Why Does Your Dishwasher Leave Residue?


Quick Answer

Dishwashers usually leave residue due to hard water, cool water temperatures, too much detergent or malfunctioning spray arms. Sometimes minor adjustments such as water softeners or warming up the water temperature can fix the problem. However, owners may need to clean or repair their dishwashers to fix serious issues.

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Full Answer

Hard water is a very common cause of residue. It is also usually an easy problem to fix. Sometimes, using more detergent can help combat hard water deposits. If that does not solve the problem, a water softener or rinse aid can help keep residue at bay.

Hard water can also leave deposits in dishwashers, which can keep the spray arms from rinsing properly. To clean hard water deposits, start the dishwasher cycle and add up to 2 cups of vinegar to the water when the basin is full. The vinegar breaks down the deposits. Users can also clean spray arms by hand.

Sometimes, residue is due to cool water temperatures. Cooler water does not rinse as well as hot water does, which can result in soapy residue. To combat this problem, use a higher temperature setting on the dishwasher. If the dishwasher does not have an internal heater, turn up the temperature on the hot water heater.

Using too much or too little detergent can cause residue. Sometimes simply adjusting the amount of detergent in the dishwasher can get rid of residue.

Problems with the spray arms can keep the dishwasher from rinsing dishes properly. Sometimes, this is due to a blockage. In this case, clearing the blockage can solve the problem. Cleaning the spray arms can also work. However, if the spray arms are worn, they should be replaced.

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