24 answers

White Residue from Dishwasher

Lately, my dishwasher has started leaving a very filmy white coating on the dishes, glasses & silverware. The rinse aid is full and I have not switched detergents or anything like that. I always use a liquid detergent. Does anyone know why this is happening and/or what to do about it? The dishwasher is not that old (maybe 5-7 years old) and I'm not sure if it is headed south or if there is something I need to do. Thanks!

OK--WHERE is the "food trap"????

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Featured Answers

I have had the same problem. I looked on the PAWC website-- it says that the water for southern Allegheny and Washington Counties has increased contaminants lately, not harmful, but can lead to hard water buildup. How about that!
Here's a link:



1 mom found this helpful


The same thing happened to me recently and I was advised that I was using too much detergent in the dishwasher. Also, I ran 1 cup white vinegar through the cycle (in empty dishwasher) and it did help. So maybe if you try the vinegar, then cut back on the amount of detergent you're using, it might help.
Good luck,
E. B

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I'm kind of guessing that you aren't getting th esoap out of system, and that it's probably built up over the years. Try running it with no soap, and no dishes inside, and use TANG where you would normally fill it with soap. the acidity in it cleans hard water stains, and it just might help clean out the tubing that is apparently not so clean. ??

I've never used a rinse aid, so I can't speak to that. Our dishwasher is 9 years old, and runs the same as it did when it was new. We do get hard water stains periodically, however, and that's how the water treatment people said to take care of it. :-)

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Weird, me too. I read through your responses and see many other "me too's" I wonder if everyone is in the South Hills?
I thought it was bc I recently switched to a cheap liquid I found at Aldi's. Prior to that I have been using the Cascade and Electrasol drop ins and never had a problem.
What the heck is going on?

1 mom found this helpful

do you add salt to your water? i know when i need to add salt i get that

1 mom found this helpful

I believe it means that you have hard water. I had the same issue and i called my repair man bc i had just started to put all of my daughters bottle and the accessories in the dishwasher and was worried about the residue and was hand washing everything. The guy that does all my appliance repair sells a dishwasher shock in his store that worked liked a charm. I can give you his information if you'd like. Oh and our dishwasher is about 10 years old. He said that there was no reason to replace it and i appreciated his honesty.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
I haven't had time to read the other responses, so sorry if this is a repeat. It sounds like hard water build up. If you have a water softner it is definately out of salt. If you do not have a water softner, then the hard water deposits build up inside the dishwasher, which in turn is leaving that film on your dishes. Before we got our water softner we were told to run a few cycles of CLR thru our dishwasher to remove some of the lime build up.
Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

sometimes the dishwasher needs to be cleaned without anything in it. i think that i saw something on the market that you can buy that cleans your dishwasher. i would try that. sometimes just like your coffee maker,the dishwasher will get build up in it.

1 mom found this helpful

I am getting that too with my dishwasher, so I will be interested to hear the replies you get.

1 mom found this helpful


It is quite possible you have hard water. This means that you have minerals or other materials in your water that may be depositing on your dishes. Call Culligan or another company that makes water softners in your area. They will likely come out for free and check your water. Be aware that they will likely want to sell you a softner. We have had a Kinetico softner for about 12 years now. Our water was three times harder than it should be. Our neighbors have had to replace appliances or piping because they build up with residue and it's hard to clean them.

It's worth a check...

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