It’s discouraging when you run a load of dishes in the dishwasher only to discover they come out with a crusty white substance. Known as limescale, this stubborn substance can leave plates and glassware dingy. And if not properly addressed, it can damage dishes. So, how can you protect your dishes from limescale deposits such as this?
What Is Limescale?
Limescale is the result of minerals left behind from hard water. Although you can’t see it, most tap water contains at least some trace amounts of minerals. If the water travels through limestone before it reaches your home’s water line, it may pick up minerals like calcium and/or magnesium carbonate. When the water from your dishwasher dries, these minerals are left behind in the form of limescale deposits.
Some studies suggest that up to 60% of U.S. homes have hard water. The presence of hard water typically doesn’t cause any serious issues, but it can make things like washing dishes more difficult. When your dishes come out of the dishwasher, you may be forced to hand-wash them in order to remove the limescale deposits.
Tips To Prevent Limescale Deposits
Thankfully, there are several different ways to prevent limescale deposits in your dishwasher, one of which involves the use of dishwasher salt. Not to be confused with table salt, dishwasher salt is comprised of 95% sodium chloride and 5% anti-caking agent (usually sodium ferrocyanide or potassium ferrocyanide). Its purpose is to restore the dishwasher’s ion exchange, which subsequently removes magnesium and calcium ions.
Another effective solution to prevent limescale deposits is to vinegar. Due to its highly acidic properties, vinegar is able to eat away at hard water without damaging your dishes. The next time you experience limescale deposits, fill up your dishwasher’s rinse aid compartment with distilled white vinegar. In addition to cleaning away minerals, it will also freshen your dishwasher.
What About Rinse Aid?
Of course, good old fashioned rinse aid can work, too. Rinse aids contain various ingredients that promote even drying while also helping to remove minerals. Look inside your dishwasher to see if it contains a rinse aid compartment. Most models have this compartment on the inside of the door. Simply twist open the compartment, fill it to the line with rinse aid, and wash your dishes using the preferred detergent as you normally would.