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The Hard Water Corner

Common sense information about a common problem.

What's Wrong With My Dishwasher?

What’s wrong with my dishwasher?

About twice a week I meet people who are very frustrated that their expensive new dishwasher is producing such poor results. At $1000 or more for some dishwasher models you would expect to have a pretty fantastic result when washing the dishes. Well I understand your frustration and want you to know that you are not alone. The new high end dishwashers are great appliances with lots of great benefits to using them. However when hard water is running through the dishwasher you end up with the film, spots and build up on everything. Your dishwasher is working properly and is not in need of repair. And it doesn’t need a more expensive soaps or extra rinse aid products. It simply needs soft water.CAM00035

The newer dishwashers heat to higher temperatures than older models. High heat can be a great benefit it’s a non-chemical way to sanitize the dishes. In fact most restaurants are required to wash their dishes at temperatures above 140 degrees to sanitize them. However these high temperatures don’t mix well with hard water.Hard water occurs naturally when water flowing in rivers, streams and even through underground channels, comes in contact with the rock in the Earth's crust. Water then dissolves the hardness minerals into solution. When they come into your home they mix with oxygen or heat this causes the hardness minerals to precipitate to its solid form. Heat greatly accelerates the precipitation rate of hardness minerals and that’s why some dishwashers in our area look like this after just a few months.

The use of more soaps and rinse aids unfortunately won’t solve your problem. The only way to truly achieve spot free dishes and get the most out of your dishwasher is to improve the water that it uses. With soft water you will experience dishes that come out free of hard water film and no white residue in the dishwasher itself. You will be amazed at the difference of your results even by using only a fraction of the soaps/rinse aids you previously used.

A quick word on Dishwasher detergents.

Some, not all, dishwasher detergents will cause etching if you overuse with soft water. Soft water is incredibly more efficient than hard water and will only require roughly 1 tablespoon of detergent per load of dishes. However some detergents, not all, include certain ingredients that if overused will cause etching with soft water. We use the natural soap brands like Seventh Generation or Shaklee and we have fantastic results. You can use whichever soaps you like to use just make sure you are not overusing, by using as directed, and you won’t have a problem.

Let me know if you have any questions about this topic I would be happy to help.


Brad Berdon


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