Dishwashers are convenient appliances that minimize the amount of work you need to do at home. However, if your dishwasher leaves white film on your plates, it can do the opposite of washing dishes. Here's how to clean the appliance that does the cleaning!
Why My Dishwasher is Leaving White Residue on Dishes
More often than not, that white film coating the bottom of your dishwasher, as well as your dishes, are mineral deposits caused by hard water. Hard water contains dissolved minerals in it, which is left behind after the water evaporates. Most homes can eradicate hard water stains with a water softener, but getting rid of the white residue is the first step.
Hard water isn't the only culprit. Your dishwasher detergent may be to blame for the white residue on your dishes. Low quality liquid detergent, powdered detergent, or dishwasher pods may leave white streaks on your dishes after washing them. Using too much detergent can also leave white residue on your dishes.
How to Get Rid of White Residue in Dishwasher
Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher
Start with an empty dishwasher. Remove all the dishes and racks inside, and wash the racks separately with soap and hot water to remove any grime or stains. Removing the racks will help you get into the nooks and crannies of the dishwasher to clean the interior thoroughly.
Step 2: Spray Vinegar
Place vinegar in a spray bottle, and give your dishwasher a spritz. Spray around the dishwasher spray arms, the bottom of the dishwasher, and even the racks if they have mineral deposits on them. Vinegar is acidic, and will dissolve the mineral deposits left behind. It will also cleqan and refresh your dishwasher.
Alternatively, you can use lemon juice instead for a refreshing scent. The natural citrus oils will help dissolve and remove mineral deposits caused by hard water, and clean your appliance if your dishwasher leaves white residue.
Step 3: Add Baking Soda
Besides your acidic additive, it is a good idea to add baking soda to the dishwasher to lift away tough stains and grime. Baking soda will help soften the mineral deposits, and clear the clogs in your dishwasher. Sprinkle baking soda all over the dishwasher interior, and on the dishwasher racks if necessary.
Step 4: Let it Sit
Let the solution sit for at least one hour, or overnight for heavily-stained dishwashers. Use a scrub brush to loosen the grime from your dishwasher, and place the racks back into position to prepare the appliance for a wash cycle.
Step 5: Run a Rinse Cycle
Run a rinse cycle to clean the dishwasher, and remove traces of cleaning agent. Add a rinse aid with a citric acid additive to prevent further mineral deposits from affecting your dishwasher. Use hot water to soften the white, chalky residue, and make them easier to rinse off.
Step 6: Dry the Dishwasher
Open the door to your dishwasher, and pat the interior dry with a kitchen towel. Face a fan to your dishwasher, and let the interior air dry completely before using it to prevent mold from forming. You may also use the jet dry function on your dishwasher, but doing so consumes more energy.
Tips to Keep Dishwasher Clean
The best way to prevent your dishwasher from leaving a white film on your dishes is to keep the dishwasher clean. To do so, you should be using a water softener, or including a rinse aid with an acidic additive to prevent mineral buildup. Here are a couple of tips to help you:
- Minimize your use of dishwasher detergents. Using too much detergent can leave gritty residue. If your dishwasher leaves white residue on your plates, chances are your dishwasher detergent is of low-quality, or you may be using too much dishwashing detergent.
- Use a rinse aid on your final rinse cycle. Rinse aids help prevent streaks on your dishes after cleaning, and will help remove those white film residues on your dinnerware.
- Find the source causing mineral deposits. If the source is hard water, consider using a water softener. If the source is your detergent, consider switching to a different brand, or clean with dishwasher salt added to avoid causing mineral deposits.
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