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How to Deal with Hard Water Problems in Your Dishwasher

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Hard water can have a number of effects on your home, but some of the most noticeable ones occur in your dishwasher. Today we’re going to discuss the different effects of hard water on your dishwasher and give you four ways you can fix the issues you might have.

What are the effects of hard water on your dishwasher?

When we talk about hard water, we’re referring to water that has high levels of calcium and magnesium. These minerals often come from rocks and soils that your water came into contact with before it was treated and sent to your home. If these mineral levels get too high, it can affect the performance of home appliances like your water heaterand your dishwasher.

Often the first signs that you’re having hard water problems with your dishwasher show up on the dishes themselves. After you run a dishwasher cycle, you might start to notice that your dishes are coming out spotty or cloudy. That’s because soap does not lather well when mixed with hard water. This is especially apparent on glassware, which will not come out as clear as you’d hoped.

The minerals in hard water can also build up on your dishwasher itself. If you notice a white layer of crust on the bottom of your dishwasher, it’s most likely calcium scale from your home’s hard water.

How can you deal with hard water problems with your dishwasher?

  • Soften your water. If you’d like to take care of hard water problems from the source, you can install a water softener in your home. A water softener will lower the levels of calcium and magnesium in your water and provide your entire home with softer water.
  • Use more detergent. If you don’t want to install a water softener, you might want to consider using more detergent when you run your dishwasher. Refer to your dishwasher’s owner’s manual to see how much detergent they suggest using in homes with hard water.
  • Add a rinse aid. A rinse aid will help take care of the spotty and streaky dishes we described above. Again, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual to see how much and what kind of rinse aid your dishwasher’s manufacturer suggests.
  • Run the dishwasher with vinegar. Vinegar does a great job of clearing out hard water stains in your dishwasher. If you notice calcium scale on the bottom of your unit, fill a cup with vinegar and run a cycle with the cup on the top rack.

If you have any questions about the effects of hard water on your dishwasher, or if you’d like a plumbing system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your San Francisco plumbing, heating and cooling company.

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