As we've mentioned, our water is pretty hard, and dishwashers in particular don't like hard water, and the manual with our dishwasher says specifically that it won't work with our water.  But, it has worked pretty well for around ten months or so, as long as we kept the rinse aid container filled with vinegar.

However, in the last couple months or so, there has been this brownish buildup of something that is really hard to scrub off, and extra vinegar didn't seem to do anything, and I haven't been that convinced that the vinegar is doing all that much any more, as the silverware has started to get white stains on it again.

I looked around the other day for solutions and there are various solutions - more vinegar - one guy puts in a half gallon once a month or so - I've never put in more than a half cup.  Some other people say the vinegar should be put in a bottom down glass on the top rack rather than just putting the vinegar in the bottom like I usually do.  And then there were some more interesting solutions: using Tang or sugarless lemonade powder.  Lemonade is easier to buy in small quantities, since I was pretty skeptical if it would work or not, and I don't like Tang, so didn't want to have extra lying around if it didn't work.

But, I just ran a half cycle load with two lemonade packets and it turns out I should have taken a "before" picture to show the difference.  The dishwasher is now spotless! (other than some food stains around the gasket that probably need to be scrubbed to get them off)

Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 7:08 pm | Read 68800 times
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You may have luck with a solution of orange citrus. I have seen this remove the worst in calcium build-up. I know their are a couple products available at most store outlets. If worst comes to worst, you may try orange essential oil mixed in with isopropyl alcohol.

In any case, I hope you find a solution. ick!

Posted by myside on May 26, 2010, 9:42 am

What are the ingredients in the lemonade mix?

Posted by Stephan on May 26, 2010, 1:53 pm

It is a Kool-Aid packet, which says it contains:

Citric acid (which I think is the key ingredient for cleaning the dishwasher)
Calcium phosphate (mmm, yummy)
Natural flavor
Lemon juice solids
Ascorbic acid
Artificial color
Yellow 5 Lake
Yellow 5

Posted by Jon Daley on May 26, 2010, 5:17 pm

I looked up citric acid out of curiosity, and it appears citric acid is one of several acids that both dissolve scale and chelate (bind and reduce the activity of) the metal ions that cause scale. I wonder if it's cheaper to use Kool-Aid, or if you can get citric acid at the drugstore for less.

By the way, the brownish color may indicate the presence of iron.

Posted by Stephan on May 27, 2010, 4:38 pm

We do have tons of iron, but it should be taken out by the filter, it certainly looks like it is being taken out, ie. the water is clear, as opposed to muddy, but I can't remember if we actually tested our filtered water.

Posted by Jon Daley on May 27, 2010, 4:45 pm

We are having trouble with our dishwasher. The dishwasher repair person has said she has been getting a lot of calls from our area recently, so perhaps something has changed with the water. Anyway, she said that people seem to be having good luck with something called Lemi Shine. I think you include it with your detergent in every wash. She also said people are having luck with the tablets (I forget who makes them).

I haven't looked for it yet, but according to the Lemi Shine website it is available at Target and WalMart.

Sadly, she said that she is telling people that if they need to buy a new dishwasher, they should just buy the cheapest one they can. They just don't make them to last anymore.

Posted by dstb on August 18, 2010, 9:58 am

Try koolaid first. I believe the Lemi Shine is mostly just citric acid anyway. And koolaid is way cheaper. (:

Posted by joyful on August 21, 2010, 4:06 pm

Somewhat related, and hence the comment here: I found that the commercial descaling agent we use at work (Durgol) also made getting the tea stains off my mug a lot easier. I wouldn't be surprised if Koolaid did the trick, too.
Posted by Stephan on November 6, 2012, 3:34 pm

I use baking soda for my tea stains, although the combination of our new dishwasher and Finish Powerball tablets does a great job all by itself.

Posted by SursumCorda on November 6, 2012, 4:17 pm
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