Miele Incognito Dishwasher; Just A Bit of Design Stupidity (In An Otherwise Awesome Product)

We have had a Miele Incognito dishwasher for quite a few years. Mostly, it is a wonderful machine; does a great job of cleaning the dishes and does so extremely quietly.

It does, however, have a couple of design flaws that I wanted to record here for other Miele owners to potentially stumble across when googling their frustrations.

Recently, or dishwasher would intermittently stop mid-cycle and flash the “Intake/Drain” light, indicating that the dishwasher either had no supply or the drain had failed. When this first happened, cleaning the filter basket was enough to let it complete the cycle (even when the filter basket didn’t have anything in it). Lately, the dishwasher wouldn’t even complete the initial drain cycle (the dishwasher always fires up the pump when first turned on to clear any sitting water).

Apparently, this is not an uncommon problem.

Once the filter basket is removed, there is a bit of wire that holds down the drain pipe on top of the pump impeller. For most with this problem, taking off the drain pipe reveals that the impeller is jammed by a bit of glass, a pit, hair, or other debris.

Not in my case. The drain pipe is actually not just a pipe, but a gravity/pressure activated ball valve. It exists to prevent backwash from the disposer or sink from entering the washer. That ball valve was entirely clogged with debris.

In particular, there was an olive pit wedge behind the ball valve such that the ball valve was barely opening. This led to bits of food being wedged between ball and pipe, quite effectively clogging the drain pipe. Once fully cleaned, the dishwasher works just fine again.

The real problem is that once there is any kind of problem in the dishwasher that prevents drainage, removing the filter basket causes whatever food bits that haven’t settled into the filter basket to end up falling into the pump intake area.

To avoid this, use a shop vacuum out any standing water (and food) in the bottom of the dishwasher before removing the filter basket.

On the inexcusably stupid front, the dishwasher — like most dishwashers — has a filter basket at the bottom of the dishwasher that is designed to catch bits of food and stuff before it hits the pump. The sump filter basket has a hinged bottom so you can open it up and clean it out periodically.

Unfortunately, the hinge isn’t actually a hinge. Miele’s designers cut a corner and the “hinge” is really just a thin spot connecting the door to the filter basket. Obviously, it is cheaper to make a single injection modeled piece than to actually have a mechanical hinged connection.

Expect the hinge to fail every 3 to 5 years. Replacement cost? $135 as of the spring of 2010.

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4 Responses to “Miele Incognito Dishwasher; Just A Bit of Design Stupidity (In An Otherwise Awesome Product)”

  1. Andrew from San Marino says:

    found your blog when looking for a part for our Miele Incognito dishwasher. We had similar problem with the washer stopping. Found it is it the detergent we used that came in a plastic wrapper that was supposed to dissolve. The plastic or whatever material that Cascade comes in doesn’t dissolve completely and gums up the Miele. We switched to Finish detergent which is a hard tablet without any pouch or plastic looking wrapper and the problem stopped. Our miele works like new.

  2. anna mason says:

    I found your site because I was looking for a solution to the same problem – the ‘inexcusably stupid’ design – the ‘hinge that is not a hinge’ on the filter basket. I can’t believe that such a great company as Miele would have allowed such an oversight. Anyway, I bought a replacement, but about a year later the new hinge also failed. We have lived with a tiny duct-tape strip that holds the lid of the hinge to the basket part. This worked for a long time, but I recently found the strip of tape lodged in one of the rinse arms. So, not a good long-term solution.
    Right now my husband is going to try fishing line; he will make a tiny hole in the basket and then secure the hinge with a knot -heated to secure it (using a flame?)
    I am hoping this works. If not, then I guess it’s another $150 .
    If anyone has a better idea, I want to know about it.

  3. Oak Brook says:

    we face the exact same problem. Except that ours fails every year. That means a new part, labor expense and an out of commission dish washer for month. Miele refuses to acknowledge the problem and makes us pay each time.

  4. Cathy J says:

    I have 2 dishwashers in my kitchen. Both hinges have failed on both dishwashers. I have not replaced them. I just put them back on as if there is a hinge and it clicks in to position with no problem. You can hold it upside down and it is locked in tight–it’s not going anywhere. Just take notice of how it is seated so you can put it back on the same way.

    Try it, it works…

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