How to remove sand in dishes on the top rack of dishwasher?

Updated on April 05, 2007
L.R. asks from Onalaska, WI
11 answers

Just wondering if anyone out there has a solution to this problem:

We got a new dishwasher in November, and all of a sudden I have what looks like sand inside my cups and other dishes on the top rack. Does anyone know what this is or how to get rid of it? Is there a part of the dishwasher that needs cleaning that I don't know about?

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Some suggest to anchor the plastic items so they don't flip over, sometimes the drain pipe gets clogged or lime residue in it and needs to be cleaned out and Drano did the work, while some suggest to hire a professional to fix the dishwasher.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Hi L.

I had that same problem and my dad had my put drano inside the dishwasher and it worked like a charm!! Sometimes the drain pipe gets clogged or lime residue in it and needs to be cleaned out and drano did it for me!! Give it a try!

A. D

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answers from Minneapolis on

We get that "sand" in the cups that flip upside-down in the top rack (and sometimes the bottom rack). I think it's sediment from the food bits that got pulverized during the wash cycle - normally it rinses away, but in the cups that flip over, the rinse water doesn't drain out completely and a little sediment gathers in the cups.

The only way we've been able to avoid it is to anchor the plastic items so they don't flip over (either pack them tightly or put something heavier on top of them.)

If you're interested in cleaning your dishwasher, though, there are products you can buy to do so. I've seen some in the cleaners section of Home Depot (I'm assuming Menard's, etc., would have them too). You put them in the soap dispenser and run the dishwasher empty once.

My ex-boss once told me that using Tang powder (yep, the orange astronaut drink) would do the same thing, because of the aciditiy.

- K.



answers from Minneapolis on

I had sandy gritty stuff on the bottom of our cups too. I called the service guy and under warranty he cleaned out washer with Glisten. It's a product that is hard to find but you can find it on e-bay. He told me to use a teeny tiny bit of washer detergent. Maybe a 1/2 tablespoon or so.



answers from Minneapolis on

unless there is stuff in your pipes that's coming in with the newer dishwasher motor, the "gunk" is actually your diswashing detergent not dissolving. Try liquid dishwasher soap and see if it makes a difference, otherwise, just make sure your bowls and tupperware are facing down so gunk and water don't collect.

Also, look at the jets inside your dishwasher-- make sure you're not overloading to prevent the spray from hitting everywhere it's supposed to. When we got a new dishwasher, it was so much more powerful, it would tip my lighter dishes back and they'd collect water and "sand."



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi L.,
I have it on my dishwasher that I can set it to start in a couple of hours.....I use Cascade Complete and set my washer to turn on at 3:00am, when the water is the hottest.

Good Luck!
J. N



answers from Minneapolis on

I have this same problem. I have learned to rinse the food and junk off the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I then use a very small amount of soap. I have found that powder works the best in my house and if I use to much powder soap the gritty nasty stuff makes my dished gross. So less is better. Since I've already rinsed the food off I'm really only needing a small amount of soap and the hot water to santize or get a good cleaning. If you try this and still have the problem I'd look into returning your dishwasher. Or you could run a test run with no soap and see what happens. I think liquid or gel soaps only make my dishes filmy and leave to much residue.



answers from Madison on

We had the same issue...just the top dishes had issues with "sandy stuff". We have a spinner that attaches to the underside of the top rack. We removed that, cleaned it out and put it back in. There was a lot of junk that had accumulated in that which was spraying all over the top dishes. Once we cleaned that there was no more sand. I looked up "dirt deposits on dishes" or something similar on the internet and found a site that walked us through removing and reinstalling the spinner.



answers from Minneapolis on

We got a brand new "high end" dishwasher and it left stuff on the dishes. We had never used a drying agent in the past and assumed our new dish washer would not need it. Upon calling, they said to use a drying agent and bam...clean, smooth dry dishes. I don't understand but I just do it now. See if your dishwasher recoomends a drying agent like jetdry.


answers from Minneapolis on

We had this problem with both our old and new dishwashers. We stopped using the cascade (both the powder and liquid would leave a film and scratches on our dishes) and we use the Electrosol 2-in-1 Tabs with JetDry. Wow, don't I sound like a commercial?! It worked for us and my confidence was reaffirmed when we ran out of the tabs and had to use the leftover cascade a few days ago. Gritty, filmy glasses again.

I do agree though that it definetly can be caused by too much soap or too dirty of dishes.



answers from Minneapolis on

yes I actually had the same problem in my old house. we had to have the plumber come and clean the filter thing that traps large plumps. I can't remember exactly what they called it but it worked like a charm. they just fush it out and it didn't cost very much. hope that helps a little, H. ayer



answers from Iowa City on

My mother told me years ago a diswasher repair man's advise to her was "never buy a brand of dishwasher soap with a name that sounds like rushing water" - so Electrosol is what we've always used. I've more recently learned that most of the tabs you can buy have more soap content than most dishwashers can use. I was advised to cut those in quarters - especially so if you are in an area where you have to treat the water to make it softer.

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