Your dishwasher has one purpose — and the name says it all. You expect to open the dishwasher's door and find perfectly cleaned plates, bowls, and silverware. So when there's gunk, debris, and random food particles stuck to your dinnerware, you know that something isn't right.

Why is your dishwasher failing at its one and only job? The answer to this question isn't always easy or straightforward. There are several different issues at play, some of which are minor and others that are serious enough to require a replacement. Knowing what can go wrong with your dishwasher is the first step in piecing together the problem.

If your dishwasher isn't getting your dishes, silverware, pots, and pans clean, take a look at what some of the possible causes are. Even though you might not be able to fix the problem yourself, you will know whether you need to call a professional appliance repair technician or not.

Water Inlet Valve Issues
When water can't get into your dishwasher, the appliance can't fill. What happens when a dishwasher doesn't fill properly? There isn't enough water to clean your dishes.

Keep in mind, a stuck or faulty inlet valve may still allow some water in. This may trick you into thinking that there isn't an inlet issue. But when the valve doesn't allow enough water in to fill the machine to where it's supposed to (this will vary depending on your appliance), your dishes may come out with food and debris still stuck to them.

Hard Water Woes
Your glasses aren't gunk-covered, but they also aren't completely clean. This issue may have very little to do with the appliance itself. The real culprit may be the water. That's right, you may have hard water. Hard water is mineral rich, meaning that it has a higher concentration of minerals than pure water.

While hard water isn't a dishwasher problem, it can cause problems in your dishwasher. If you notice a filmy buildup inside of your appliance and on your glassware, chances are that you have hard water.

If left unchecked and untreated, your dishwasher's ability to do its job can seriously suffer as a result. This may mean that you start seeing more than just hard water spots and streaks. You may end up finding food particles on plates or pots and pans, leaving them looking like they've never been through the wash cycle.

Cleaning your dishwasher regularly can remove mineral buildup and stop problems before they start. You can also try a dishwasher detergent that has a water softener or a rinse aid in it. For a bigger fix, a whole-home water softener can stop the mineral buildup in your dishwasher and anywhere else that the taps flow.

Drain Filter Flubs
Your dishwasher has a drain. And like any other drain in your home, filling it with large food particles and other debris can cause a major clog. Luckily, your dishwasher has a drain filter to stop this from happening. It catches the potential problem pieces, stopping a clog before it starts.

To keep your machine working and draining properly, you need to clean the filter. Forgetting to do so for long periods of time leads to a buildup that prevents drainage. When your dishwasher can't drain, the food particles wash back up and redeposit on your plates, glasses, and anything else in the appliance.

Spray Arm Immobility
The spray arm does what the name says — it sprays. More specifically, it sprays water and detergent on your dishes, cleaning them. Plastic spray arms can warp or crack. Metal arms can bend or break. Along with these issues, the holes that the water sprays from can become blocked. If this happens, water can't come out with enough force to clean your dishes.

Do you need professional help repairing your dishwasher's spray arm? Whether you have a problem with this or with something else, Arrow Appliance Repair can help your dishwasher do its job and get your dish- and glassware clean.