InfoHub: Kitchen

Dishwasher is leaving gritty residue

Ever spotted a gritty residue on dishes and other items after you’ve washed them in your dishwasher?

If so, don’t panic. This is fairly normal. Let’s review some of the common causes behind your dishwasher leaving a gritty residue and offer some helpful advice on how you can solve the issue.

Gritty Residue in Dishwasher - What Can Cause This Issue?

The first thing to do is identify the reason(s) behind the presence of the gritty residue.

Glass with a gritty residue on a rack in a Maytag dishwasher.

Some of the reasons include:

  1. If you are using a dishwasher detergent that is not made for the dishwasher. Try to only use automatic dishwasher detergents. 
  2. A clog could prevent residue from being filtered and discarded. 
  3. You may be using too much detergent per load. Rectify this by precisely measuring the correct amount of detergent every time.
  4. Regardless of what dishwasher model you have, it’s recommended that you perform monthly cleaning. This will help keep the tub and filters nice and fresh and make sure there is no residue buildup. One consequence of unclean filters is that they can prevent the dishwasher from breaking down food particles.

Hard water needs more detergent than softened water. It’s a good idea to know if your water supply uses a water softener and then determine how much detergent to add per load.

Someone places an affresh pod in the detergent compartment in their Maytag dishwasher. A package of affresh cleaner is on the counter next to the sink. The kitchen has a Maytag fridge and grey cabinets.

Consider using a specialized cleaner like affresh®, which is proven to remove mineral build-up.

Troubleshooting the Issue of Gritty Residue in Dishwasher

How to clean dishwasher filters
If the dishwasher filter is soiled it can prevent food particles from properly breaking down.

The filter of a Maytag dishwasher.

Follow these steps to clean a filter:
Clean the filters every so often to keep the dishwasher running optimally. The filters should be situated at the bottom centre of a dishwasher.

You can tell if your filters need cleaning by checking for one or more of the following:

  • Do you see any objects or soils on the upper filter assembly?
  • Do you find the cleaning performance less than desirable?
  • Do your dishes feel gritty to the touch after washing?

Some brands offer dishwashers with a triple filter system. This system consists of two parts: an upper filter assembly, and a lower filter. The upper filter assembly is designed to stop oversized items, foreign objects and very fine food particles from getting into the pump. The lower filter works to stop food from having the opportunity to cling onto your dishes.

Recommended Time Intervals to Clean Your Filter

per week
Pre-load dish treatment
Wash Scrape and Rinse Scrape only Do not scrape and rinse
1-3 12 months 12 months 6 months 2 months
4-7 12 months 12 months 6 months 1 month
4-7 12 months 6 months 3 months 2 weeks
8-12 12 months 6 months 3 months 1 week

You need to understand how to remove and reinstall a filter before you try to clean it. The first thing to know is that you should always follow your dishwasher use and care instructions prior to starting.

For a Maytag® dishwasher, follow these two steps to safely remove and reinstall the filter: 

  1. Turn the upper filter assembly ¼ turn counterclockwise and then pull it out.
  2. Lift the lower filter in the circular opening a touch and pull it forward to remove.

You never want to clean a filter with anything abrasive like a wire brush. This could cause damage to a filter. 

A safe method is to rinse the filter under running water until you feel it is as clean as can be. Use a soft brush if you have hard-to-remove soils or notice some calcium deposits, often caused by hard water.

Then reinstall the filter by doing the following:

  1. Place the lower filter under the locating tabs at the bottom of the dishwasher, lining up the upper filter assembly’s opening with the opening in the bottom of the tub.
  2. Place the upper filter assembly directly into the circular opening in the lower filter.
  3. Slowly and gently rotate the filter clockwise only stopping once it has dropped into place.
  4. Then you should continue to rotate the filter until it locks. If the filter can still easily turn then rotate it clockwise some more until it drops and locks into place.

The upper filter assembly arrow is not required to align with the arrow in the lower filter. All that matters is that the filter locks.

Careful not to damage your dishwasher as a result of not properly installing the filters. Ensure that the lower filter is securely in place and that the upper filter assembly is locked into place and unable to turn freely.

How to Rinse and Replace a Clogged Dishwasher Filter

  1. Start by rinsing it under a faucet. Next, carefully scrub the filter with a soft brush like a toothbrush and some warm water. Never use a wire brush or scouring pad as these could damage the filter.
  2. Lastly, replace the clean filter and then the cover.

Check Your Drain Motor and Drain Hose
The issue of gritty residue could be a broken drain motor or a clogged drain hose.

For Maytag® appliances, we recommend booking a service appointment to investigate and resolve these issues.

A repairman inspects a plate from a Maytag dishwasher. His tools are next to him and there is a plant behind him. Another man in jeans and a red shirt is on the other side of the dishwasher.

Some more causes behind there still being some water present at the end of a cycle include:

  • The garbage disposer knockout plug could be in the disposer inlet. 
  • Some form of obstruction might be caught in the drain or the garbage disposer. One solution for this is to run the disposer. 
  • Something is wrong with the dishwasher air gap, which is designed to prevent the dishwasher from creating a vacuum while draining by letting in air.
  • Review the air gap manufacturer's instructions to learn how to inspect for any clogs or blockages in the air gap and the air gap vent.

No one wants to open their dishwasher after it has completed a cycle to find a gritty residue all over their dishes, bowls and cups.

Why not book a service appointment and solve the issue as efficiently as possible?