Angie's List: Take care of your dishwasher

      Your dishwasher, just like any other appliance you have, does take some care and maintenance along the way to make sure you get the full life out of it.

      So how can you get cleaner, spotless dishes out of the dishwasher?

      Tip number one: Check your detergent.

      "If you have hard water, the only thing you should be using is a powder," said Chris Sublett, an appliance repariman. "A lot of people like to use the tablets or the little packets and actually that is too much soap."

      Tip number two: Know when to pre-rinse.

      "You should remove any food particles that are the size of a nickel," Sublett said. "Other than that, you can stick dishes right in the dishwasher. They really don't need to be pre-rinsed as long as your dishwasher is working well."

      Tip number three: load dishes correctly.

      "If your dishwasher is one with one spray arm, you should only stack vertical dishes on bottom rack," Sublett said. "No bowls, glasses on the bottom rack - leave those for the top rack. That way the water is spraying around and the bottom spray arm can reach the dishes up top. Now if you have a dishwasher that has two spray arms, you can pretty much put them in there however you like."

      Tip number four: clean your dishwasher.

      "When you open your dishwasher and you see any white film built up on the inside of the dishwasher, that tells me you need to have your dishwasher cleaned," Sublett said. "You can do that yourself. There are several different products you can buy at the grocery store."