Why Are My Dishes Spotty and Cloudy? | Troubleshooting Tips


Dishwashers are meant to make things easier.  But, when your dishwasher leaves your glasses and dishes spotty and filmy it can be quite disappointing.  If you’ve been dealing with this issue, don’t worry you don’t need to buy a new dishwasher.  This is actually a very common issue that many people are faced with.

The most common causes of white film, cloudiness, and/or spotting are:

-Hard Water Stains/ Mineral Deposits

-Soap Residue

So how do you tell which it is?  Take one of your glasses that has the white residue and run it under the tap.  If the clouding wipes away easily, your problem is most likely detergent based.  However, if the glass appears to wipe clean, but the film reappears once the glass is dry you most likely have a hard water/mineral deposit problem.

Detergent Problem

If your dishwasher is leaving detergent residue on your glasses and dishes, you may need to adjust the amount you are using.  The manufacturer recommended amount may not work for everyone. The water supply in your area can effect how much or little you need, for example areas with harder water may need to use more detergent while areas with softer water can use less.  This may take a bit of trial and error to get right.

Detergent residue can also be caused by low water pressure or temperature in the dishwasher.  If your water pressure it too low or the temperature of the wash cycle is below 140° Fahrenheit, your dishwasher may have difficulty fully dissolving or rinsing away the detergent.

This residue could also be caused by the type of detergent you are using.  If you are currently using a gel detergent, consider switching to a powder, liquid, or an all-in-one tab.

Hard Water/Mineral Deposits

This problem is a bit trickier.  Since states began to ban phosphates in dishwasher detergents in 2010, many brands have reduced or completely eliminated phosphates from their formulas.  As a result, many areas with hard water have been experiencing greater problems with spotting and clouding.  This is because the phosphates in the detergents had helped to dissolve mineral deposits, although potentially at a cost to water supplies.

To combat this spotting, film, and clouding there are a few things you can do:

Deep Clean your dishwasher every six months

It is quite likely that if your dishes and glasses are coming out filmy, the interior of your dishwasher is experiencing the same problem.  In addition to wiping down the interior, an easy way to help dissolve mineral deposits is to use vinegar.

Start a normal rinse cycle on your dishwasher.  After the basin has filled, pause the cycle and add 2 cups of white vinegar.  Then let the rinse cycle finish out normally.  The acidity of the vinegar will help to break down the deposits that have been building up.  Another option is to put the vinegar in a small container in the upper rack of your dishwasher (make sure the container is dishwasher safe), and run the rinse cycle normally.

Some sources may recommend putting vinegar in your rinse aid dispenser, however we strongly recommend you do not do this.  Because the vinegar is highly acidic, it can potentially damage the dispenser.

Find a good rinse aid

Despite the name, rinse aids actually help with drying more than anything.  Products such as Jet Dry help to prevent water from collecting on glassware, flatware, and dishes to reduce spotting and even potentially decrease dry time.

Use something acidic with your detergent

is a great product to add to your dish washing routine.  It is a detergent additive that helps to reduce or even completely prevent mineral spots and that cloudy film on your glasses and dishes.  You may have to adjust the amount that you use depending on how hard your water is, but this should definitely help with cloudy dishes.

Combining these tips with proper dishwasher loading should help reduce cloudiness, and give your dishes back their shine!


Did you find this post helpful?  Like and share it with a friend!  If you have any questions or additional tips feel free to leave them in the comments section.  You can also find parts and accessories for your dishwasher on our website at 1stSourceServall.com



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