I hate my new Bosch DW. It does NOT clean dishes

kaismomJanuary 16, 2010

I bought a mid range Bosch (Integra 500, I think) at Sears about 6 months ago because my 10 year old Asko died. The reason I bought a Bosch was due to price being cheaper than a Miele by about $500 due to their spectacular sale, and I knew that I would replace the DW when I did my kitchen remodel. I had intended to move the DW to the rental house we own. The dishwasher is so bad that I would be ashamed to give it to my renter. I am really regretting that decision to save money now.

I have been trying to make this DW work but the bottom line is that the dishes are not clean. I am used to the way my Asko washed. They were clean. Just a good solid DW that did its job.

The current Bosch behaves as if the filter on the DW does not trap all the particles. There are bits of food particles still stuck on the dishes. It is very noticeable on the glasses. The glasses are now starting to etch also, which I did not notice before. We do not have hard water. We are on the city water.

We had the installation guy come and show us the high loop because I thought that may be the culprit. Not so. It is installed properly.

What am I doing wrong? Anything that can be done?

The installation guy told my DH that all new dishwashers are about like this because the motors are small on them and they don't have the pressure to wash the dishes properly. He also said we should rinse the dishes well. I don't think so. I think he is full of hogwash.

Luck would have it, we have run out of the time that we can just return the appliance... We will try to return it to Sears but....

In the meantime, help. Anything I can do?

Because of my DW fiasco, I am reminded that my mother refused to use the DW in a brand new home she bought in the 80s because it did not wash the dishes well. After a decade or two, they got a new DW and started to using it all the time. I see why my mother refused to wash the DW. I am about there.

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What detergent are you using? Some detergents are chlorine-based, some have enzymes. Chlorine and enzymes don't mix, so detergents are typically one or the other. Chlorine helps bleach stains from plastics and coffee/tea mugs, and prevent plastic dishwasher tubs from staining by tomato sauces, so are useful in those cases. Otherwise, enzyme-based detergents do a better job of cleaning due to their ability to dissolve food residue so it can be flushed away. This is especially true of newer dishwashers that run longer cycles at lower temperatures (for EnergyStar purposes). Unfortunately, also, many dishwasher detergents have gone phosphate-free, which can contribute to poor performance. If you're using the same detergent that previously worked well in the Asko, perhaps the formulation has recently eliminated phosphates. Check the package label.

Check also that the Bosch is filling with enough water. Sometimes a pinched water supply line can occur when the machine is pushed into place.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 12:36AM
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Check the feedpipe for the upper rack spray arm. It is press fit into the bottom of the machine directly behind the lower spray arm spindle. The pipe is made of gray plastic. If it is partially dislodged from the hole it is supposed to be in then you will not get adequate spray pressure and the dishes will not be clean. Pull both spray arms out and make sure there is nothing rattling around in them and then put them back on and make sure they can both spin freely with the dishwasher fully loaded.

Make sure the filter is completely clean and that there is nothing floating around in the collection basin under the screen blocking water flow.

And if that doesn't fix it get a qualified repairman in to fix it under warranty. The Bosch has turbidity sensors that detect particulates in the water and if they fail the washer may not cycle and expel the dirty water adequately.

I urge you not to take any crap from Sears. I would tell them that under no circumstances do you want to see the "Install guy" they sent over to tell you that the product they took your money for cannot actually do the job for which it was purchased. Tell them you want a fully-qualified Bosch Technician with access to all Bosch recommended tools and diagnostics to come over there and fix your machine. I have a mid range Bosch and it cleans dishes better than any machine I ever owned. No, you do not have to rinse the dishes first. It is wasteful of water and energy to do so. You should scrape them and place them in the washer and let it do its job.

Anyway, check all the things you can and then call them and demand they fix the dishwasher. They are obligated to do so by law. The Bosch has a written warranty and Sears has to honor it either by fixing the machine or replacing it. And the next time some Bozo tells you that you have to wash your dishes by hand before putting them in the dishwasher, read him the riot act and kick him out.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 2:00AM
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As a servicer I estimate more than 95% of the customers that complain about cleaning on a Bosch dishwasher will be due to a poor installation.
If your getting grit left on your dishes do some very simple checks. Pull the filter and look to see how much water is left in the sump below the filter. It should be only about a 1/4 cup. Even though you have the high loop in place is the drain clear and not obstructed? I see this a lot. you cant' believe how many times I see that something as simple as removing the garbage disposal plug was not done. Sometimes I see the disposer port is just clogged with food. It you have the drain hooked to an air gap you will want to check it for obstructions also.
Then try letting the d/w fill with water. After it's completed the fill cycle open the door and see if the water is covering the square rim in the tub. If it's not you are not filling with enough water. Again I see many times when an installer does not flush the water lines before installing the dishwasher and debris is blocking the water flow.
Instead of calling a Sears Tech go to the Bosch website service locator and call one of the servicers you find there. You'll probably get better service.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:02PM
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jakvis, as a fellow servicer, your suggestions definitely should be considered and are spot on! Most dishwashers (whether you spend $350 or $2500)are quite capable of doing a good wash and dry. This is contingent upon proper installation, the user becoming familiar with the machine.....like "READ & COMPREHEND THE INSTRUCTIONS"!!! Use good detergent and rinse aid.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:59PM
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I'll bet it's an extreme rarity when you see an installer or even a plumber "flush" the line for anything these days.

dixie - don't you know the FIRST thing taught in installer school these days is to "throw away the installation and owners manual" ???

The second is "spend as little time with the customer as possible"

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Dear Kaismom,

I am so very sorry to hear you say this. I have a brand new Miele that does not clean dishes either, and I've been around and around with their service dept. I know how frustrating it is to pay this amount of money for this kind of result...in my case, I want to sit down and cry.

I wish I had an answer for you, but can only suggest that you be assertive with their service dept. Does Bosch (or Sears) have some sort of guarantee so that you can return it for a refund?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 6:08PM
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At first our new Bosch wasn't cleaning well either. Our old one was terrific and didn't give us a problem for 13 years. Anyway, we switched detergent and now it cleans fine. We use powdered Cascade with Dawn.

Thanks for the post, Jakvis. I'm clipping this in case I have to troubleshoot in the future.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 8:33PM
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I had the same problem with my brand new low-end Bosch. Turns out the arms on the bottom were clogged up-- not sure if it's soap residue or food bits, but it's white. Now every time I run it, I check to see if the water-holes are clogged and poke with a toothpick which seems to work. Progress . . .

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:22PM
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Pigeen, if the filter was in place you should be getting debris in the spray arms but once you have it you need to clean out the d/w water system. It's easy to do.
Remove both spray arms and run a rinse and hold or a quick wash with out the arms. This will allow the tubes to flush and the filter will capture what flushes out. Will the d/w is running you will need to clean and flush out the arms at your sink. Once this is done you shouldn't have to do it ever again as the filter will not let even coffee grounds through it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:55PM
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Small typo on my part. My first sentence should say
You 'shouldn't ' be getting debris in the spray arms...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 5:12PM
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We had a bosch for awhile in our last home. We bought it in 1999 after friends of ours couldn't stop talking about how exceptional theirs was. We suffered with it for two years (dishes weren't clean, never dry and there was always a terrible smell). We cleaned the filters, had the service people out and finally gave up and bought a kitchenaid. The installer commented that he couldn't believe we were getting rid of a bosch for a kitchenaid! The new dishwasher was louder but the dishes were, at last, clean.

Kithenaid isn't what it used to be so we went with the Miele Excella for our renovation in our new home and find it to be outstanding.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 5:42PM
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I am one of those obsessive conpulsive consumer. I read my manual and make sure I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Taken apart the spray arms. They are fine.
The filters are fine.
Only a tiny amount of water in the drain when filter taken out.
The water fills appropriately.
I use what I think is a decent brand of detergent, Cascade all in one.
I also use Jet Dry. These are not the culprit.
This is NOT my first filter DW. I am quite used to using one.

One thing noted:
Interesting thing about the the cycle time is that it keeps increasing on its own. REG cycle went from 115 to 130 min plus in a few weeks. It is as if the DW wants to get the dishes cleaner but can't quite get there. I am wondering if the turbidity sensor has gone bad in this short time that I have owned the DW. Hard to believe. Will call the Bosch support techs. The Sears people are rather worthless IMHO.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:30PM
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Everyone either loves or hates their Bosch. Seems split. My best friend got rid of his after several years of hating it and he loves his new Kitchenaid.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 12:29AM
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My kitchen aid was doing the same thing . It was just like your problem. Low water flow and it couldn't clean the dishes. The problem was under the filter at the inlet of the dishwasher's garbage disposer. I had to remove all the internal plumbing in the dishwasher which includes the lower, mid and upper wash-arms. The plumbing had all kind of debris impacted behind it so you get to clean all that. Inspect and clean ever wash arm hole. Here is what I think you haven't done. Remove the filter plate. Which is usually held in with anti tamper head screws. If you don't have them you can buy them at Sears and home improvement stores( (screwdriver bit set) Use that term with a search on Amazon to get a good idea of the pricing). Under that plat is where I found the problem. The inlet to the garbage disposer more or less had a beaver dam of debris composed of things from little bones to nut shells the most dangerous of them all SHARDS OF BROKEN WINE GLASSES which are about 100% invisible in the water DO NOT CUT YOURSELF. Use a bamboo skewer and tweezers to dislodge and remove the glass.
I had to do this to all my dishwashers over the year. One more important thing when removing the ant tamper screws remember which hole each came out of they change lengths and diameters on some machines also piratically take note on how it comes apart because taking thing apart is simple it putting them back together is where I always run into problems. It not hard just pay attention.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:00AM
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tommy - have you always had domestic models that have grinders in them? I don't think seeing nut shells , bones and glass is possible deep inside the euro models as that stuff won't pass through the filters.

festus - my opinion about that sentiment is that is due to 1. the high expectation folks have for Bosch because they have earned a good reputation over the years and 2. they are now trading on that rep and offering a few models worthy of that rep while at the same time peddling "value engineered" units to sell at 500 bucks. The majority are now buying the lower end models but still think they are getting the high quality units because "hey it's a Bosch - they're good"

mom- how much detergent are you using and about halfway through a cycle is the water in the unit still really hot?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Regarding water temperature:
I was under the impression that the wash temperature is maintained with the internal water heater. Is this not true?

Detergent amount: I was using 1 to 2 tablespoon. I will up it. For many years, I was using Electrasol tabs broken in 1/2. I will go back to that and see if that gives me a better result.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 11:06AM
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"Is this not true? "

supposed to be, but if your heater is out and you wash in lukewarm or cold water then that could explain not so clean dishes.

time + detergent + hot water = clean dishes. The amounts of each are part science, part art , part voodoo and part luck.

verify heater is working, up detergent a bit at a time and make sure you don't load items so water can't get to them. Tightly nested bowls or other items could prevent water from reaching the food that's on there. If water/soap doesn't get to a place it won't get clean.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 11:15AM
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Jakvis -- Thanks for the suggestion. But how do you get debris out of the arms once its in there? We've tried flushing it out from the center and from the outside -- even tried dental picks. That's why I now just poke it with a toothpick to make sure the holes, at least, are clear.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 6:28PM
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Pigeen, When you pull the arms shake them to see if you hear anything rattling. It takes a little perseverance but you can get everything out. Once it's all out it should never happen again.
If your still in warranty you may try calling the Bosch Customer Service to see if they will just send you 2 new arms verses having a service call to replace them.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Yes, water temp is maintained by an internal water heater. If it is not working then you will definitely see inferior results. I would not go fooling with your household water heater, I would check all the things you can check, (Did you check the upper spray arm feed port and tube as I suggested? I know this is a problem with Boschs because I have one and mine does it occationally. The way I can tell that the pipe has popped out is by examining the gritty dishes that come out of the machine.)

After checking all the things you can check, wait for your first gritty load of dishes to emerge from the machine, set them aside to show the technitian, and then call for service, demanding a tech qualified to service Bosch. If Sears won't fix the machine then call Bosch directly and see if they will help.

I have a machine very similar to yours and I KNOW that it is perfectly capable of getting your dishes spotlessly clean.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 2:06AM
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I think I have the problem solved. I am using "Sanitize" cycle with every wash AND completely filling the DW detergent container. They are now clean without grit on the glasses. I did not have to do this when I first got the DW. I think as I get to the bottom of the detergent box, the detergent is old and moisture laden (my guess). I will pull back the DW amount bit by bit and see how much is the optimal amount.

I also ran some loads with Electrasol tabs, and the dishes are clean with that detergent.

I was using Electrasol tabs broken in 1/2 for many years with my prior DW, and I recently changed to powdered Cascade AND got a new DW. I am going back to Electrasol. I think it gives me better results.

Thanks all for your help.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Ok good because I saw your post yesterday but couldn't log in. I was going to log in when I got a chance, to say that what you are seeing is ridiculous and that you shouldn't put up with the nonsense for a minute but rather to call Bosch in ASAP.

On that note, I too use a half a tab (miele DW tab but still just a half). Also, if you are completely filling the container GAAAK! When I was using Cascade, I don't think I used but a teaspoon of it - perhaps something more like half or 3/4 teaspoon (Yes, I did say teaspoon). Frankly, if you've been using this much detergent, I would actually run the DW - even empty - on a full cycle once or twice with NO SOAP to allow it to flush its lines. That much soap would surely have lodged somewhere? No?
I recall Rococogurl - 'nother user, 'nother DW - saying that every once in a while will run a light load in her DW entirely empty of soap to get rid of any soap residue - and this despite that she uses a half tab.

Good luck. Appliance debugging sucks.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 11:32AM
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I seem to recall in my KA DW manual it suggests running the DW on empty, with 1 cup distilled white vinegar in a heavy bowl in the upper rack. Can't remember the frequency - weekly or monthly, I think, to remove soap scum. Not a bad idea, even if you have soft water.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 1:22PM
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Holy cow, I cannot believe this thread. The OP has a six month old DW. It's still under warranty. If there are problems, get a Bosch technician to troubleshoot and fix the machine.

Verify the tech's experience before letting him/her in the house. I won't let "recent grads" in the door, especially on complex service calls. The consumer shouldn't have to guess, diagnose, clean arms, or any such thing.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 5:46PM
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Contrary to public opinion, all dishwshers will clean very well. All of them. As long as the installation is done correctly, and it's working properly. A previous poster stated all you need is time + detergent + hot water for clean dishes. Any dishwasher with a hot water heater and thermostat, like Bosch, will clean dishes WITHOUT detergent. Doesn't mean I would eat off that dish and you shouldn't either. On more than one occasion in my life, I have forgot to put soap into the container and have never had a dirty dish.

Could be anything but my money is on the sensor, or heater. You stated the cycle time is slowly increasing. This could indicate the sensor may have improperly calibrated when it was installed and is trying to recalibrate. It may never correct for good. Bosch tech is the only answer to correct this.

Or, the water is not attaining the correct temp. Did Bosch install a timer in lieu of a thermostat to keep cost down?

BTW, it is under warrany

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Could be anything but my money is on the sensor, or heater. You stated the cycle time is slowly increasing. This could indicate the sensor may have improperly calibrated when it was installed and is trying to recalibrate. It may never correct for good.

Oh dear. I don't have the time for this just now but this is just yet another GW-classic: an opinion uncluttered by information.

The above DW behaviour is quite the nominal. The initial or expected time that a wash in any given mode takes is based on a weighted combination of prior observations. In a new DW, this is factory set to some number. In your house, if your first actual wash - i.e. when the sensor believes the wash is done or times out - takes 15 minutes longer than the factory wash time - then the next time your turn it on, the expected wash time will be something in between the factory setting and the prior wash - a lot closer to the initial but includes the actual observed wash time. This second time, if the wash time takes 5 minutes less than the first wash (i.e. 10 minutes more than the factory preset), the estimate will again increase because it will factor in the two actual measurements of (F-15) and (F-10) minutes. This way, it will settle on some number that is the mean of all the previous wash times without chasing the last it saw to capture the mean behaviour in your house.

This is normal. What is not normal however is for a DW to clean dishes with truly no soap. As mentioned earlier, if your dishes are truly coming out clean without soap, you probably have soap residue in the system. I don't know about anyone else, but while I've used the rinse-and-hold cycles in DWs in the past, I was in no danger of confusing the load for a clean one. I think it is because I'm not overloading my DW with soap.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 7:14PM
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Kaismom - I thought you were only using 2 tablespoons at most. That's a big difference from filling the cup up. Old detergent too?

Folks - this illustrates a point I often make in a round about way and often not very tactfully. 95% of problems are due to operator error. This doesn't seem to be any different.

Mom - this is not a dig at you , many of these appliances require the user to modify their habits in order to properly use the new appliance. I believe if more people thought about it, they would conclude that high end appliances might ought to be easier to use or more adaptable to user's habit instead of the other way round.

Using the least amount of soap that will still yield clean dishes is a good policy on many fronts.

Prince - I think you should amend your statement to "most dishwasher" I have an entry level GE in the place I'm renting near a jobsite and it most definitely does not clean most items, it's very loud and is pretty poorly constructed being almost entirely plastic. The heater works correctly as does the pump, timer and spray arms. It's just a poor performer , but I'm sure it was very inexpensive.

Dianne gives good advice re: techs w/o much experience and complex troubleshooting problems, straight forward part replacement is fine.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Mindstorm. A couple years ago a vendor I knew had installed a Miele into his showroom. When taking the dishes from the older Miele and placing in the new, he did not add soap. Oversight. Clean as a whistle when done. Just maybe soap was left over from testing.

I was a tech (fact), hated it (fact), but was the best there ever was (opinion).

You are absolutely correct in that I offered an opinion but wrong in the sense that you completely disregard the function of this forum (fact).

Are you going to just give her facts? You can't. Nobody can. A forum with this type of question would no longer be. Questions must be asked, assumptions, although sometimes wrong, must be made. Maybe you are The Fonz and can just smack the DW and make it work.

Certain aspects of repair are not dissimilar from the scientic method (opinion). A hypothesis is a tentative assumption, also a type of opinion (fact). How can the original OP get information from this forum when her symptoms require a hypothesis be made?

She also states that her time in washing is increasing but your reply seems to indicate that DW's will decrease in time. Read the reply twice (needs my facts baby!) and it seemed overwhelmingly vague. And not every dishwasher does this the way you explain it.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 4:06PM
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My problem, then, is that your opinions sound like you are declaring fact. ;-) More than that, it is that many here (including but not limited to you and probably, to be fair, including me at times) sound off opinions that are independent of fact.

Not interested in getting into a philosophical debate about debugging especially since my reply does none of what you took away. I gave an example - which, contrary to what you understood, assumes that the actual wash times were MORE than the factory values and increasing at that - but I don't necessarily think there is any hard rationale that it must be asymptotically increasing. Not sure what I can say to clarify when I say "+1" but you understand "-1".
Now, not all DW makers may operate in the way I described above but I believe that it is a good, sound and reliable engineering paradigm to use to model expected behaviour - an ARMA model or moving average or windowed moving average estimate. Much more sophisticated and important data than dishwasher wash times are modeled and analysed on the basis of such mathematical models.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 5:55PM
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kaismom & others:
Keep in mind that upping the temperature and increasing detergent increases the possibility of etching your dishes and glassware. [Ask me how I know!] I have fairly soft water and stopped filling my Miele with any type of softener salt in an effort to counterbalance the etching problem while still getting clean dishes with minimal scraping. The old American DW never caused etching, but had a whole host of other issues. . . .

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 6:04PM
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I haven't taken the time to read through this thread, but oh I feel so sorry for you. I had to buy a new dishwasher about 5 years ago, and the truth is there are not a lot of decent appliances out there. My sister/law had a Bosch d/w and so I looked into Bosch before I made my final decision. I found a blog online where a guy that had worked for them for years was spilling the beans about what was going on in the company, and how they were cutting corners like crazy to stay up with the competition. I decided to spend that extra five or so hundred and go for the Meile. Five years of bliss so far. My recommendations made by Miele guy I will pass on to you: Never use liquid or cubes. ONE tablespoon of Cascade powder. Always keep the Jet Dry filled.
If your machine does not heat the water, run the hot water until it gets very hot before you start the dishwasher. Otherwise you are filling it with cold water to wash your dishes. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 8:29PM
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Yes all my diswashers are domestic.
I wanted to add that I noticed using a tankless Bosch natural gas water (no pilot light uses hydro ignition) the low flow rate of the dishwasher will not start the water heater. For me I guessing that the heating element takes care of this problem.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:19AM
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tommy - those Bosch AquaStars should be named AquaBlackHoles. That arrangement is notorious for giving on-demand water heaters a bad name early on. There are also problems with some of the new low flow faucets and some shower valves not through putting enough flow to start those units too. Best to replace with a Noritz, Takagi, or Rinnai.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 7:34PM
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I hate my Bosch dishwasher with a vengeance. All of the problems above. Smell is horrendous. Bosch servcing doesn't help but worst is having to reassemble all the "lego parts" they used to make the dish rack!!! What idiot invented this system? I have never been able to run a single cycle without them popping apart and landing on the dishwasher bottom. Don't know about the rest of you, but I bought it to make life more convenient, not to give me a colossal headache every time I use it.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 11:56AM
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After reading this string because I was having trouble with my Bosch DW I have to say the tips were terrific. I checked the arms for debris and many of the water holes were clogged with pieces of food (corn kernels!). I cleaned out both arms, and ran it empty with a bowl of vinegar in the top rack. One more kernel was found down under the food trap. I am thankful that these suggestions were here!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:27PM
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I hate my dishwasher too. I should have gotten the Miele, which I had in the past. But was talked into this piece of you know what by the appliance sales person. It is installed correctly and everything has been checked. The dishwasher has etched all my glasses and does not clean or dry. I never had this problem with my Miele. I started using the Finish tabs because that is what Bosch suggests. Well today I open the door and the tab is sitting on the door and not melted. So I am now running another cycle. What a pain.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:56PM
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I assume that this problem was resolved since this is an old posting. However for those like myself who also had the same trouble and hated Bosch; I found a solution. The spray arms are poorly designed and the tiny holes clog over time. Unscrew the "nut" attaching each of the spray arms and use an ice pick or something small to unclog the holes along the arms. You will have to tilt the arm back and forth and shake out all the particles through the center connection hole in order to clean it out. Run water through it to be sure it is clear and shake it until there is no sound and the holes are clear. Re-attach to the machine and you will have sparkling dishes again. I cursed the darned dishwasher for weeks until I learned this!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 3:32AM
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My Whirlpool DW manual says to run a normal load with two cups of vinegar sitting on the bottom rack of an empty DW every 2 or 3 months. That will clean all the "white" residue out of the DW. Another thing.....use hot water to wash your dishes.....and the proper detergent (I use Finish Quantum, contains Jet Dry). Hope all who were having trouble with getting dishes clean have solved their problems. By the way, I lived in an rented apartment with a Bosch DW for six years.....loved it and it got the dishes so clean....water was hot.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:18PM
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