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Dishwasher Not Cleaning? 5 Signs It’s Hard Water Problems

Man inspecting clean dishes from dishwasher on water softener system

Dishwashers bring a lot of convenience and ease into our busy, hectic lives. If your dishwasher is not cleaning like it should be, don’t call the technician right away. Your unit may be running just fine, and it could be hard water flowing through it that is preventing your dishes from being fully cleaned. Keep an eye out for these signs to see if you have hard water running through your dishwasher.

Look at the Clouds

Cloudy spots are the most visible and noticeable effect of hard water on your dishes. The cloudy, white residue left on your glasses and silverware is actually from those annoying salts, which are left behind when the water evaporates from your dishes.

But mineral salts aren’t just on your dishes; they also build up on every surface of your dishwasher. Those salts can lead to rust and the possible breakdown of expensive parts like pumps and heating elements.

Clean dishes aren’t supposed to smell like that…

Another tell-tale way to identify if your dishwasher has hard water is to smell the dishes after they’ve gone through a cleaning cycle. Hard water can leave behind a fairly harsh metallic smell, making your dishes unpleasant to use.

Impacts of Hard Water on Entire Home

Excess Use of Detergent

Cloudy, smelly dishes may make you think that you just need to add a little more detergent than usual, but don’t be fooled! Using too much detergent can actually build up soap scum, which makes it even harder for your dishes to get a proper wash. Plus, you will have to purchase dish detergent more often, which can cost you more than expected each year.

Soap Scum 

As we mentioned previously, the minerals in hard water have a hard time forming a solution when combined with cleaning products, and this can leave behind scaly, white soap scum in your appliances. The soap scum can accumulate in almost every spot of your dishwasher, which can prevent your dishes from being completely cleaned, and leave them with traces of bacteria.

Shorter Lifespan of Appliances

This is a huge indicator of hard water issues. Typically, dishwashers are supposed to last anywhere between nine to eleven years. With hard water detrimentally affecting your dishwasher, that lifespan is severely shortened. The buildup of hard water minerals can decrease the efficiency of your dishwasher, which will raise the need for a plumber or certified technician. That can rack up your utility bill, or force you into buying a whole new dishwasher.

Remember: it’s not your dishwasher that’s acting faulty, it’s the hard water at fault. Detecting these signs early on will help you preserve the life of your dishwasher and get to a solution faster. If you’re confused about cloudy dishes, or soap scum, then let us have a look at it! Contact Guardian Water Services to set up your free water quality demo, and we’ll be able to see if hard water is impacting your dishwasher. Don’t let that pesky hard water take away the ease of running the dishwasher, call us today!

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