Dishwasher Magic / Citric Acid

mcragerJuly 20, 2010


We've had issues with hard water deposits inside our dishwasher and on our dishes. It's a new problem. We've had the dishwasher for years with no issues.

Dishwasher Magic works great, but we have to use it at least once a week. Even that often, half the loads have excessive deposits on the dishes.

The active ingredient in Dishwasher Magic is citric acid. Dishwasher Magic is costing us at least $300/year. I just bought 5 pounds of bulk citric acid for about $25 including shipping.

So, now the questions.... Does anyone know how much I should use per load? Can I add the citric acid powder with the dishwasher soap at the beginning of the load? Will citric acid clean the dishes without dishwasher soap? OR - should I NOT put the citric acid in with the dishes, and only run it separately in an empty cycle?

Thanks much for any help!!!


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Use no more than 2 table spoons of citric acid crystals. No you can not use it with your detergent and you should not use it on your dishes.

Based on your description of needing to use it every week I don't thing you ever got the d/w cleaned out in the first place and nobody's water is that hard to require weekly cleanings.

Try this,, Run citric acid 5 to 6 washes in a row. Yes it will take all day but it should do a complete wash out of your mineral deposits. After this you may only need to run citric acid every 1 or 2 months as a maintenance program.

Also call the 800 number of detergent maker for the product you use and ask them for recommendations for detergent that will work better in your area. They will probably even send you free box coupons.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 10:26AM
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If you have a rinse aid dispenser you can try using regular vinegar. Works great here with our liquid rock water.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:02PM
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About the time I sent that message, my wife did a trial in the dishwasher with a full load of dishes. She filled the dispenser cup with detergent (Cascade), and added one tablespoon of citric acid. The dishes came out as clean as I've ever seen them.

What is the down side to adding it to the soap and using it on the dishes?

I have tried substituting vinegar for the rinse aid, it didn't seem to help.

Thanks for your comments!!!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 5:45PM
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I would spend the $300/year, mine is actually less, for water softener service. The hard water totalled our 9 year old KA Dw. It also makes a mess of the faucetts, the tub, You name it. In fact I got a call from one of my rentals saying the DW had "Smoked" it was bout 3 years old.
Tenant fixed it himself, scraped the lime deposit off the heating coil. So I added softwater service there too.

If I ever get new tenants , I wont spend hours scraping lime from tubs, replacing lime damaged faucetts etc etc.

We put on softwater when we redid our kitchen and bought the Miele optima. Soft water is on hot side only due to back yard which is watered via a connection thru the house.
But I'm gonna redo that soon too.

You can really see the difference, everything on hot side, faucett etc clean as a whistle, cold side--Yuck.
Anyway the best $23/month I have spent in a while.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:33PM
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The missing phosphates can also be added via STPP (Sodium TriPolyPhosphate). 1/4 to 1/2 tsp added to the usual dose of detergent should be enough (start with the lower amount, increase if necessary). STPP is available at and other sources. It's not cheap, but will last a long time at the small amounts used.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:48PM
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I'd love to have soft water too, but it's further down on our "want/need" list. (BTW, I never thought of just hooking up a softner to the hot water hubby might even be able to do that!)
Anyhoo, I just got a new dishwasher with the stainless steel interior, and found that if I use a tsp of LemiShine (found at Walmart) in the pre-rinse section of the detergent cup, my dishes and dishwasher interior come out SPARKLING....looks brand new each time. I even turned the heat cycle off and got the same great results.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:11AM
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I've been told in service training that you shouldn't use the citric acid with your dishes because it's too aggressive on the glassware and can create pitting in your knives, forks and spoons. It's ok for cleaning mineral deposits out of your d/w but just too hard on your dishes.

If you want to add phosphates back to your detergent you can buy Glass Magic which is around 12% phosphate. They get around the rules by claiming not to be a detergent.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 7:54PM
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