Why does my dishwasher leave white residue? 5 easy causes and how to fix

Why does my dishwasher leave white residue on the dishes and sometimes on the inside walls? How do I prevent it and clean it? What could this be a sign of? Below we came up with a list of five of the most common causes of this white residue. We also added some cleaning solutions to get rid of the residue from the inside of the dishwasher.

When comes to your home the major appliances are all designed to make the things you do around the kitchen much easier. Unfortunately, there comes a time that we start to notice that these appliances are not working exactly the way that they were intended.

This is especially true of your dishwasher. If you start to notice that instead of shiny clean pots, glasses, and plates you once pulled out of dishwasher are now coming out with white residue all over them.

Top 5 common causes of white residue

why does my dishwasher leave white residue

1. House has hard water

Many municipal water supplies all across the country have issues with hard water. What this basically means an excess of dissolved or undissolved minerals in the water supply. These minerals are actually beneficial to you and your body, however, you cannot say the same thing for your appliances or for your house’s internal plumbing.

This while residue of scaling is not only unsightly on your dishes and the inside of your dishwasher, but it can also do a number to insides of all your pipes and fixtures in your bathrooms and kitchen.

Read about using dishwasher salt to remove hard water stains and soften water here.

One of the best ways to combat hard water and white residue that is commonly left behind is to use a whole house water softener system. This type of system uses salt to help to neutralize the minerals and to put your water back to a more balanced ph level. 

Read this article to learn more about problems caused by hard water.

2. An excessive amount of detergent was used

Another strong possible cause of white residue remaining on your dishes and all over the inside of your dishwasher could be you are using an excessive amount of detergent for each load of dishes that you are running.

Every dishwasher has a cup the holds the detergent for washing the dishes. It generally has a spring-loaded lid of cover that automatically opens up as you are turning the knob or pushing the cycle button on your dishwasher.

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Unfortunately, not all detergents are equal and if you happen to have slightly harder water it is not difficult to end up putting too much detergent in the cup.

If you do have an excessive amount of detergent it is possible that the dishwasher’s rinse cycles may not be able to remove all of the soap and therefore you could easily end up with some white residue.

If you are using a powdered detergent, you can experiment with the amount of powder you put in the cup until you seem to find the right amount of soap that cleans the dishes but won’t leave the residue.

3. Water does not hot enough when the dishwasher starts a cycle

It is very important that the temperature of the water is HOT enough in the prewash cycle to dissolve the detergent contained in the pod packs.

Once all of the detergent and water has had a chance to thoroughly agitate, the water is then forced through all of the spray jets.

Unfortunately, even though the water temperature setting of the houses hot water heater is properly set, it may not be by the time it gets to the dishwasher.

If your dishwasher is a long way from the hot water heater, you can run the kitchen sink water until warm before starting the dishwasher. This will bring hot water from the tank to your dishwasher pipes before the load begins, creating a more efficient wash cycle.

If the temperature is not quite hot enough you will likely end up with some amount of undissolved detergent powder. This white residue can be found all over the inside of the washer and possibly still on your dishes.

If you suspect the temperature of the water is too low, you can adjust the temperature a little higher on the hot water heater. See link in the section below. Just be careful since this will also affect how hot the water is coming out of all your bathroom fixtures and faucets. It will also affect your utility bill!

Read this article to learn more about dishes not getting clean enough and how to fix it.

4. Greasy food still remaining stuck on dishes

Many people mistakenly think that they do not have to rinse their dishes, glasses, pots, and pans before they put them in the dishwasher.

There are a couple of reasons why this is not correct. First, most dishwashers are not powerful enough to get stuck-on foods. Second, stuck-on food makes a good surface for the undissolved detergent to get stuck to during the wash cycles. It holds the detergent and can create a film.

This why it is highly recommended even if the manufacturer of your claims their washer is capable of getting dried on, baked food, you should always remove bulky foodstuff from all dishes before you put them in the dishwasher and rinse them thoroughly.

5. Water temperature on the hot water tank is too low

To ensure that your dishwasher is able to thoroughly clean all of the dishes that you load into it you need to be sure that the water temperature remains constant level that warm enough to keep the powder detergent dissolved in the water.

It is also important that the rinse water is warm enough to prevent the build-up of white residue. Again, run the kitchen sink water until is is warm before rinsing and running the dishwasher load. Warm water washes better!

If you suspect that your hot water heater is not keeping the water quite warm enough you can check it for yourself. If you feel that it needs to be raised a bit in order to bring the water temperature up to a more manageable.

The manual that came with your hot water heater should have simple instructions to turn the temperature up just a tad. Be careful not to exceed recommendations, as this could cause hot water scalding on the skin of young children. Water does not need to be boiling to clean dishes.

More information on adjusting your hot water heater temp can be found here.

How to remove the white residue from inside of your dishwasher

We did some extra research in order to come up with a way to clean the white residue from all over the inside of your dishwasher. After several searches, we discovered one of the best ways to clean the inside of the dishwasher would to use an all-natural cleaning solution that can be used for so many different types of cleaning jobs.

During our research, we discovered by the far the most popular cleaning solution for getting rid of the white residue inside the dishwasher would be to use vinegar or dedicated dishwasher cleaners. In order to get rid of all of the gunky, white build-ups you will need a full gallon jug of distilled white vinegar.

Do not load any dishes into the washer and pour the contents of the jug of vinegar. Run a complete cleaning cycle in order to get the most amount of water movement inside the dishwasher.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Why does my Dishwasher leave white Residue?

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