How Hard Water Affects Your Dishwasher and Dishes

Hard water can cause spotted, cloudy dishes and shorten the life of your dishwasher.
A dishwasher has an average life expectancy of 9-11 years if maintained properly and not exposed to hard water.  If you have hard water, you can expect the lifespan of your dishwasher to be much shorter. This is also the case with your other appliances that use water, such as the washing machine, hot water heater and coffee maker. 

What Are Signs of Hard Water in the Dishwasher?
You can tell you have hard water if your dishes come out spotty or covered in a white film.  Sometimes this problem is more obvious on your clear glassware.  You will also see a buildup on the tray slide rails and on the element.

What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is defined as water that has high concentrations of calcium, magnesium and iron. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Soft water has 0-1 gpg, Slightly Hard 1.1-3.5 gpg, Moderately Hard 3.6-7 gpg, Hard 7.1-10.5 gpg, Very Hard over 10.5 gpg

So I Know I Have Hard Water, What Can I Do?

Use the correct amount of detergent.
Too little detergent will leave deposits on your dishes.  Hard water requires the use of more detergent.
Use a rinse aid. Rinse aids loosen the hydrogen bonds of water causing it to spread out thinly on a clean surface so you’ll see less water spotting on your dishes.
Clean the filters regularly.  Hard water deposits can build up on the filters in your dishwasher impeding water flow and dishwasher performance. 

Soften the water.  By adding a water softening system for your household water you can remove hardness minerals from your water lengthening the life of your dishwasher and other appliances that use water.
Most water softeners regenerate with saltwater. Regeneration is a process where the softening media (called resins) inside the softener is cleaned by allowing the saltwater (or brine) to percolate through the media stripping it of all hard water ions. Once regeneration is completed, the salt and water solution is flushed into the sewer and into the environment. Today’s technologically advanced water softeners will use salt and water efficiently, saving you money while reducing the impact on the environment.


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