If you own a dishwasher, then you know the feeling of disappointment and frustration that one gets after opening the machine only to find the freshly washed items that have spots or look cloudy. What makes it worse is that you’ll end up having to rewash those “clean” dishes by hand just to get rid of all those blemishes.
What Causes the Spots and Cloudiness?
The main culprit is the water itself. No matter what brand of detergent you use, the spots keep coming back. This happens because you have hard water going into your dishwasher. Hard water is best defined as water with high mineral content, specifically calcium and magnesium. Nearly 85% of all homes and businesses in America have hard water, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that your home uses it. Hard water has minerals in suspension, and once the water evaporates, it leaves a white calcium/magnesium residue on surfaces.
There are ways to determine your water’s hardness, the easiest way to find out is to check your city’s consumer confidence report. This should give you an idea of the water hardness as well as the overall condition of your city’s water. Test strips are also available in most home improvement stores for about $10. It only takes a drop of water and a few minutes to find out the results of your water hardness level. However, you can also determine if you have hard water just by looking at the end of your faucets and showerheads, if there is some calcium build it, then that’s a good indicator that you have it. Also, the next time you boil eggs, check the pot once it’s cooled off, if there’s a white ring around the inside, that’s a clear indicator that you’ve got hard water.
How do you address the hard water issues with your dishwasher? You’ve got a few choices to make; the first one is to use a rinse aid that you can pour in the dishwasher. These rinse aids are specifically formulated to prevent mineral droplets from forming your dishes. Most machines will have a rinse aid dispenser that can be easily filled. This allows the machine to get a dose of rinse aid during a load. Another option is to pour at least 1 cup of distilled white vinegar inside the dishwasher with the next load. The vinegar will have a similar effect as a rinse aid and leave dishes with fewer spots or cloudiness. Though these temporary fixes will address the blemishes, the problem still exists.
The best way to prevent spots and cloudiness in your dishwasher is to install a whole house water softener . Don’t be intimidated by this endeavor, installing a water softener will not only address your dishwasher concerns, but it will also help alleviate other hard water issues through an ion exchange within the system. This eliminates scale, iron, magnesium, and calcium. It will also help lower your energy costs since the hot water heater and dishwasher won’t have to work so hard to get up to optimal water/heating temperature. You will also save money on how much detergent you’re using. Soft water is known to help soaps and detergents create a better lather, but with less of it. This means, when loading up the dishwasher, only a fraction of detergent that is normally used will be needed to complete the load and yield sparkling results..
A water softener will also help extend the life of plumbing in the home. The minerals in hard water are known to clog fixtures and degrade the interior walls of copper pipes. Which eventually causes inconvenient and expensive pinhole and slab leaks.
How does it work
City water flows into the water softener system, the resin inside the tank removes minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron through the process of ion exchange. Calcium and magnesium normally found in the water, trade spots with sodium that’s attached to the resin, and the water that leaves the tank is then free of minerals. The sodium attached to the water does not have the same effects as the minerals that it removed. Water becomes soft, it is often described as “slippery” or “smooth.” At this point, the water that enters the dishwasher is free of contaminants and when a wash cycle is performed, everything inside the machine will be spotless.
Where to get it
A whole house water softener system can be easily purchased from AquasureUSA.com.There are a few models available to choose from. Your household size will determine which system would work best for you. Installation is fairly straight forward; however, if you do not feel confident in your mechanical abilities, then hiring a professional plumber is highly recommended.