Help: interpreting hard water test strip from Bosch (or Miele?...

Derek87February 8, 2012

hello guys,

i hope i can get some help. i received a water hardness test strip in order to properly set up the water softener in our new Bosch 800 plus dishwasher. unfortunately, the manual is unclear (at least to me) as to what i should be looking for.

i followed the instructions of dipping the test strip in water for 1 second, shook it off, and i see four bars that are beige in tone. after 1 minute, those bars did not change at all.

so, what does "red" look like? is the beige really red?

neither a "zero" or "four bar" reading makes sense if i am to trust our water district. we supposedly have water that is typically in the 8-10 grams/gallon range although it occasionally can be more or less depending on the blend of well and other water sources. with 8-10, i would have expected 1 or 2 of the bars to "light up" at most.

anyway, i am not sure what to think. does the 4 beige bars (best described as flesh tone or maybe the color of a bandaid) indicate soft water (maybe it's a "soft water day" in our area)? i know for a fact that our water is moderately hard, as evidenced by the white residue that accumulates in our black dishdrainer, and other accumulations in water basins in our house.

can anyone else share their experience with these test strips?

i'm attaching a link to a photo, but it doesn't really show exactly what i see. the bars are much fainter or lighter beige than is shown in this photo with the righmost (towards the edge) bar being slightly darker...the second one is moderately darker, and the other two are faint...

but definitely not red or pink...beige...

Here is a link that might be useful: confusing test water strip?

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There's often some variation in water hardness, as it is blended from differing sources, or as seasons and rainfall change. I'm inclined to trust your water district's numbers over a cheap and perhaps "stale" paper test strip.

Two things confuse me: In your photo, the test strip is placed vertically; I'm guessing what you label the rightmost (darkest) square is the bottom one. Also, water hardness is sometimes given in grains/gallon (when it is higher), or in either milligrams/liter (or, equivalently, PPM). I'm not sure what "grams/gallon" means, exactly, in those terms; but since this will make a difference in your setting, its important to know.

You might show the strip to the seller of your dishwasher; presumably others have taken these strips in and I'm guessing everyone in your area has water of similar hardness.

Failing that, I'd rely on the 8-10 grains(?) measure from the people at your water district, and set the dishwasher for that level of hardness.

The only one of these strips I've used was for a coffee machine; it didn't show anything at all, so I used our local water board's hardness estimate, which is very low.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:05PM
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chac, thanks for your response.

- yes, you're right, i took the photo vertically, and yes, the darkest square is the rightmost square of the strip.

- yes, i had a brain fart there (often on these units ;p ). i meant to say grains/gallon.

- unfortunately, my seller and even the bosch distributor and general bosch technical support people (over the phone) have been of no help. i'm surprised that they can't help me with this.

so, you're right. i probably should trust our water district numbers and go with it. but i hope that perhaps other people on gardenweb who have used these strips could share some of their experiences.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Those strips aren't really the best product. As they age they become worthless.

If you want to get accurate results - get a proper test kit, or send out a sample for analysis.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 5:23PM
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