If you are like me, and don’t have a water softener in your home, chances are you have run across hard water spots on your dishes from time to time. Some newer high efficiency dishwashers and even some of the new low-phosphate dishwasher detergents may be partially to blame, but if you have hard water, it is what it is. You will eventually have hard water build up. Hard water leaves a mineral deposit on dishes, faucets, showers, tubs, and anywhere else you run water in your home. So how do you get rid of it? Acid. There are may products with different forms of acid out there that claim to do the trick. Most of them will be somewhat effective. These are some tricks and products that have worked for me and that I have found to be the most effective.
1. Type of Detergent
I only use Finish. It is the only detergent that does not completely aggregate the situation.
2. Placement of Detergent
Instead of putting the dishwasher detergent in the receptacle, squirt a comparable amount right on the door or in the bottom of the dishwasher. I don’t know the science behind it, but i read this about a year ago and it has dramatically helped.
3. Distilled White Vinegar
This is the cheapest additive option, but it does have it’s drawbacks. I keep waiting to acclimate to the smell hoping that eventually my brain will eventually relate the smell of vinegar to the smell of clean, but my brain is no dummy. Vinegar stinks! I bust this trick out when I’m desperate. I was always told to pour about a half a cup in the bottom of you dishwasher with no other detergent and run your dishwasher as you normally would. It worked okay, but I found that if I concentrated it a bit more it took less attempts to get them sparkling again. I fill my sink with water and add about a cup of vinegar. Then I soak them overnight and throw them in the dishwasher…this time with option number four.
4. Lemi Shine
This option is also a form of acid, but it is a citric acid. When taking a citrus head to head with vinegar, the citrus will always win your nose over, but this option is the more expensive. If you are on a college budget, skip this and continue to the next, but keep this product in mind for later. I don’t use this all the time, just when I notice some build up starting.
4. Finish Rinse Agent
This is an important step now that phosphates have been reduced or completely removed from detergents. It allows the water to run off the dishes so that spots aren’t sitting on them as they dry.
Sounds like a lot of work right? I vote for a water softener in my next house, but in the mean time at least there are some options that work. What do you all do to rid or prevent hard water spots?