It's one job is to get all of the dishes that enter its tub sparkling clean. When the dishes come out with a film, pits and pock marks or streaks of grit and debris, the dishwasher is no longer a useful appliance.
From commercial cleaners to effective and natural household cleaners, there are a few ways to remove mineral deposits from the dishwasher tub, as well as it's many moving parts.
First Things First
Approach the hulking appliance with a bit of empathy. The hardworking machine has a multitude of moving parts that need some attention from time to time. It should get some attention on a weekly, if not monthly, basis.
If you have hard water, then you may need to run a cycle with CLR in the dishwasher to take down the amount of lime and calcium deposits that can build up inside the appliance. After a run of CLR or other harsh chemical dishwasher cleaner, run a cycle of vinegar through the dishwasher. Just pour a cup or more into the tub and add a few tablespoons of salt to the detergent cup for extra natural scouring action.
Once the appliance has had a good cleaning, it should run well. However, the appliance should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a year.
Cleaning Out the Appliance
Take a long nylon brush and work around the water arm jets, filters, screens and even the outside seal to remove lime in the dishwasher. The bristles of the brush will breakdown any hard minerals, soap or food particles that have built up around the smaller workings of the hardworking dishwasher.
If hard water is an issue in getting the dishes as clean as they can be in the dishwasher, then you may need to take each detachable part of the dishwasher apart. Filters, some water jet arms and baskets can be detached without damaging the washer. Clean each out with vinegar or rubbing alcohol and use a cotton swab for the dishwasher part's nooks and crannies.
Best Products to Remove Lime in Dishwasher
There are a number of natural household cleaners that will take out lime and calcium buildup in a dishwasher. They are affordable and effective, particularly if they are used on a regular basis to keep the dishwasher running well and clean from mineral deposit buildup. These include vinegar, citric acid, borax, lemon juice and baking soda,
Commercial cleaners, including Lime-A-Way, Jet-Dry and CLR, can keep the calcium buildup in a dishwasher to a minimum and not harm the appliance.
Hard Water Stains in Dishwasher
Aside from installing a water softener, which can cause its own problems, there are a few ways to handle hard water in your home that is causing problems with the dishwasher's ability to clean. Dishes that come out of the appliance with a cloudy film mean that the calcium and magnesium in the tap water is an issue. Adding 1 cup of vinegar or an extra scoop of detergent can rid the film from the glasses.
A rinse aid will also get rid of streaks and spots in your dishes. Try a few different brands before you give up. Each one may work differently with the dishwasher and water situation that you have.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.