it is fine. bpn poster

Best portable dishwasher, washer/dryer?

Sept 2005

We're moving from our house to a small apartment and can't bear the thought of being without dishwasher and washer/dryer. Unfortunately, they will need to be portable, with no vents for the dryer. Does anyone have experience with what the good brands/models are? Anyone have bad experiences with something that we should steer away from? Any good ''consumer reports'' websites we could check out that review portables? Hooked on Appliances


I have the Haier 18'' portable dishwasher -- it's the standard height for a portable, but is only 18'' wide and about 20'' deep. I've found this to be the perfect size for my small apartment, and it's just big enough to hold one to two days worth of dishes for my small family (me and my son). I bought it at Best Buy about 8 months ago, for $269. I notice it's on sale right now for $209. I love it, and would definitely recommend it! Here's a link to the product description: Go to www.bestbuy.com , and type in ''Haier dishwasher'' in the search window. Diane
We bought a used Kenmore Ultra Wash portable dishwasher off the BPN Marketplace newsletter 2.5 years ago. It is still going strong, and we're extremely happy with it. Though portable, it is very spacious--visiting relatives with a much newer, non- portable dishwasher, we were surprised at how much smaller their capacity was than ours. We can fit our highchair tray top in our portable, they can't fit the same model tray top in their built-in! How do the manufacturers waste so much space? Not sure how newer models compare, but I'd check out the Kenmore. no dishpan hands
I had a portable dishwasher from Sears for a few years that was a true workhorse. It had wheels and you had to hook it up to your kitchen water spout and turn on the hot water for it to run. another hose discharges water into the sink. It usually took about 60-90 minutes for it the dishes to run thru the cycle and dry. During that time I obviously couldn't run the tap. There was a cutting board on top of the dishwasher (faux counter). What a wonderful time-saving invention. In fact, it worked better than my current built in dishwasher. The only real suggestion is that you get one that has a built in food grinder type mechanism. It grinds up the stuff left on your dirty dishes (I used to put them in really dirty) so that you do not end up clogging your kitchen pipes. Sears has two models (one with the grinder and one without). This invention saved me countless mind-numbing hours. You will always be able to sell it when you move. a dish washing mom
i can't comment on small dishwashers, but we lugged a portable full size around from rental to rental, and it was absolutely a life saver. i understand the need for automation. clean and shiny

Bosch Dishwasher producing Smelly Dishes

May 2005

We are having a strange problem with our Stainless Steel Bosch dishwasher and can't seem to find a solution so I thought I throw it out to the group to see if anyone has had a similar problem arise.

Our dishwasher is quite new and almost from the beginning has produced a nasty, rotten-food smell on many washed loads. Sometimes the dishes don't smell at all and wash fine, but other times (often) we have to wash 2 or even 3 times to get the smell off of the dishes and silverware.

We've called the manufacturer who suggested we use Cascade granules (the right amount) and make sure all traps are clean (including air gap and garbage disposal). These things made absolutely no difference and the dishes continue to smell rotten. A plumber came in a suggested we turn up our water heater to high because there is a bacteria that can live in a water heater at the heater's former temperature. This sounds promising, but none of our other water smells bad (showers, clothes washer, etc), just the dishes, so I'm not convinced and I'm worried about scalding esp since we have two babies who will eventually use the faucets.

Has anyone encountered this problem? It's incredibly aggravating as we thought we were buying an excellent dishwasher and we waste a lot of water and money doing repeat washes.

Thanks for any advice! Jodie


Throw in a cup of vinegar. No longer smelly
Our Bosch, also stainless steel, was purchased in 2000, and we have a similar problem, although maybe not as bad as you. I smell something bad when i open up the dishwasher after it runs, quite often. but i'm not sure if the dishes themselves really smell. also, it leaves some grainy stuff on our stuff sometimes too. but that may be because of buildup in our trap. Curious to hear if others have similar problems, and/or if bosch will do anything about it. Thanks. dan

Portable dishwashers

March 2005

I'm looking for advice on where to buy a portable dishwasher. I've checked with Sears Outlet in San Leandro, but they don't have any. Any suggestions on another inexpensive place thatwould have a decent selection? Thanks! Bridget


We bought ours about 4 years ago from Galvin Appliance, in Albany, on San Pablo ave. It helped that they were right around the corner from where we live, but also that they deliver the new one, and haul away the old one. I can't remember if we paid much of a delivery charge (and that may have changed anyway, since we did this a while ago!). The thing about portables is that they are *never* cheap. They cost quite a bit more than built-ins, and I seem to recall we spent around $500 for our machine. I cannot live without a dishwasher, especially with my small apartment kitchen, so it was worth it for me. The other thing would be to try to find one on this list... Anyway, we had a great shopping/buying/delivery experience with Galvin Appliance, and would use them again. Good Luck Donna

What's the dish on dishwashers?

Dec 2004

My dishwasher is kaput. I've looked online for recommendations but get conflicting reports. Does anyone know what's currently the most reliable brand/model/where to buy,etc.? Thanks.


We love our Bosch. I don't have any data on its reliability, but it is one of the most efficient in terms of water and energy use. We have used ours daily for 1.5 years without any problem. The best feature to me is that it's extremely quiet; I usually can't tell that it's on. Since we usually run it as we're going to bed, this is handy. You get a PG&E rebate if you buy a Bosch, due to the efficiency, but it's quite expensive. Sometimes you can find them on sale at Sears. Lisa

18 inch dishwasher

Dec 2004

Does anyone have any recommendations on brands of 18-inch or 19-inch dishwashers? We're hoping to install a dishwasher into our kitchen and don't have room for the standard 24-inch size. Also, if you used a contractor to help you with this and had good luck, please let me know! Thanks for any advice! Sarah


I have only found 2 companies that make these - Miele (sp?) and Kenmore. Kenmore makes one model - around $400 or so (maybe less). Miele makes a few that start at $1200. Have not purchased one yet. Heard the kenmore is a little loud from someone who has it. I have also heard the Miele holds as much as a 24 inch Kenmore type. looking too

Miele dishwasher

Nov 2004

My husband and I are considering an expensive Miele dishwasher. We hear they are extremely reliable. Is this true? Joanna


We have a Miele dishwasher and other Miele products and they are top of the line appliances. We bought a sale model at a high end appliance store in San Jose for about 50% off list and are very happy with it. The cutlery top rack is the best, once you use it you'll never go back to the silverware basket where everything is dumped in willy nilly. It's pretty quiet, on ocassion with regular household noise going on, I've opened it to load something in it and didn't know it was already on. We've had it for about 3 years and use it almost daily and it's worked great. You can email me if you have any other questions.

Dishwasher For Shallow Counter

June 2004

I am looking for recommendations for non-standard size diswashers that fit under narrow countertops measuring about 20'' front-back. Do dishwashers like this even exist? Has anyone with such narrow countertops been able to find a dishwasher that worked? We know we have the option to get a portable dishwasher, but ideally would be able to find one to fit under the countertop next to the sink. We also know that the ''compact'' dishwashers that are 18' wide are not compatible with our countertops because they are still about 25'' deep. Thank you in advance for your help. Krista


We had this same problem 6 years ago, when we moved into our home built in 1939. Happily, our contractor said there is usually some dead space between the back of the cabinets and the outer wall of the house that can be used to make room for a regular sized dishwasher. That's what they did, and ever since, we've been using our dishwasher with no problems , without having to change the counter depth at all. I'd advise you to consult about this possibility in your situation. Love my dishwasher

2003 & Earlier


1999

We went to Sears Outlet a couple of weeks ago and found a portable for $199.00 which turned out to be $170. off the "retail" price. They get more appliances in daily from lots of different Sears stores so I would recommend going out there once a week or seeing if they can alert you if one comes in. Word of warning - they give you 30 days to try the thing out but they didn't give us the sink adaptor and when I called to order it, they screwed up my order so I still haven't been able to try the thing out and I'm halfway through my trial period. Also, I had to pay to have our water filter redone to accomodate and had to get another plug placed in the right place in the kitchen so I spent almost the $170.00 on that. Still better than paying full price. Barbara


1998

To the mom who's sick of dishes...
Right before the birth of our 2nd child, I decided I couldn't hack the lack of the dishwasher anymore. But we had a similar problem--the space we had was too small for standard dishwashers, and no room for a portable. We ended up purchasing a dishwasher from Galvin Appliance on San Pablo Ave. in Albany that was smaller than the standard American-size models. It's a KitchenAid IC Series dishwasher; as I recall, it's made for the European market rather than here. They had exactly one in stock at that time (over 2 years ago), a floor model, so you'd have to see what they have now. Also, I've seen ads in magazines for something called a Dish Drawer, that is actually a large drawer that you stick dishes into to wash them (!) that might be worth looking into. An appliance store might know more about this.

The model we bought was more expensive because it's very quiet (very important) and an unusual size--altogether, with installation ($350, because of the work that had to be done in our kitchen to fit it in), the total was around $1100. They provided an installation person (who was a little odd, but did a pretty good job!). But it's been well worth it! Roxane


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