For the Love of a Grommit

Here’s a bit of information which shows the level of knowledge useful in a place like Higham.

This concerns our commercial dishwasher –  a fine tower of stainless steel gracing our back room behind the scenes in the kitchen. It accepts trays of dirty dishes and, minutes later (yes, you hear that right – just minutes) we lift up the lid and take out a tray of clean dishes. In a busy place like ours, it is a real asset. Mind you, it did cost a few thousand smakerooniers.

Anyway, recently the diswasher (or ‘Sharon’s Baby’, as we sometimes call it) has been unwell with dishes coming out dirtier than usual. All the right noises were being made, but Sharon, especially, was not happy with the results. On investigation, we had noticed that there were some holes in the wash arms – where something had obviously dropped out and have learnt one very important things about them. The holes (6 on each of the two washarms) house little plastic cirular grommits. Even if JUST ONE grommit is missing, the wash arm will not operate.

Now, we have two wash arms, one above the dishes, one below, and both were missing a grommit or two. They have now been replaced.

But it is interesting (and, admittedly, a little bit nerdy) to know how the wash arms work and why they will not work with a grommit missing.

The grommits are little plastic circular inserts with a hole angled a certain way, and they are keyed to ensure the hole points in the right direction. Why George? I hear you all ask. Well, it is quite simple. When all grommits are present, the washarm is watertight and water comes up from the centre hub and is forced through the grommit holes in a certain direction. This, in turn, er, forces the rotation of the washarm in one direction and the water spurts out of the holes, cleaning the dishes.

There is one washarm above, and one below the dishes, and the rotation ensures the dishes get washed from every angle. Because our washarms had lost their grommits, they were simply not rotating, and, furthermore, the water from their hubs was simply not being forced along their length andf not being squirted out.

Now we know that, we are more aware of how cleverly this dishwasher operates. It really is a feat of engineering that relies on all its bits to work. The clever way the washarms rotate simply because of water pressure is actually very clever. Amazing, though, how such a little plastic thing, in the shape of a 1cm circular grommit, makes all the difference.

This is what a complete washarm with its grommits looks like. Needless to say, if we spot one missing again, we’ll know why things aren’t as they should be.

You might ask why we couldn’t simply stick the grommits back in the holes. Well, several reasons:

  • We only found two in the chamber of the dishwasher – the others have been swallowed up, it seems.
  • The two we did find won’t stay in place in the holes.
  • We can’t stick them due to high temperatures inside the dishwasher and the fact that we can’t risk using glue that could poison someone.
  • It would seem the spare parts are desgined this way and you have the buy the whole blinking washarm!


We once again have fully clean dishes at the first attempt, and our Sharon is now a happy bunny, and that is what matters!