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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Second Thoughts About Bosch SHE33M02UC Dishwasher

I wrote a review about the Bosch SHE33M02UC dishwasher when I initially bought it over a year back. As I mentioned in that review, the dishwasher is quite expensive, but low on options. No delayed wash, no soak option, only 2 washing modes, etc., etc.

After using the dishwasher for over a year now, I have found a lot more things to be displeased about as far as the dishwasher is concerned. Firstly, the inside of the tub, which was one of the things I liked about the dishwasher, has become a dull white instead of staying bright and shiny. I have tried running the dishwasher with no dishes in it, I have tried cleaning it with vinegar and lime juice, CLR and other stainless steel cleaners, but none of that has helped. The inside is still a dull white, which makes the whole point of spending extra for a stainless steel tub quite moot.

The dishwasher does not come with a built-in food grinder. So, dishes have to be thoroughly washed to get rid of food particles before being loaded in this dishwasher. Any food particles that remain on the dishes end up in a filter at the bottom of the tub. This filter then has to be cleaned on a regular basis, or it gets gross or even worse, gets clogged making the cleaning very inefficient.

The lack of wash options is quite frustrating also. Initially, I thought I would not miss the options you would normally find on a high-end dishwasher (such as multiple cleaning modes, delayed wash, etc.), but some of them are quite useful. In particular, I used to use an option on my previous dishwasher called "soak and scour". Once you loaded the dishwasher and turned this option on, the dishwasher would load up with water, and spray it on all the dishes for about 5 or 10 minutes. After that, the dishwasher would sit around without doing anything for 10 or 15 minutes. Every 10 or 15 minutes, it would come on for about a minute, spraying the dishes with warm water. This would go on for 4 hours, at the end of which, the dishwasher would drain the water, refill with new water and start the actual washing.

This was a very popular option with me because I could load dishes after dinner and be done by about 7 PM. I would then put it in "soak and scour" mode, knowing that the actual wash would not start until 11 PM. In the meantime, the dishes would not get dry and become caked with dried-up food either. It was excellent for loosening up sticky food off pots and pans, and the vessels came out shining like new after a wash with this option on.

Since the Bosch dishwasher does not have this option, I either have to start the wash right after loading the dishwasher, or let them sit in the washer for sometime. Both of these options are problematic. If I switch on the dishwasher at 7 PM, all the glasses and dishes that come in later can not be washed until the next day. They clog up the sink and make my wife mad. If I wait to switch on the dishwasher until all the dishes for the day are loaded, there are two problems. Sometimes, I forget to switch on the dishwasher because I don't add anything to it later (even though I did not switch it on earlier thinking I would have stuff to add later). More commonly though, I do remember to switch the dishwasher on, but by then food particles have dried up and stuck on to the dishes loaded earlier, making it very hard to do a good job of cleaning them.

And that brings us to the next and most troublesome issue with this dishwasher. A month or so back, the dishwasher started leaving dishes very dirty after a wash. It was as if the washer was doing no work at all. The food on the dishes was exactly the same before and after the wash, with no difference at all.

I was quite puzzled by this. To get to the bottom of this mystery, I loaded up the dishwasher and switched it on after noting the position of the water spray arms. Whenever I opened up the dishwasher during the wash, I noticed that the arms where in the exact same position. Either they had never moved, or I was running on an incredible streak of coincidences. It turns out, I was not that lucky. The arms were really not moving.

The next question became, why they were not moving. It turns out that the holes in the spray arms through which water comes out (and it is the force of water coming out that turns the arms in the opposite direction, just like a rocket or jet engine) had become completely clogged up with soap scum! These holes were not large like on my previous dishwasher that never had this problem. These were tiny holes and it was easy to see how they could get clogged up over time with soap scum buildup around the edges of the holes.

I then had to use a knife to poke through the soap buildup to reopen the holes so that the dishwasher would start cleaning dishes again. This is just fundamentally bad design that should not have been shipped out of the manufacturer's research lab in the first place. Now, after I load the dishwasher, I examine all the holes on each spray arm, and poke each one with a knife to make sure it is not clogged before I switch on the dishwasher.

Oh, and by the way, the dishwasher consumes rinsing agent like crazy. I have to have a big supply of bottles of this liquid ready at hand because the dishwasher does not want to run when the rinse agent reservoir is empty. This is another reason to hate this dishwasher. I have never used rinse agent in a dishwasher before I bought this one, and my dishes came out as clean as this washer gets them. But now, I have to spend a lot of money buying what I consider a completely useless and frivolous product just to get this dishwasher to work.

Overall, I have changed my mind about this dishwasher. There are lots of good dishwashers out there at this price. Most of them come with more and better options to make your life easier. This one is short on options and convenience, and very long on expense, maintenance and clean-up. It is still as quiet as the day I bought it, but that is pretty much the only thing going for it at this point. I would not recommend this model to anyone, and if I had a choice, I would return mine and get a better dishwasher myself too.

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