If yes, you might think there's something wrong with your dishwasher. But the problem could be caused by hard water, which has a total level of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals at 7 grains per gallon or 121 milligrams per liter or higher. Hard water can not only lead to the spotting and crusted-over heating element but also diminish how well your dishwasher cleans. Other possible signs of hard water include a filmy residue on shower/bath surfaces; mineral buildup on appliances that use water, like a coffeemaker; and decreased sudsing of soap and detergents—you might have trouble lathering up in the shower, for instance.
To determine the hardness of your water, contact your water company. Or if you don't have municipal water, use a home test kit, which you can pick up for $10 to $25 at a home center or hardware store. The map on this page from the U.S. Geological Survey shows where calcium carbonate, a component of hard water, is most common.
If you have hard water, you might consider installing a water softener; a local water-softener dealer might even do a free analysis of your water. (Some Miele dishwashers have a built-in water softener, to which you add dishwasher salt.) And to help your dishwasher work at its best:
Use the right amount of detergent. Refer to your owner's manual for details. The harder your water, the more detergent a load needs. GE suggests that you calibrate a model with its SmartDispense feature according to water hardness so that the proper level of cleaner is dispensed. And if you do install a water softener, refer back to your manual again to figure how much less detergent you should now use.
Add rinse aid. To prevent the common hard-water problem of spotting and to help dishes dry better, most makers recommend that you add a rinse aid. Again, check the owner's manual. Some models let you adjust how much you can add.
Clean it out. If you see white residue inside your dishwasher, you can occasionally try to dissolve it with distilled white vinegar. Instead of using detergent, place a container with 2 cups of vinegar in the bottom rack and run a normal cycle but without drying.
cash for appliances rebates and other incentives. Use our free buyer's guide to dishwashers and check our recently updated ratings of dishwashers (available to subscribers). Our August 2010 report on dishwashers will be online and on newsstands tomorrow, part of our special section on kitchen remodeling.
I use a product that is supposed to be green called "LemiShine" - along with 7th Generation auto dishwashing powder, and Ecover rinse aid. The LemiShine I noticed eventually cleans the copper bottoms of pans again, which other auto dish detergents have not. It claims on old machines in certain tough-water areas that it will clean out the machine, making it clean very well again. From what I have seen, I would believe it. You can use it as the only detergent to clean the machine, or in normal use fill the covered cup with LemiShine, and the other with your auto dish detergent.
If I don't use LemiShine in the suburbs of San Diego California where I live (Lakeside), my glasses start getting spotty, and the dishes don't come clean very well.
Your suggestion about water softeners is a little behind the times. Water softeners are a major contributor to salt accumulation in ground water. In certain areas, like the vast Central Valley of California, where much of America's fresh food is grown, the ground has become so saline that the future of this "breadbasket" is endangered, as well as the potability of the water supply.
Of course if the govt. would spend a few billion to finish the tube to the sea that was abandoned, the salt could be cleared out. But they'd rather spend hundreds and hundreds of billions in futile Asian wars, while California's most precious agricultural land slowly heads toward a salt desert destiny.
Any experience from anyone on Easy Water (water conditioning, as opposed to water softening)? The idea of it appeals to me because there is not salt involved, but some info on the internet says it may not really work. Please post personal experiences with this specific type of Conditioner.
I have owned an Easy Water system for 3 months now and I couldn't be more pleased. The sediment that was in the bottom of my water heater is gone. Spots on my faucets that use to require vinegar to remove can now be wiped away with a dry cloth. Dishes come out of the dishwasher spotless. The white crusty mineral deposits that use to cake at the bottom of the dishwasher door have been eliminated. My skin doesn't feel as dry after showering and my daughter loves the way her hair feels now. I would recommend it to anyone that has hard water and wants to eliminate the bags of salt.
I wish CR would do a short term test and a year long test on the Easy Water conditioner. In fact, it is surprising that CR has not already done this, given concerns about flushing saline brine.
We have well water and find that we need to clean our faucets
frequently as they become clogged with small,tan eggshell type
material. We've been told it's calcium. As we have a tankless
propane hot water heater we're not sure of a solution.We're
concerned about the water heater, dish washer etc.
Suggestions please ? Would the "easy water" system work ?
Please review products dealing with hard water.
I am in the market for a new water softener. I spoke to the local plumbing company about a replacement and prices; I also saw the Easy Water Softener ad on TV. Has anyone had this system for longer than a couple of months. Also, what is the down side of this system? Just wondering how pleased consumers are long term vs. conventional soft water systems. It definitely appeals to me due to the need to limit salt in my diet for meniere's disease.
I wish you would stop using our money on political activism and do a test on Easy Water system.
Some cities soften the municipal water supply before it gets to your home (for example Saint Paul MN does). Before you invest in a new appliance, ask! It may not be needed.
Also, the brine from softeners is not removed at the wastewater treatment level and is released into our rivers, lakes and wetlands. This is the source of a number of water quality impairments nationwide. If you do need a water softener, consider purchasing one that uses as little salt as possible to protect our waters.
I would like to add my request for consumer reports to conduct a test and study on salt-less water conditioners (like the Easy Water system). I see pros and cons all over the internet, but I just don't know what to believe before I invest so much money in something that might be a truly great alternative to traditional water softeners or a snake oil type product. It would be great to have an unbiased/honest opinion from CR on this to tell us what is BS and what is true.
I live in California and am getting a new dishwasher. The one I purchased does not have a water filter. I was unaware of the phosphate ban. What exactly does a water filter do in a dishwasher and will it have any affect on the machine's ability to clean?
I too would like to see a test of the Easy Water device. A comprehensive test of all water softeners [conditioners] including the Easy Water would be best.
Could not get any info on your site about ratings of water softeners or conditioners. I am interested in your testing the Easy Water system and the results.
I add my voice to the requests for a review of Easy Water. Environmentally I can't justify a salt system but I need to do something about our severe hard water problem.
Well, the opinion seems unanimous. CR your members WANT a review of Easy Water or similar systems. I have also been trying to find valid research on some sort of salt-less water softening system.
CR, your Post A Comment indicates all comments are "reviewed by our moderators". Okay, so once the comment is reviewed, do you actually act on them? Is there a plan to review water softeners? Any feedback would be appreciated.
We just bought an Easy Water system on 10/28/10, with a 4 month money-back trial period. The 2200 model ($1,200.) was recommended for our West MI area by the phone operator. We have our own well, and hard water, adn a salt-based H20 softener.
After installing the unit and turning off our salt-based system (11/6/2010), within 7 days (11/13/2010) the dishawsher ran, but the results were horrible! The bottom of the dishwasher was a mess inside with gooey hard water residue, and the dishes were about as dirty as before the dishwasher ran, but with extra soapy film on them to boot.
So we tested the water with a test strip (11/13/2010), and found that in only 7 days, it went from the center green (balanced on the strip bottle) to far orange (VERY hard). We speculated that the Easy Water does not work for us, so we unplugged Easy Water, plugged in the salt-based system, manually regnerated it, and within 36 hours, our water was testing at green again.
As a result, we are sending back our Easy Water system for the full $1,200. credit this week. It did not work for us. So, for two bags of salt per month, we will keep hauling, and getting much better results.