36 answers

White Residue on Dishes from Dishwasher

I need help! I get so frustrated after running my dishwasher to find my dishes with white (sometimes grity) residue on them! We have hard water with a lot of lime (that we'll find in the faucet), so I'm thinking that's the culprit. I have used various detergents, and I use a rinse agent as well, and it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I've also discovered a thin layer of white stuff inside my dishwasher. Does anyone else have this problem?? And, is there anything I can do about it?

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all of your responses!! I have had dramatic results!! I decided to clean my dishwasher w/ LemiShine first (ran 2 empty loads)...but I still had some lime build-up. Since then, I have changed my detergent to Cascade Action Paks (w/ Dawn) while also adding some vinegar to each load. I have also stopped heat drying my dishes. And, I now have sparkling dishes every time I run the dishwasher!! I am convinced that the vinegar has a lot to do with it, because I tried using vinegar to clean out my bathroom sink (that had lime deposits in it as well), and I also saw dramatic results!! I am so pleased! Thank you for your help!

Featured Answers

You might just be using too much detergent. We recently had a repairman in who let us know that we really only needed 1 tbsp. of detergent to take care of the dishes. Everything has been clean and there's no residue.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

There is a product called Lemi Shine(the hard water expert) and it's wonderful. My sister over heard some ladies in Target praising this product and she bought some for me. I've lived in Frankfort for over 10 years and my dishwasher was full of lime. All of my glasses and dishes would be covered with lime. I used this product and within a couple of cycles my dishwasher looked brand new and my dishes had a shine that I've never experience since moving to Frankfort. The first two times I used it, I was told to actually put some of the product on the floor of the dishwasher to help clean the dishwasher and remove the lime. I really love this product. I will say sometime it's hard to find at Target because it sells out pretty quick. I hope this helps.

Little Tots Sunshine Childcare

I had the same problem and Lemi-Shine is the answer. I noticed a vast improvement immediately. It's at Wal-Mart and now I've just seen it at Meyer too. The directions say to put it in the detergent compartment, but I use it in the smaller pre-wash section (since it's more expensive than regular soap) and it still works great with the less than recommended amount used. I also use the regular dishwasher soap.

More Answers

You might just be using too much detergent. We recently had a repairman in who let us know that we really only needed 1 tbsp. of detergent to take care of the dishes. Everything has been clean and there's no residue.

1 mom found this helpful

We had the same issue from hard water - buy a bottle of Lemi-Shine, I know it's sold at Walmart, not sure where else, it's a powder, about $3.75/bottle, works great!

1 mom found this helpful

I have hard water also. We have a softener, but this sometimes still happens. You do need to clean the inside of the dishwasher. They sell a cleaner that you put in the washer empty and run it. That helps. I can alos only use cascade in the liquid form. I find that it works the best.

It could be from greasy pots and pans. Just rinse in HOT water before loading in washer. It also could be build up from granulated detergent. In that case, switch to liquid cleaners. It's a good idea to use liquid soap in your wash machine also. My nephew is a plumber and actually had to change out pipes from granulated soap build up in the pipes. Make the changes now. Run your dishwasher enpty a couple of times and wipe out well with Mr Clean or one of those cleaners to get rid of any unwanted residue first.

There is a Dishwasher cleaner you can find in the grocery store right next to the dishwashing soap. I forget the brand name but it is in a little white bottle with a blue label. You just put it in your silverware holder and rin the wash cycle when it is empty. I have used it a few times and it works well.

This is going to sound so counterintuitive. When you put your dishes in the dishwasher, do you 'rinse them clean'? I grew up being trained by my mother to completely rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. The habit continued and as 'dishwasher technology' improved, my over-rinsing caused my dishwasher to stop working properly.

Why? Soap is designed to move around the dishwasher and cling to the leftover bits and particles of food on your dishes. When there isn't anything to grab onto, the soap might cake on the dishes or, even worse, cause a clog so that the dishwasher won't work properly. Or, at least that's what the repairman told us when he came out to visit. It still felt weird to skip rinsing entirely.

If you haven't done so, try putting your dishes in the dishwasher a bit more dirty and see if that works. It's worth a shot!

It is hard water and I experience this too. I actually made my husband buy me a new dishwasher thinking that was the problem.
I read the iron out comment which I have never used, but I do use a product called LemiShine, it is like Glass Magic, but I like this brand the best. I got it at Walmart, and before that at Woodman's. Once your dishes are etched or white mostly on glasses, use it instead of your regular detergent, once your dishes are clean again, you can use half and half. Hope this helps.

You can buy a water softener for your house. You have to refill it with softening salt-type stuff every once and a while, but personally I have found that my dishwasher still leaves that residue. About once a week I hand wash all my dishes and that helps keep that residue from building up. I had blue plates that were almost white! But hand washing every once and a while is actually recommended for most of your nicer plates, so if you have the time that's the way I'd go.

As for what's lining your dishwasher you can run an empty (please note the EMPTY!) load with white vinegar instead of detergent and that should clear it right up.

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