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My Dishwasher Is Leaving Specks on the Dishes

Sidney Johns

When dishes come out of a wash cycle, the expectation is clean and shiny plates, cups and silverware. When specks or spots are left, the cause may be one of several problems. Before calling a repairman, try a few simple steps to find the culprit.


When specks are left on dishes, it isn't always the unit that is at fault.

The cause of specks left on dishes after a wash cycle may be residual food debris. Certain foods are tougher to clean away than others. When food is stuck to the plates, cups and silverware, the machine may not be able to remove it completely. Solve this issue with pre-washing. Scrape off excess food off items and rinse under running water prior to loading into the dishwasher. Soak dishes with baked-on food in warm water to remove the excess before placing in the machine. Wipe off grease and oil before cleaning pots and pans.

Improper Loading

Specks may be left on dishes from an improperly loaded machine. Most dishwashers are designed with sprayer arms located in the bottom of the machines. When dishes are improperly loaded, these sprayer arms may be blocked. When blocked, water does not reach all the dishes in the load. This leads to specks and spots on the completed load. Avoid this problem by loading the dishes according to the manufacturer's recommendations. As a general rule, do not lay any dishes flat across the bottom rack or overfill the lower layer.

Low Water Pressure

Lack of water pressure to a dishwasher may result in specks on dishes. A dishwasher uses water pressure to spray away food and debris from the dishes. When the pressure is too low, the machine may not clean away all the leftover food. Lack of water pressure may be the result of a broken water line somewhere in the home or may be the result of the piping in the home.

Dirty Machine

A dirty dishwasher leaves specks on dishes after washing. Food and other debris from dishes can collect on the bottom of the unit and on the sprayer arms. When the cycle starts, the debris is circulated onto the dishes in the machine. Often, they stick and leaves specks and spots on the items. Clean the interior regularly to avoid this situation. Wipe out the bottom of the machine with a clean rag. Remove the sprayer arms and rinse out with clean water.