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Dishwasher leaving residue

Posted by weedyacres (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 30, 10 at 7:41

X-post with home repair & appliances, since I don't know where the experts hang out.

I'll start with the problem:
Photobucket

Our dishwasher is leaving a white film on everything, and occasionally a couple pieces look completely unwashed (still have food on/in them). This film does not scrub off easily.

The backstory: Our dishwasher is about 2 1/2 years old (new with kitchen remodel) and always worked fine. A year or so ago we used some inexpensive detergent from Aldi that left a white film, so after a few uses we discontinued it and went back to Cascade. Turns out the Aldi stuff is phosphate-free. The Cascade didn't get the film off the dishes, but it did get them clean.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Things weren't getting clean like they should, and more white stuff. Examination of the dishwasher led us to scrape scale off/out of where the water pipes into the dishwasher and also the holes in the blades that spin around. Minor improvements, but we're still getting white stuff and things not getting clean. We've run it on the hottest water/pan scrubber cycle and that hasn't helped.

Any ideas as to where else we can turn?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I guess I would start by using a dishwasher cleaner.

Have you checked your water temperature with a thermometer? The water needs to be at 140 degrees to clean the dishes. Some dishwashers will claim to heat the water, but they don't heat the water for the cleaning cycle, only the rinse/sanitize cycle.

Here is a link that might be useful: dishwasher cleaner


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I don't know if it applies to all of Washington state, but there is apparently a ban on phosphate dishwasher detergent. I guess some Washingtonians (?) are going across the state lines to buy detergent. Actually saw this on the news, so they must be frustrated with the lack of cleaning abilities of their current selections. Could it be that your state has banned phosphates and this box is new?


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Check the filter and pump area for clogs. It looks like it is not completely draining out the dirty water before the rinse cycle.

Watch it through a couple of cycles, and check the level of water in the tub after the pump-out stops from the wash cycle. It should be completely empty.

If it isn't, you have a clogged drain, a bad pump or other circulation problems


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Go to the Appliances Forum, there's a whole thread with 8 replies abut this problem.
Check it out.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Try "Lemishine". It is available on the shelves in the grocery store where dish detergent is located. It has worked miracles at my house!! (I have NO connection with the company...a friend who is a Sears repair person told me about it when I complained of film on my dishes)
HTH


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Are you using a rinse agent? After a thorough cleaning, start using one if you aren't already. There should be a dispenser in the door for it.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

16 states passed a law starting July 2010 that ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents. As a result all major dishwasher manufactures have reformulated their products. None have more then .5% phosphates.

Consumer Reports tested these new products in their September issue that is out now. None did as well as the best products rated last summer but several did very well.

You can't just buy by brand because the highest rated dishwasher brands Finish and Cascade also have products at the bottom of the ratings.

The four best in order are:

Finish Quantum (tablets)
Finish Powerball tabs (tablets)
Cascade Complete all in 1 (pacs)
Cascade with Dawn ActionPacs (pacs)

Finish gel got the worst rating of any dish detergent. Cascade with Dawn gel did very poorly, too.

I would stick with one of the above choices. The Finish Powerball was the only one rated excellent for dishes, pots, and no spotting and it was also a best buy.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Happyladi, how much bleach did the Finish have in it??? I use Finish powder, but have not tried the tablets. I have old dishes, and try to use the dw detergents with the least chlorine bleach.
Thanks for any info.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

The top rate Finish Quatum has bleach but the Finish Powerball tabs don't. The new Finish powder is rated very low. It got only fair for cleaning dishes and pots and fair for no redeposit. The Finish Powerball tabs are much better cleaners with no bleach.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Just curious....do you wash anything in the dishwasher with flour on it? We had a similar problem, but finally traced it back to the times I would make cookies, biscuits, cake or other products using flour. When the flour is not rinsed off "before" putting into the dishwasher, it will leave a coating on everything. No matter how many times I would wash the glasses and other dishes in the dishwasher, there would still be the coating. Long story short, we handwashed using Dawn, rubbing everything that had the film on it until it was gone. No more film on dishes (as long as we don't put items with flour) into the dishwasher. Just a thought.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Oh, I know ALL about this. It was driving me crazy for weeks. We almost bought a new dishwasher over it.

Yes, as a previous poster said LEMI-SHINE works great. It's a powder you use in addition to whatever soap you're using.

Interesting about the "no phosphates" law.
Hadn't heard that!
You don't happen to be in the DFW area, are you?
We were convinced it was due to the high level of chlorine our city water has in the summer. We tested our tap water with our pool kit and it had MORE chlorine than our pool!
Turns out citric acid deactivates chlorine and that's the main ingredient in Lemishine. We guessed that was why it worked for us.
Good luck!
(p.s. I am a regular mom and not associated with Lemishine. LOL)


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Right on Art Teacher Mom!! we are in central Texas and have lots of chlorine in the water.
Thank you so much Happyladi for the Finish information...I'll be off to the store to get the tabs!
I appreciate you all.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I'm one of the 3% of Americans who SCRAPE their dishes (as dishwasher manuals recommend) rather than hand-washing them before loading them into the dishwasher. Consequently, I require a dishwasher detergent that actually CLEANS THE DISHES.

After reading in the latest Consumer Reports magazine about the no phosphate detergents that are being foisted upon us, I'm really incensed! Regardless of the state you live in, it's now apparently impossible to find a detergent with phosphates (i.e., a detergent that will actually clean dirty dishes).

I've been using Finish with 8.7% phosphates and it's great. But even here in CA, where no phosphate prohibition law has been enacted, you can't find ANY dishwasher detergent which contains it. All the manufacturers have changed their formulae to phosphate-free. And as another poster mentioned, CU found all of the non-phosphate detergents wanting.

I guess my only option is to add TSP to a non-phosphate detergent. It seems like a goofy solution, but I guess it doesn't really make sense to modify every sewage treatment facility in the country to eliminate the phosphate components in their waste-water when it ONLY affects those few of us who actually WASH dishes in our dishwashers.


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Just to offer some of the reasoning behind the switch to 'no phosphates', I am copy/pasting this from another site...

".....Natural Dishwasher Detergents:
There are two primary reasons why you should seek out a "natural" dishwasher detergent. The first reason is environmental. After bubbly dishwasher detergent disappears down our drain, they are treated at municipal treatment plants, then discharged into nearby waterways. Most ingredients break down into harmless substances during treatment or soon afterward. Others, however, do not, and they threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife.
The second reason to choose a natural detergent is for reasons of health and safety. While the chemicals in these cleaners are meant to disinfect our dishes, many also contribute to indoor air pollution, are poisonous if ingested, and can be harmful if inhaled or touched. Some cause acute, or immediate, hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns, while others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer.
Below we have identified two common dishwasher soap ingredients that you should be concerned about....phosphates and chlorine.
Why no Phosphates? Phosphates are water-softening mineral additives that were once widely used in laundry detergents to enhance the performance of surfactants. They can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, and because it is corrosive, it can cause severe skin irritation. When phosphates enter waterways, they act as a fertilizer, spawning overgrowth of algae. This overabundance of aquatic plant life eventually depletes the water's oxygen supply, killing off fish and other organisms.
Why No Chlorine? Chlorine bleach is highly caustic and may cause skin irritation and redness. Its fumes can irritate eyes, nose and airways, and it can be fatal if swallowed. If combined with other cleaners that contain ammonia it can cause toxic gases to form. It is also bad for the environment. Chlorine bleach combines with carbon molecules, creating harmful organochlorines such as dioxin. Dioxin is a known carcinogen."


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Thanks for providing additional background on the reasons for removal of phosphates, prairiemoon. But I take issue on both fronts.

The environmental impact concerns are solvable with proven, albeit costly, waste-water treatment procedures. But cities would prefer to foist the solution onto their citizens rather than installing a more efficient, system-wide solution. And as in the case of the infamous low-flow toilets, there are unintended consequences. Years after low-flow toilets were mandated, Americans are still faced with having to flush multiple times due to a mandate that was implemented before the technology could accommodate carrying the waste down the drain with one flush, ironically wasting even more water than their "wasteful" predecessors. And similarly, phosphate-free detergents will require that Americans will be compelled to wash their dishes before loading them in the dishwasher in order to get them clean, a time-consumer and water waster. Fortunately, since most folks have been employing this wasteful technique anyway because they don't know how to load their dishwashers properly, the impact will not likely be as severe as the waste created by low-flow toilets.

As to the "danger" to consumers from phosphate detergents they use in their homes, this is yet another hysterical response to man-made chemicals from a naive and paranoid public ever willing to find hazards from every "unnatural" substance created by man. It includes unproven and unwarranted extrapolations of research done on animals and speculative theories of how exposure might damage the human body. There is not a single incident of harm proven to have been attributed to phosphate detergents, short of accidental ingestion or exposure that would likely be equally harmful if resulting from "green" cleaners. And no government body has determined phosphate detergents to represent a hazard to consumers, short of those warnings associated with inappropriate and/or accidental exposure.

But all of this is moot, in that we're stuck with no-phosphate detergents, just as we're stuck with dysfunctional low-flow toilets. But, as with the toilets, I'm confident that scientists will ultimately come up with products that function almost as well as those that were forced off the market. Regrettably, I'll have to employ my time-consuming TSP additive solution until that finally happens...or until the environmental alarmists outlaw TSP, at which point I'll be forced to return to hand-washing like everyone else.


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Well, montalvo, I think we look at things from different perspectives. I dont know whether there are other methods that can be used to treat the water, but I do know that I already have to purchase water filters in an attempt to get water that is safe to drink. Despite water treatment plants. In our community, there have been recent high levels of bacteria that have resulted in the town adding higher levels of chlorine. The water coming out of my tap smells worse than a swimming pool. I just read a post from someone who tested her tap water with a pool testing kit and the chlorine in her water was higher than it was in her pool. So when you are looking to government to make decisions about how to solve problems, I guess from my point of view, I dont expect much. Some problems do get to be too big and in government, you have to govern by committee and what even gets done, is not always done right. And you talk about installing a more efficient system wide solution....have you seen some of the latest figures on how many states in this country are in debt? Huge debt.

So, I am all for personal responsibility. Dont create the problem in the first place.

I have a low flow toilet and have not had problems with flushing.

As for your characterization that consumers that have concerns about phosphates and man made chemicals are hysterical, naive and paranoid....well why not tell us what you really think? [g] I mean really? You dont think that is a little insulting? Or you just dont care if you are insulting? If you are trying to defend your viewpoint and change anyones mind, you really should take a look at your methods.

At any rate, I am one of those people you are talking about. I dont trust man made chemicals. I trust natural materials and processes much more and believe that much harm in the world has been the result of mans ignorance in trying to override them, all the while thinking he is so right and knows so much.

As for changing to phosphates in order to protect people and the environment, I realize you dont see the need, but some people do. I would rather wash dishes by hand then take the risk that I was actually doing something that could be harming the planet and/or my family.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Montalvo, I quite agree. Extremists are ruining things for practical people now. We aren't saving the environment if we have to wash our dishes nine times to get them clean.... and hand washing wastes more water than dishwashers. Maybe we should all switch to paper plates and stop washing dishes.... oh wait, that would fill the landfills! Can we ever make these people happy? The phosphate issue really irks me (are "they" also still planning to ban regular light bulbs and make us all buy CFLS? which I use btw, but I still want the choice)! People on appliance forums are upset too, and most of them buy phosphate by the bucket now to add to their dishwashers and even laundry. I was going to do the same, but I don't have hard water, and I tired the "new" Cascade and much to my relief, it didn't leave any film on my dishes. The problem, according to Cascade is most plaguing for people that have hard water.

Weedyacres, if you read the Cascade web site, you will see tons of reviews from angered consumers that have the same problem you do... Cascade's response is that they were forced to stop making phosphate containing detergent.... which is a lie, because, it's not a nationwide ban YET, only select states. They say if you are getting that white film everywhere to re-wash the dishes with vinegar in the machine, and the next time use more detergent. Or, you could just do what many others are and go around the ban by buying a barrel of phosphate and adding some to each load. Good luck, I know how frustrating a problem like that can be!


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Using white vinegar in the rinse dispenser solved my problem with white residue on dishes/silverware.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

prairiemoon, I'm sorry if you were insulted by my comments about those who form conclusions about the risks from chemicals based on unsubstantiated claims, "feelings", beliefs, rumors, irrational extrapolations, unscientific supposition and the like. I've always found it difficult to tiptoe around the sensitivities of those who are unwilling/unable to accept responsibility for their baseless views.

But you do sound more than a bit hypocritical by 1) complaining about being insulted and 2) stating, "I am all for personal responsibility." If you're claiming to be responsible for your views, then either defend them with evidence or accept that people will regard you as hysterical, naive or paranoid. And recognize that your anecdotal observation, "I have a low flow toilet and have not had problems with flushing", is an embarrassingly naive defense. Baseless views, even when well-intentioned, can be truly harmful (e.g., http://reason.com/archives/2002/06/12/silent-spring-at-40).

I recognize that there's little likelihood that I could change your views; there are none so blind as those who will not see.


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montalvo, thats some apology [g], and some tap dancing you did responding to my post. Im going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you arent deliberately missing the point of the discussion, which is that there are environmental concerns that you evidently choose to ignore. Or at least in this discussion, you certainly dont express any of the concerns about the state of the world or how we can all do our part to address them. You seem more concerned about whether you are inconvenienced.

People out there making an attempt to fix some of the issues by actually inventing low flow toilets and you choose not to regard their efforts in a supportive or positive way, but complain that the initial results were not 100% satisfactory.

My response about the success of my own low flow toilet, was not meant to be an academic presentation of my scientifically supported opinion about low flow toilets in general, but a simple sharing of my own experiences that were in contrast to your own. I was not denying that there have been problems with low flow toilets, but illustrating that not everyone does have problems with them. As a matter of fact, when we had our toilet installed, my neighbor renovated their bathroom at the same time and we both installed the same toilet. That was about 15 years ago. They had problems with theirs and were constantly calling the plumber. It was reported though, that the necessity for the call seemed to usually be provoked after one certain member of the family used it. [g] We have not had to call a plumber in 15 years of use.

At any rate, it would seem that later generations of toilets have been more successful. Even Wikepedia and This Old House say so. Maybe you need a new toilet. I provide a link below to 2010 reviews.

Oh, btw, we have a new energy efficient dishwasher, we use Cascade and we dont have any issues with our dishes not coming out clean or spotty either. Another contrasting experience to yours. I dont know what you could be doing differently.

Here is a link that might be useful: Low Flow Toilets 2010


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

prairiemoon, I don't subscribe to the naive notion that if I just do my part, all the problems of the world will take care of themselves. And I like to reflect on the fact that the US used to be the shining beacon of freedom, something most citizens and those overseas truly envied.

If the government concludes that our precious water supply is dwindling, then they should allow the market price of water to rise, fully reflecting its scarcity. That way everyone has the freedom to waste as much water as they wish (or can afford), so long as they're paying a price sufficient to ensure that the supply of water meets the demand for it. That's the beauty and magic of a free market. (BTW, lest you feel troubled by those who would die of thirst from higher water prices, recognize that a ten-fold rise in the cost of water would mean that the water required for a person to sustain themselves could still be had for less than ten dollars...PER YEAR!)

Now, on the subject of low flow toilets, the laws mandating them weren't solely prompted by water shortages but also (like the phosphate issue) by the cost of sewage treatment. But there again, the government has a freedom-preserving solution. They put a tax on water to pay for the increased expenses incurred in processing the growing volume of sewage. At some point, the cost of water will be sufficient to cause consumers to DEMAND low flow toilets. And people with dainty feces such as yourself will be early adopters while people who are full of crap (such as myself) will retain their water-guzzling toilets for the two decades it will take for manufacturers to develop truly efficient crappers (as they have now almost done). Of course, I'd have to pay the price for that in higher water bills...which is only fair. But I'd have the freedom to choose! A tax on phosphate detergents would similarly provide governments with the financial resources to treat the sewage while preserving the freedom of those who don't pre-wash their dishes to allow their dishwasher to do so, while also providing a financial incentive AND the time for soap manufacturers to develop EFFECTIVE phosphate-free detergents.

But regrettably, the government's instinctive reaction has become one which robs the public of an ability to make their own decisions. And that's a scary development in my mind, especially so when there are such easy alternatives that that solve the problems AND preserve our freedoms...and our conveniences. Unfortunately, such solutions require an understanding of economics, something which most Americans and ALL politicians are totally lacking.

You sound like a very civic-minded, responsible person who tries to do good. That's commendable...but, IMHO, it's not enough. You have to understand what doing good should and shouldn't entail. You have to look beyond the superficial implications and examine the farther-reaching consequences. And to do that, you have to have a strong foundation in economics.

I'll confess that my own understanding of economics was woefully inadequate for many years. I didn't get a good grounding until I returned to school to get my MBA and that's a sad commentary on our educational system (which is sorely in need of economically rational changes!). I think you'd be amazed at how much more efficient and effective our society could be in addressing many of our most vexing problems if you could see them analyzed through the lens of economic analysis. (Wanna see how the current economic problems could get resolved...efficiently? Subscribe to the newsletter from johnmauldin.com...it's free. His last two issues were very sobering.)

OK, that's my last harangue. I'm sorry if I trampled too clumsily on your sensitivities. May all your dishes come out spotless!


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Weedyacres, I'm sorry your thread has gone a little off topic. That white residue would drive me crazy. It sounds like Krissie had the same problem you had and white vinegar helped her. If you try it, I hope you will post again to let us know if it helps.

I did want to point out, that dishwashers have always been variable about cleaning ability. Not all dishwashers, or all dishwashing detergents, have always cleaned perfectly. There have always been complaints to some degree. Even packing the dishwasher poorly can reduce the best results. Clearly, looking at your dishes, something is leaving that white residue. It does remind me of hard water residue.

So, if anyone else finds that changes in the dishwashing formulation is making your dishwasher clean less effectively, I hope you will post here too, so we can get a clear idea of how much of a problem it is and share solutions. I would really like to know if the white vinegar helps with the white residue. I've just started researching less toxic cleaning supplies and I want to consider alternatives to Cascade and other mainstream products.

Montalvo, I started a new thread because I felt we were getting pretty off topic from the OP's thread.

See : 'OT: Environmental issues and solutions'


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I noticed OP posted on July 30th. I wonder if this happened in one of the states that put an end to phosphates in dishwasher detergents effective in July?

"My dishes were dirtier than before they were washed,"


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Sounds like you have a low water fill problem or maybe a water temperature problem. The water should be at least 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit to start with. Gel soaps can cause a lot of problems with scum and leaving a white residue, mostly when there is not enough water in the dishwasher. After it fills there should be water almost up to the heating element. Also look for the water draining by itself


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I used white vinegar too. But I was on well water. Now, we are on city water and I have not seen that problem yet. I do use white vinegar once every two months. It keeps the machine clean. Green Peace endorsed it too. Apparently the it acts like "cat nip" with the fish once it hits the lake.


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The Miele dish tabs are working pretty good.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Fill rinse dispenser of dishwasher with white vinegar and it will keep white residue off dishes every time dishes are washed. Does not allow build up on dishes.

Works great in rinse dispenser of clothes washing machine. No more soap scum in washer/agitator.


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I just wash mine by hand. And I use my dishwasher to store stuff in.


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I soak my items in CLR- they look much better!


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Posted by kellyhughes (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 23, 11 at 17:44

I just wash mine by hand. And I use my dishwasher to store stuff in.

My late MIL did that.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I didn't read all the long responses above but I can tell you immediately what the problem is and how to solve it. It's hard water, leaving limescale residue. Your dishwasher internal parts are likely mostly clogged with limescale (as well as most of your plumbing).

You can:

- install a water softener
- get a $$ dishwasher with built in softener
- Use Lemishine hard water treatment in your dishwasher (and use to clean it at least once a month) it is made from citric acid (fruit acid) and wirks better than vinegar for hard water

We used the Lemi Shine when we lived with hard water, this summer we moved to a place with normal water and no longer have to worry about it :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lemi Shine


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I think you need to call a repair man to find out what is wrong. I use the cheapest cleaner I can find and it all cleans the same for me.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I've had similar problems with my DW. I bit the bullet, called Sears and they sent out "Larry the Repair Guy". He took off the spray arm and the bottom filter cover. He cleaned out lots of hardened on stone-like soap bits. He then told me I'd been using "too much" DW detergent. He told me to run two empty loads with no dishes and no detergent, then use only one tablespoon of detergent from then on. He also said to scrape any dishes before loading. No large chunks of food, greasy gravy, olive pits, etc. Hope you can learn from my experience.


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Fill the "rinse dispenser" with white vinegar and it will keep the lime off the dishes and dishwasher clear of lime deposits.


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My manual says not to use vinegar on a regular basis, it's hard on the machine.


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Or you can solve the problem by buying Cascade for industrial use, which still has phosphates in it.

I had called Cascade to complain about it, and they gave me 87 things to try that were all BS. Cascade used to work, ad now it doesn't. So I did what other people have done. I bought a case of Cascade for industrial use, i.e., restaurants and diners.

Apparently restaurants need clean dishes, but homeowners don't! (just google "cascade industrial" and you can buy a pack of six enormous boxes with shipping for around $50. It'll last forever, or you can share the cost with a friend.)

And btw, it worked PERFECTLY from the first load. Glassware, silver, everything, clean, shining and PERFECT the way it was before the loons started tampering with the formula.


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We just went through this with white film on dishes and inside of stainless DW. Tried all the home remedies first to no avail. Our water isn't hard so no chunks in spray arm holes. We had to have a repairman come out( as a part of an annual home maintenance contract no incentive to him to overdiagnose or to overcharge thank goodness) He had to take apart the bottom of the dishwasher, and clean out all the gunk that was clogging up the works.He showed it to me. ick. Originally we had been told that this top of the line Kitchenaid had a grinder that would take care of bits of food so they could be washed down the drain. He said it doesn't.
He also told me that using enzyme products was leaving the film and not cleaning the dishes well, and to switch to one containing bleach. I didn't switch detergents until the next grocery trip. The DW did clean better, no more food particles, but still left the white film. The film disappeared from the dishes and from inside the dishwasher when I switched to the bleach based product.
As a background, living in MD, in the Chesapeake Bay watershed area, we have not had phosphates available for purchase for probably 20-30 years.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

I think phosphates were banned in my state (NY) about 40 years ago. I remember my mother and other housewives grumbling about poor dishwasher performance.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

Isn't the old trisodium phosphate from the paint section of the big box store essentially the same as was removed from detergents a half century ago?

Others have noted above, a serious cleaning, down in the works may help.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

We haven't had phosphates in DW detergent in California for a zillion years either. I've found that Seventh Generation works really well. Finish etched my glasses, but that was because I was using too much. The manual says "2 teaspoons" and I was using more like 2 tablespoons. It cleans perfectly well with the smaller amount. Surprisingly, reading the manual helps.


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RE: Dishwasher leaving residue

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