Although the racks in a dishwasher are designed to help keep dishes separated and suspended during wash, an occasional accident or breakage does happen. Broken glass in a dishwasher can further damage both the wash tub and the dishes inside. If you hear the sound of broken glass during or after a cycle, remove it safely and thoroughly before it damages you or the unit.
Turn Off Dishwasher
When you hear the rattle of broken dishes or glasses in the dishwasher, the first step toward eliminating the problem is to turn the dishwasher off completely. While most dishwashers stop working once the door is opened, glass shards already in motion may spill out the moment the door is opened. Instead, use the dial and turn the cycle off, waiting until the dishwasher has stopped completely before carefully opening the door. Once the door is opened, survey the racks and walls for visible damage.
Before clearing the dishwasher, don all the necessary safety equipment. Each dish may have unseen slivers of glass, and jagged bits may protrude from the washtub or rack. Wear gloves and, if possible, long sleeves before entering the dishwasher with your hands. Keep small children and pets away from the work area with a barrier or verbal warning.
Remove Dishes and Rack
The next step in maintaining the dishwasher after a broken glass is the removal of the dishes and dish rack. Inspect each dish visibly for bits and slivers of glass and wipe down thoroughly with a towel. Gloves should protect your hands from glass but do not press too hard on the towel. Once you have removed the glasses and dishes, gently remove the racks from the dishwasher, leaving the washtub and washing apparatus bare.
Inspect the wash tub, including the door and door gasket, for protrusions of glass that may injure you. Next, remove all visible glass pieces and wipe down the walls, door, gasket and spray arms with a towel, removing any other small pieces of glass.
A small piece of glass can cause the dishwasher motor to malfunction, so clearing the inner workings of the dishwasher is often necessary. Remove parts of the unit including the spray arm and the floater apparatus and clean them thoroughly. Also, inspect the drain valve, removing any pieces of glass. Call a certified repair technician if you are uncomfortable disassembling the dishwasher yourself.
Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.