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LG Dishwasher Not Cleaning - Dishwasher

Troubleshooting Dishwashers Last Updated 08/23/2017
Not Cleaning - Dishwasher

Cleaning issues may be experienced as white film, residue, spots or actual food remaining on the dishes at the end of the cycle. This issue is commonly attributed to the following:

  • Low water temperature.

  • Improper usage of detergent and additives.

  • Cycle selection.

  • Lack of maintenance.

To identify the root cause, it is necessary to identify the type of cleaning issue that is experienced:

  1. What type of cleaning issue do you experience?

    White Film or Residue Remaining Food Soils
  2. Firstly, we need to determine the cause of this white film or residue, follow the instructions below:

    Clean the glass with white distilled vinegar or citric acid.

    • Get a wash cloth or paper towel.

    • Wet the cloth or paper towel with the vinegar or citric acid.

    • Wipe the glass inside and out.

    Does the white film come off with vinegar or citric acid?

    Yes No
  3. This condition is caused by HARD WATER.

    Minerals, such as calcium and magnesium in the water may leave a residue on the dishes. This film or residue may be on the dishes, the inside walls, and components of the dishwasher.

    To prevent this from happening, try the following:

    • Use a wash booster such as Lemi Shine®, Glisten®, or Finish Glass Magic®.

    • Add an EXTRA RINSE which will reduce hard water film in many households. This depends on the hardness of the water.

    • Perform TUB CLEAN CYCLE to remove hard water mineral deposits from inside the machine. This can be done with a dishwasher cleaner, vinegar, or a citric acid powder. Do not add detergent to tub cleaning maintenance cycles. For more information, please view our Instructions for Tub Clean Cycle

        Instructions for Tub Clean Cycle

      • WHEN USING dishwasher cleaner: follow the instructions provided by the cleaner.

      • WHEN USING VINEGAR: place a shallow bowl filled with 13/4 - 2 cups of white vinegar in the bottom rack. Run a NORMAL cycle, with EXTRA RINSE and SANITARY RINSE options set.

      • WHEN USING Citric Acid Powder: fill the main detergent compartment with 3 tablespoon of citric acid powder. Run a NORMAL cycle, with EXTRA RINSE and SANITARY RINSE options set.

  4. This is the result of ETCHING.

    Etching is caused by too much detergent and too high water temperature. This can be made worse in soft water or softened hard water. Etching cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented or slowed down by lowering the water supply temperature and reducing the amount of detergent.

    The recommended water supply temperature is 120°F. Do not exceed 140°F.

    The amount of detergent used varies by cycle and soil level. Most cycles only require the dispenser to be filled half way for every day loads. It may be possible to reduce even this amount in soft water, or to use a soft water detergent.

  5. When food soils remain on dishes after the cycle, it can be caused by some operation and maintenance issues. Follow these troubleshooting steps that provides effective solution.

    Do you run HOT water in the kitchen sink prior to starting a cycle?

    Yes No
  6. Are you using rinse aid?

    Yes No
  7. Run the faucet at the kitchen sink until the water is hot prior to starting the dishwasher, this will ensure that the water getting into the dishwasher is hot.

    NOTE: Recommended water temp for dishwashers is 120°F.

  8. Okay good, let's check the level of the rinse aid to see if it is time to add more.

    If the unit has the RINSE AID INDICATOR light, check the display to see if its lit up. The icon looks like a snow flake on the top left of the display. The light will illuminate if the level of rinse aid in the dishwasher is low.

    Continue Troubleshoot
  9. LG Dishwashers are designed to be used in conjunction with a rinse aid. Using a rinse aid will maximize the amount of water that has already been sheeted away from the dishes before the dry cycle begins, to ensure proper rinsing performance.

    NOTE: Refer to your owner's manual for details about rinse aid and how to tell when it is in need of refilling. Usually rinse aids last about 6 months before the dispenser needs to be refilled.

    Continue Troubleshoot
  10. Are dishes scraped before loading?

    Yes No
  11. Were the dishes pre-rinsed before loading?

    Yes No
  12. Scrape dishes free of large food items, bones, etc. prior to loading.

    Continue
  13. We do not recommend that the dishes are pre-rinsed before loading as this can result in the food soil level sensor malfunctioning, especially in the NORMAL cycle.

    All you need to do is scrape the excess of food and then load the dishes. If you choose to pre-rinse, then you will need to use either POWER SCRUB, AUTO or the HEAVY cycle.

  14. What type of detergent do you used?

    Liquid or Powder Tablet
  15. Performance may be improved by switching to a TABLET OR POD. Try this with the RINSE AID DISPENSER set to the lowest dispensing level.

  16. Are dishes loaded properly according to the instructions in the owner's manual?

    Yes No
  17. Do you use NORMAL Cycle?

    Yes No
  18. Refer to the owner's manual for loading guidelines. Improperly loading dishes will prevent proper washing and rinsing performance. Improper loading includes overloading, as well as stacking dishes on top of each other. Please visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy of your owner's manual.

  19. Use AUTO, POWER SCRUB, or SOAK, which are cycles optimized for best cleaning performance. For your convenience, view our cycle selection chat below.

    Washing Cycle Selection

    Washing Cycle Selection

    The dishwasher cycles are optimized for various performance:

    NORMAL - Energy Efficient Cycle: uses less water, lower temperature, shorter wash time.

    AUTO, POWER SCRUB, and SOAK - Performance Cycles: higher water temperature, more water, longer wash time, maximize cleaning power.

    Options such as steam, extra rinse, and sanitary rinse also enhance cleaning performance.

    Due to varieties of models, the owner's manual cycle chart will list the model-specific temperatures, water consumption, and wash time for each cycle. Please visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy of your owner's manual.

  20. Have you cleaned the FILTER and SPRAY ARMS recently?

    Yes No
  21. Have you cleaned the dishwasher's interior within the last 4 weeks?

    Yes No
  22. If you have not cleaned your filter recently, clogged filter will prevent proper cleaning. Please visit our Maintenance - Dishwasher for details about cleaning your filter.

  23. This unit will require a repair service. For your own convenience, please visit our Request a Repair page.

  24. The interior of the dishwasher should be cleaned once a month. If you use the dishwasher every day, then it should be done every 2 weeks.

    There are a number of cleaning products that are designed just for this task. You can find them in the same supermarket isle that you find the dishwasher detergent.

  1. Run the faucet at the kitchen sink until the water is hot prior to starting the dishwasher, this will ensure that the water getting into the dishwasher is hot.

    NOTE: Recommended water temp for dishwashers is 120°F.

  2. YES

    Okay good, let's check the level of the rinse aid to see if maybe its time to add more.

    If the unit has the Rinse Aid Indicator light, check the display to see if its lit up. The icon looks like a snow flake on the top left of the display. The light will illuminate if the level of rinse aid in the dishwasher is low.

    NO


    LG Dishwashers are designed to be used in conjunction with a rinse aid. Using a rinse aid will maximize the amount of water that has already been sheeted away from the dishes before the dry cycle begins, to ensure proper rinsing performance.

    NOTE: Refer to your owner's manual for details about rinse aid and how to tell when it is in need of refilling. Usually rinse aids last about 6 months before the dispenser needs to be refilled.

  3. We do not recommend that the dishes are pre-rinsed before loading as this can result in the food soil level sensor malfunctioning, especially in the NORMAL cycle.

    All you need to do is scrape the excess of food and then load the dishes. If you choose to pre-rinse, then you will need to use either POWER SCRUB, AUTO or the HEAVY cycle.

  4. Scrape dishes free of large food items, bones, etc. prior to loading.

  5. If you use LIQUID OR POWDER, Performance may be improved by switching to a TABLET OR POD. Try this with the RINSE AID DISPENSER set to the lowest dispensing level.

  6. Refer to the owner's manual for loading guidelines. Improperly loading dishes will prevent proper washing and rinsing performance. Improper loading includes overloading, as well as stacking dishes on top of each other. Please visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy of your owner's manual.

  7. Use AUTO, POWER SCRUB, or SOAK, which are cycles optimized for best cleaning performance. For your convenience, view our cycle selection chat below.

    Washing Cycle Selection

    Washing Cycle Selection

    The dishwasher cycles are optimized for various performance:

    NORMAL - Energy Efficient Cycle: uses less water, lower temperature, shorter wash time.

    AUTO, POWER SCRUB, and SOAK - Performance Cycles: Higher water temperature, more water, longer wash time, maximize cleaning power.

    Options such as steam, extra rinse, and sanitary rinse also enhance cleaning performance.

    Due to varieties of models, the owner's manual cycle chart will list the model-specific temperatures, water consumption, and wash time for each cycle. Please visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy of your owner's manual.

  8. If you have not cleaned your filter recently, clogged filter will prevent proper cleaning. Please visit our Maintenance - Dishwasher for details about cleaning your filter.

  9. The interior of the dishwasher should be cleaned once a month. If you use the dishwasher every day then it should be done every 2 weeks.

    There are a number of cleaning products that are designed just for this task. You can find them in the same supermarket isle that you find the dishwasher detergent.

Cleaning the dishwasher's spray arms is important to ensure there is no debris blocking the water jet holes.

Note: Spray arm type, look and position, disassembly and reassembly instructions may vary depending on your model. Refer to your owner's manual here for specific instructions for your model.
For more information on cleaning your dishwasher's spray arm, refer to our Video Library video LG Dishwasher Spray Arm Maintenance.

    1. Be sure that the water jet holes are not blocked by food particles.

      Spray Arm Holes
    2. If cleaning is needed, lift up on the lower spray arm in order to remove it.

      Lower Spray Arm Removal
    3. Clean the spray arm by removing any food particles that are blocking the water jet holes, and rinsing with water until water flows freely through the water jet holes.

      Spray Arm Cleaning
    4. After cleaning the lower spray arm, replace it by pushing down until it clips into place. Be sure that the spray arm is able to turn freely.

      Lower Spray Arm Replacement
    1. Pull the upper rack forward. Be sure that the water jet holes are not blocked by any food particles.

      Upper Spray Arm Removal
    2. When cleaning is necessary, remove the upper spray arm by turning the nut on the bottom of the spray arm 1/8 turn counterclockwise and pulling it down.

      Upper Spray Arm Removal
    3. Once the upper spray arm has been cleaned, press it up into place. Turn the nut 1/8 turn clockwise to make sure that the nut has locked back into place.

      Upper Spray Arm Replacement
    1. Check the water jet holes to be sure they are not blocked by any food particles.

      Spray Arm Holes
    2. When cleaning is needed, remove the spray arm by disassembling the hook from the bracket which holds the top spray arm assembly to the tub. Use a flat-head screwdriver if needed to remove the top spray arm.

      Top Spray Arm Removal
    3. Clean the spray arm and replace it by sliding it into place. MAKE SURE the retainer clip engages.

      Top Spray Arm Replacement

To keep the dishwasher performing at its best, its important to clean the filter. For your convenience, watch the video below or follow the step-by-step instructions.

  • To clean the filters, start by removing the lower rack.

  • The filter is located below the long spray arms under the rack.

Filter Cleaning
  1. How many spray arms do you have?

    NOTE: The look and position of your filters and removal instructions may vary slightly from the instructions below. Refer to your owner's manual for model specific instructions. Visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy.

    • For best wash performance, clean the filter after each load.

    • Before starting a cycle, make sure that the filter is assembled correctly. If the filter is not assembled properly, poor cleaning performance may be experienced.

    • For areas with hard water, it is recommended to clean the filter at least once a month to prevent poor wash performance.

    Do you prefer reading the step-by-step-instruction?

    View Step by Step Instructions

    Note: Some models do not have a 3-stage filter in the bottom of the tub. Instead, some models have a self-cleaning filter system that continuously cleans the water as it circulates. The self-cleaning filter grinds food into small particles before going down the drain. In this case, cleaning the filters is not necessary.

    NOTE: The look and position of your filters and removal instructions may vary slightly from the instructions below. Refer to your owner's manual for model specific instructions. Visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy.

    A.

    Remove the lower rack.

    Lower Rack Removal

    B.

    Turn the mesh filter counterclockwise.

    Filter Removal

    C.

    Take out the mesh filter, upper STS filter, and the outer filter.

    Bottom Filter Removal

    D.

    Clean the filters using non-abrasive materials and warm water.

    Separate the two cylinder shaped filters, gently clean them with a brush under warm water.

    Filter Cleaning

    E.

    Replace the filters in reverse order.

    Filter Replacement
    • For best wash performance, clean the filter after each load. If food debris remains in the filter, it may cause an odor.

    • In areas with hard water, clean the filter at least once a month with a soft brush.

    • Clean the filters using non-abrasive materials and warm running water.

    Do you prefer reading the step-by-step-instruction?

    View Step by Step Instructions

    Note: Be cautious of sharp edges when handling the stainless steel filter.
    Remove food residue caught in filters to prevent the build up of odor-causing bacteria and possible drainage problems.

    NOTE: The look and position of your filters and removal instructions may vary slightly from the instructions below. Refer to your owner's manual for model specific instructions. Visit our Documents and Manuals to download a copy.

    A.

    Remove the lower rack.

    Remove the lower rack and position the bottom spray arm so a wider vee is open to the front.

    B.

    Turn the mesh filter counter-clockwise.

    Turn the inner filter counter-clockwise and take out the assembled inner filter and stainles steel filter.

    Filter Removal

    C.

    Clean the filters.

    Clean the filters with a soft brush under running water. Reassemble the filters before reinstalling them.

    Filter Cleaning

    D.

    Replace the filters in reverse order.

    To replace the assembled filters, position the spray arm so the wider vee is toward the front. Fit the filters back into the filter holder and secure them by turning the inner filter clockwise until it clicks into place.

    Filter Replacement

When running a maintenance cycle, be sure that all of the dishes have been removed. Leave the racks in the dishwasher.

  1. Place a cup with 1-2 cups of white vinegar on the bottom rack.

  2. Select the NORMAL cycle.

  3. Close the door.

This cycle may also be performed with a dishwasher cleaner instead of vinegar.

Author - Sanmi Ajanaku

Sanmi is a Home Appliance expert and author of this help library article. Please leave him feedback below about the page.

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