KDTM354ESS: finding the *large* filter
If you have a KitchenAid KDTM354ESS dishwasher and, like me, have been frustrated that no one seems to acknowledge that your dishwasher filters don’t look like the standard filters, this post is for you.
Here is the easy-to-find little filter.
After removing and cleaning it regularly, I started to feel, “I have dramatic problems, but cleaning this filter doesn’t seem like a dramatic solution.”
There is indeed another, large filter in which the little filter sits. It doesn’t simply snap out, however; it’s fastened by two screws.
You will need a screwdriver with this head, which is like a six-sided Phillips but is apparently called Torx.
If you’re lucky, you have one of these somewhere in your tool cupboard. I have two that were included among the multi-heads on a magnetic screwdriver. The dishwasher screws used the smaller size of the two.
After removing the screws, you need to lift this filter slightly and slide it toward the left to free it from a small plastic arm that points northwest (north is into the dishwasher). Grab the filter by the south edge of the opening that the little filter used to cover.
YMMV, but when I removed the large filter, it revealed a sight dramatic enough even for me.
Removing the upper spray arm — easy
Removing the upper spray arm from the upper rack turns out to be easy. It’s just a matter of managing the clips that hold it in place.
Push them up, off the wires of the rack, then squeeze the two sides of each clip toward each other so that you can pull them down clear of the rack.
It was worth doing for me. The back connection to the water supply had collected (grown?) a lot of gunk. If circumstances were different, I’d like to take this assembly outside and blast water from a garden hose through it. As it was, I flushed it with water in the kitchen sink. I’m sure there’s still gunk in the spray arms proper. Nevertheless, the situation is much improved.
I was tempted to pry off the white plastic back cover, but it didn’t snap off easily with mild force; so I decided to leave it alone.
For cleaning around the pivot it’s useful to have a wire tool — I used a 9-inch length of florist’s wire — for digging out gunk. Otherwise, you end up chasing it around and around until you’re pretty fed up.
Removing the upper rack — pretty easy
This video tells you everything you need to know about removing the upper rack, taking apart the complicated assemblies at the sides of the rack, putting them back together, and reinstalling the rack.
I didn’t take things apart completely, only as far as taking the rack out and removing the boxy things (the latter start at 0:40 in the video). Those had trapped a lot of gunk. I cleaned the rest of the side assemblies in place, which was time consuming because of the nooks and crannies but otherwise straightforward.
This dishwasher series is complete!