I finally did the dishes this afternoon. It should have been done yesterday but I played hookie and went to visit a friend. We ate supper there so there were no additional dishes added to the pile last night and I told myself it could wait until the next day. If you can't tell I'm a huge procrastinator. While I was washing the dishes (yes, I'm one of those people who waste water by washing my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher, but believe me...I've tried not washing them first and they don't get clean. I mostly like how the dishwasher makes them shiny and dries them.) I started wondering loading the dishwasher is like playing Tetris for anyone else out there? I like to challenge myself to fit them all in. (probably another reason why they don't get clean unless I wash them first, cough cough*) Usually the most challenging part is the silverware but today it was the glasses/cups. Usually if I don't win dishwasher Jenga I will wash any leftover pieces by hand so I can enjoy having a nice empty sink but I really detest hand washing and drying glasses. They are all lined up around the sink waiting for the next load, which will probably be full! I wonder...can I put up a sign that says, "This is not a buffet...please do NOT take a clean glass for each trip" ?
I was reading through my dishwasher manual (and before you call no fair, I didn't get one...no they did NOT give us a manual when we moved into family housing. I had to search for it online and finally found our model# and found an English version of it. If you are living in Germany yours may or may not be the same model but you can find mine here. There is also a link on the left of my home screen.) and I learned that you are supposed to wash your central filters after every wash. Did you know that? I sure didn't. (probably yet ANOTHER reason why my dishes don't get super clean...) Hopefully my husband has been doing this at least periodically because I didn't even know about these filters! Then there is a large filter that is supposed to be cleaned once a month. News to me as well. I know the Army usually isn't as well organized as I would like it, and it's got to be difficult keeping everyone informed, but it would be nice if the Army would provide things like manuals to German appliances when you move in. Not everyone will go online to look it up like I did. Which is why I thought I'd post a quick reference cheat sheet to your German dishwasher.
- German washers are equipped with water softeners that use special salt. If the water is soft (i.e. does not contain calcium particles), the detergent will work more effectively and there will be less streaking on dishes. Hard water can also block the washer jets with lime scale and cause deposits on heating elements, which will reduce the cleaning efficiency, increase electricity costs and shorten the life of the machine. The salt can be purchased at your local commissary or on the economy.
- Three in one salt tablets do not activate the water softener. For optimum results, the reservoir should be topped up with granular salt. Three-in-one and 'salt action' tablets do not top up the reservoir and should be used in conjunction with granular salt for optimum results. Using granular salt will mean that you won't need to use as much detergent and rinse-aid - saving you money!
- DO NOT use ordinary table salt.
- Rinse aids can also be used to help keep your dishes shiny and prevent lime build up on dishes, and prevent water droplets on glasses and pottery to help it dry faster. I recommend using a German brand found at the commissary or on the economy to ensure compatibly with your machine. (We use Somat.)
- Do not use the same soap you use when hand washing dishes. I also recommend a German brand of detergent
- Clean filters to ensure correct operation of your machine.