Bosch SHX45MO5UC Not Cleaning Properly - Frustrated

parkie37January 5, 2012

About four years ago I started reading posts here for a new dishwasher. I had followed lots of threads about other appliances and had been happy with our purchases, especially our Viking 30" gas range.

One day while walking through the local Sears, on the way back to the car, I noticed that they had a Bosch dishwasher on a 48 hour sale that was quite a deal. It is the SHX45MO5UC and was $1400, on sale for $1000. I could take the floor demonstrator or I could wait for a new one, which would arrive a couple of weeks later. I opted for the new one.

My wife hates it and has always hated it : ( Here is why.....

The bottom rack won't go into the machine unless it is PERFECTLY lined up. We have owned other brands over the years and not had to be microscopically accurate in our lining up of the lower rack. Almost every time, you hear a small crash, a curse and then a slower sliding in of the rack. Sigh.

Approximately two thirds of the time we have anywhere from 3 or 4 items up to half of the items have a film of tiny little bits of food or scum on our glasses. The white dinner dishes don't generally show this problem, but perhaps it is just harder to see.

Two sets of folding tines on the lower rack have lost their clips, so they tend to fall over or cause dishes in that part of the lower rack to fall over. I have put the cutlery holder in that location to hold them in place. We haven't purchased replacement clips because my wife doesn't like the DW and doesn't want to keep it.

The design of the tines is so close that we have a hard time fitting items properly. Having the ability to fold them down doesn't add any flexibility as you have to now have an item that fits in that small space created by the folded tines.

Like so many others before me, I am tired of thinking of the $500 Maytag that did a better job than this one. I can adapt to the different loading, even if I do admit that I hate this style of loading. I do love the energy efficiency and the quietness. I don't care about a small bit of water around the rim of Tupperware as a flick of the wrist into the sink gets rid of 95% of the small amount of water.

I just don't understand why we can't have every dish clean! We have tried all sorts of detergents. We get the best results from Cascade 'Stain Fighter Plus' with Jet Dry Turbo Dry rinse agent.

I have removed and cleaned both spray arms. No improvement.

My wife wants to sell this one on Craigslist and buy a Whirlpool Gold/Maytag/Kitchenaid, that wouldn't set us back too much. What do I mean by that? Perhaps $500 more than what we could get for this dishwasher.

I have been reading about people being unhappy with GE, Whirlpool, KA, etc. It leaves me feeling that we won't be able to find a good dishwasher! (No Mieles for us - too much to spend with two daughters approaching university age).

We had a service call years ago and were told that it was working properly. Seems like it shouldn't constantly leave a film of scum or small items, especially in the upper rear, right hand corner.

Any suggestions?

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I forgot to add that I regularly clean the filter. Probably once per week or more and constantly top up the rinse aid.

Lastly, the cutlery holder is a terrible design. Much too short.

The only thing that I haven't done is to replace or clean out the drain hose, as I was told by an appliance service man that it would make no difference. It seems like it is possible to perhaps have some blockage that might back up the dirty water. That might lead to the dirty glasses? Not sure. When the dishwasher is finished a load, there is just a small amount of residual water on the bottom......

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Most likely, you won't be happy with the cleaning ability of ANY dishwasher so purchase purely on features. As of July, dishwasher detergent no longer contains phosphates, which has severely impeded dishwasher's ability to clean dishes - white film and food particles will be part of life until the detergent companies come up with something that works.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Alice, I just don't agree that white film and food particles has to be part of your life with every dishwasher. We purchased a KA dw last spring and it cleans perfectly. No film, no food residue, clean dishes. I use Finish Quantum Powerball detergent and Finish Jet Dry.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:04PM
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I agree with patty - I now use Finish Quantum and Jet Dry and everything comes out super clean in my 9 year old KA.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Ditto patty0315....except my machines are 1 year 13 years old (if I recall correctly). Both clean wonderfully using detergents with or without phosphates. Powder or gel. Neither leave residue or particles and never have.

In other words, I completely disagree with Alice.

Seems clear to me there's something wrong with OP's machine and/or installation. From the description, I think they probably want a new machine anyway. However, if cleaning is the only issue, here's the deal: If that machine is working as it should, by which I mean 1) proper water fill-level 2) proper heat-level in-operation 3) proper detergent dose for load and water quality 4) working pump and spray arms going around freely 5) free/clear drain path 6) control board fully functional....your dishes WILL come out clean and you won't have the problems you've described. DW's are pretty simple machines. If they're operating as they should, the dishes inside will have no choice but to come out clean. I suspect something's being missed in the diagnosis.

Among friends and neighbors over the decades, I've noticed that detergent usually gets blamed first. Although I'm not in the business, among the DW's I've fixed or diagnosed so someone else could fix them, every single one worked fine once repaired -- and using the exact same detergent that took the blame in the beginning. Not claiming universal truth -- just saying.

From what you did describe, I'm suspecting fill-level and/or heat and/or obstructed drain path. If you get a new machine anyway, be sure to have installer double-check the drain path and use a new hose.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Which model of KA did you end up buying? I would like to go look at that one in the local store.

Although I am happy to hear about others that have had their older machines still working well, it doesn't help those of us that are trying to get a good one now : ) I would love to hear about relatively current models that have worked well.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Any new DW you buy will clean fine -- even the cheap ones. I would pay for quiet. My idea of quiet is 52 decibels or lower. Believe KA has offerings in the low-mid forties. Their guts are very much like my Whirlpool's.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:00PM
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I had been looking at the top of the line Whirlpool Gold and the top Maytag, but started to read some bad reports. Which Whirlpool did you purchase and have you been happy with it?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:19PM
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There is something wrong with your machine or your drain if you see standing water in the bottom of the tub following a cycle. The water level should be below the filter screen, with standing - but clean - water visible only down in the intake sump with the filter and screen removed. There may be something blocking the drain or you have a pump issue. You need to check the drain path, including the air gap to make sure that the hose is the proper size and is not blocked by some foreign substance. You can disconnect the drain hose and run it into a bucket to check for good draining. You can force a drain cycle on my Bosch by holding down a couple of the control buttons for a couple seconds. Check your manual.

Also, make sure that both the lower and the middle spray arms do not have gunk or glass blocking the holes. And there is a feed tube that supplies the upper rack spray arm that gets its supply from a port in the bottom of the tub. Make sure the feed tube is secured firmly into the port at the bottom of the tub or you will have no cleaning pressure in the upper rack. They sometimes pop out due to the pressure and have to be shoved back into place.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Parkie- I bought the KA KUDE60FX because I wanted the bells and whistles of all the options and features, including the cutlery tray and the controls hidden in the top of the door.

However, I know there is no reason to spend this much $ to get a good working dw if you want a more basic model. I love everything about mine, but have no doubt the models without all the options will clean as well. I previously had a KA but it was 11 years old and the last 6 months we had it it just wasn't cleaning. Food particles on everything. We had the serviceman out here 3 times and he never could find anything wrong. Finally had enough and ditched it. I loved the way the new KA loaded, so much more capacity than my old KA. I was turned off the Bosch simply because the tines are so close together I felt it would be a pain to load. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. One other thought- what temp do you have your hot water set to?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I am running a cycle right now, so I will check the water level when it is finished. I don't think that I explained myself very well. There is a little water at the end, but only down in the filter area. Nothing sitting in the bottom of the dishwasher itself.

I also should have been more clear about the spray arms. I mentioned above that I took them apart and cleaned them. I removed any and all debris from them and poured water through them to ensure nothing was inhibiting their flow. They spin freely when in use and the water spray is coming out properly.

I sent a reply to asolo's earlier response, but it hasn't shown up.

I addressed each of his points. Except that I don't know how to check the control board and I don't know how to check the correct fill level.

Otherwise, I was able to check that the water is draining properly, because I have to put stoppers in the drains of my sink to cover up the noise of the draining water.

The water in my area (Vancouver) is quite soft. So I don't have the hard water issues that some have. When the door is opened mid cycle, steam comes out and at the end, the plates are very hot. So it is producing plenty of heat I think.

The detergent is Cascade Plus Gel. I have tried filling it anywhere from almost empty up to over flowing. Best results have come from a 3/4 full detergent dispenser.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:04PM
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"Which Whirlpool did you purchase and have you been happy with it?"

Yes, happy. At least happy enough to have replaced previous machine with this nearly-identical one. 1-year machine is Whirlpool Gold GU2800...which is as close to 13-year-old machine as I could find. Only thing I don't like is their monumentally stupid design for a silverware basket which has this latch that opens too easily, spilling all the utensils out. I wired mine shut. Otherwise the machine's pretty much as good as anything out there.

Only caveat would the be the same I would say for ANY of them -- KA to Miehle. It's a machine. Something will go wrong with it some time.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:30PM
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I misunderstood, Parkie. Water remaining in the sump is normal. It should appear clear and clean as it is the last of the final rinse water.

You might, if you haven't already tried them, give the Finish tabs, either the powerball or the quantum tabs a shot. They finished one-two in Consumer Reports testing. I switched from Cascade packs several months ago myself and have been very happy with the results.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 7:06PM
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I will give the Finish tabs a try. Really our frustration is that the upper rack seems to be where items always come out dirty. I am starting to wonder whether there is an issue with the top rack itself? I just figured this out as I have been checking different suggestions.

In the end, my wife isn't happy with it (frequently states that she hates it!), so I guess that I have to find a reasonably priced solution for us.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 7:55PM
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" wife isn't happy with it (frequently states that she hates it!)"

Hated appliances can't live long in any couples' house. Never mind reason/logic/preference. Get a new machine. Let her pick it out.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 8:19PM
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I suggest you check to make sure the upper rack spray arm feed tube hasn't become dislodged. See photo below.

Make sure that pipe hasn't popped slightly out of place.

Grab that pipe and push down firmly so that it seats completely in the port in the bottom of the tub.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 12:01AM
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Well I have a much cheaper Bosch (SHE43 model on sale for $580) and I am SO happy with it! The dishes are amazingly clean with no pre-rinse at all (just scrape chunks). We have extremely hard water here too. Here's what I am using which is the same I used in our Whirlpool (which never really washed well at all and motherboard dies after 18 months old)

1. 1 tsp Lemishine granules in the dispenser (for hard water... helps the detergent work better in hard water)
2. Cascade Complete packet - the blue and green ones not the ones with 'dawn". Says "cleans 24 hour stuck on food" on the front of the package.
3. in the Rinse Aid dispenser, Seventh Generation rinse aid.

Also I have the extra heat dry setting on (check your owner's manual it is not a button on your machine but a combo of buttons to press) and I use power scrub setting to get the hottest water since I feed my cats raw meat and wash their dishes with ours and want to ensure they are sanitized.

First load in this machine I did try the Finish tablets but found they did not work as well as the Cascade, possibly because our water is so hard.

Not a speck on the dishes, glasses or silverware!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Well, last night I checked the upper rack spray arm feed tube and it is seated properly. Too bad! I have been hoping that we can find something that would allow us to keep this one.

My wife told me that she had found dirty items on the lower rack as well, so my theory about the upper rack has been shot!

We discussed the strengths and weaknesses and it came down to what asolo said. My wife just doesn't like it and wants a different dishwasher.

I did buy a box of 20 Powerball tablets and Lemi-Sense (sp?) and I will try those in my next few washes.

In the meantime, we are going to go down to the local appliance store and will bring three place settings, to see how they load into our next dishwasher. At the moment , we are looking at the Kitchenaid KUDE10 up to KUDE 40. I would prefer to have the separate cutlery tray of the KUDE 60, but it's asking price is substantially higher than the model 10.

For those that have the KUDE 60 or 70, are you pleased with the cutlery tray? Does it clean well? Any complaints?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Whatever replacement you look at, be sure to take some of your dishes with you and make sure that they fit the tines of the new machine. My stuff never fit well in the Maytag I had. The KA is more flexible but is not perfect.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 3:01PM
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I agree something is wrong with your machine. I have had 2 Bosch DW's one in our past house and another one in this house. First one is about 9 yrs old and going strong with no problems and present one is 3+ with no problems. When I purchased the second one the one thing I wanted different is the split silverware basket. Most times I only use one. I do agree the bottom rack has to lined up properly but I rarely pull it off the track so it isn't an issue for me.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 4:27PM
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Good advice! We are planning on taking 3 place settings, including cutlery, just to get a feel for how it loads and also my pet peeve from the Bosch - the cutlery tray. In our Bosch, our heavy cutlery always feels like it will fall out. I was tempted to ask Bosch if they would sell me a tall cutlery tray.

I popped into Sears Home today and had a look at some dishwashers, including Bosch (strictly for comparison sake), Samsung, LG, Kitchenaid and Kenmore Elite, which the sales guy said were built by Kitchenaid. Not all models, just the ones they have in that store. I felt the same way about the Bosch, after looking at their new models. Not too keen on the Korean brands as I love my Samsung TV and washer/dryer, but I don't hear great things about LG or Samsung dishwashers. I really liked the feel of the Kitchenaid, but the sales guy told me that I would get better bang for my buck with Kenmore Elite. He said that they had a model that was $2k last year and is now at a lowered price, with a sale on it, which drops it to $1399. Everything is equivalent to the top Kitchenaid, except no third rack for an upper cutlery rack. I don't know whether to believe him or not, but it seems to be the same as the Kitchenaid KUDE 40, which should be that price...... I guess I will have to get my wife to see how she likes the loading : ) That is the most important point!

Here is the Kenmore Elite DW that I was mentioning:

I would also like to know the difference between the
Kitchenaid KUDE40FXSP
Kitchenaid KUDE40FXSS

They are $100 different in price and I can't figure out the difference according to the Sears 'Compare' chart.

My head is starting to hurt ; )

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 8:51PM
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I love the cutlery tray. Everything cleans beautifully and it makes putting silverware away so easy. However, there are only 2 of us so I can get everything in the tray. If I have company or visitors and a lot of silverware I use the basket.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Do you find that the cutlery rack impedes the ability to lad wine glasses?

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 11:06PM
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Do you find the cutlery rack impedes the ability to load wine glasses?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 2:52AM
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"I will have to get my wife to see how she likes the loading : ) That is the most important point!"

Agree with this. You've already got your head around the money. Put her in the driver's seat with this decision. The benefits in the home will go beyond clean dishes.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 8:13AM
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I have the same problem with my Bosch DW. If you look at the extreme back side of the top rack you will see there is a plastic module. In the back of this are two holes. When you push the top rack into the dw, these two holes must line up with two things sticking out of the back wall of the dw. That's where the water for the top rack sprayer originates. If when you push in the top rack it doesn't tightly mate with the nozzle on the back wall, no water will be sprayed into the upper rack and it might leak and spray sporadically from the nozzle instead of the sprayer arm. If you take out the upper rack and turn it around you can see two rubber flanges inside. These have to grab the nozzle in the back of the dw.They have some play in them. I moved mine with my fingers and put the rack back in and got the first really clean wash in a long time. Glasses in the upper rack were crystal clear again, like when it was new.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:54PM
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I appreciate your suggestion!

I tried what you described and the first wash was a little cleaner.

I will say that the only thing that helped in the past was to use the Electra tabs with the powerball. When I used any other detergent or any other cycle, other than Power Scrub, dishes remained dirty.

Lastly, I think that one of the contributing factors is that the upper rack never stays tight against the back wall. It always comes forward about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch after pushing it all the way back. I think that the dishwasher is either bent or not mounted square. It appears as though the upper rack can't stay at the back. This is probably allowing some of the water to spray the rear wall instead of going through the proper channels and being distributed where it was designed to.

We also have noticed that the folding tines on the bottom are slowly but surely breaking or the clips that hold them in are disappearing! I don't know where they go, but it is now missing three or four of them and one whole folding tine.

Needless to say, next dishwasher won't be a Bosch.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:54PM
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