Dishwasher Residue: Get Rid of Grime

Clean and Prevent Dishwasher Residue

Have you ever opened your dishwasher expecting to find sparkling clean dishes, but instead noticed a white residue on your dishes? There are different reasons why dishwasher residue might appear on your dishes. Fortunately, there are simple ways to clean and prevent dishwasher residue no matter what caused it.

Residue Reason #1: Hard Water

If you have hard water in your area, then some of the minerals in your water will certainly stay behind on your dishes after you run a wash cycle. You may not notice them at first, but over time, hard water deposits will build up in your dishwasher and you’ll start to see the white dishwasher residue.

Residue Remedy: Vinegar

Vinegar can do almost anything in the kitchen, so it’s no surprise that it’s our go-to solution for dishwasher residue. First, empty your dishwasher and start a regular wash cycle with no detergent. One the dishwasher has filled with water, open the dishwasher door and pour in 16 ounces of distilled white vinegar. Close the door and resume the cycle. The slightly acidic nature of the vinegar will break down the hard water deposits so they’ll be easier to wash away. The next time you do a load of dishes after this treatment, you shouldn’t see any dishwasher residue. Do this every few months to keep hard water build-up away.

Residue Reason #2: Detergent

If your dishwasher detergent doesn’t completely dissolve, then you’ll see white residue on your dishes in the form of undissolved soap.

Residue Remedy: Check the Hot Water Heater

Dishwasher detergent is designed to dissolve in hot temperatures. The temperature of the water coming into your dishwasher should be between 120 and 150-degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is any cooler, then the detergent will not dissolve properly and you’ll find white detergent residue on your dishes. First, check your hot water heater and make any adjustments, if necessary. If your water heater is set properly, then you’ll want to make sure that every wash starts with the hottest water possible. To do so, run the hot water on your kitchen sink until it gets as hot as possible, then start up the dishwasher. If you’re still seeing residue, then you may be using too much detergent, which is a common dishwasher mistake. Try using half the amount of detergent you usually use.

Residue Reason #3: Etching

If the dishwasher residue feels gritty to the touch, then it may be undissolved powdered detergent, which you can wash away by hand. The more common reason is something called etching. Etching occurs when tiny bits of soap powder scratch your dishes. If you run your finger along a dish that has etching, then it will feel gritty to the touch, almost as if there’s something on it. And if you run the dish under water and still feel it, then you know it’s a permanent problem.

Residue Remedy: Liquid Detergent

Unfortunately there’s no way to undo etching that’s already occurred, but you can prevent future etching damage by using a liquid detergent.

Use a Rinse Aid for Residue?

Another option for preventing dishwasher residue is to use a commercial rinse aid. Some people doubt their effectiveness, but rinse aids enable more water to rinse off your dishes. And the more water that runs off your dishes, the less chance for residue to get left behind.

Of course, the best way to get clean dishes is to start with a high-quality dishwasher. Reno’s Appliances is proud to carry an extensive inventory of world-class brands that are known for dependability and durability like Frigidaire, Bosch, and Whirlpool. Plus, we have portable dishwashers, which are perfect for small spaces. Stop by our showroom in Paterson, NJ to view our selection.