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Old 05-30-2012, 03:53 PM
 
258 posts, read 613,935 times
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So, we've got well water. And spotty dishes. And often, barely clean dishes.

Landlord says he'll replace dishwasher if we really want to, but he thinks it's the well water. Suggests waiting until this fall when Bedford switches to soft water with new treatment plant. I'm okay with that but in the meantime... my dishes are ICKY. White film on many of them, quite a few (about 30-50%) have to be washed by hand after dishwasher cycle, because they just aren't clean.

Here's what I've tried so far:

- Vinegar in the rinse agent receptacle. Seemed to work very well first few times, not so much after that. Don't think it emptied.

- LemiShine: used recommendation on bottle to run empty with product. Again, seemed much better for a few washes, and back to icky dishes again. I use it with every wash cycle (on top of detergent), per directions and it does seem to be better than not using it all.

- Liquid detergent vs. Powder detergent: so far, Target powdered seems to work best

- Jet Dry rinse agent, added this on top of the vinegar because I didn't know how to get vinegar out and couldn't wait until it was gone on its own. Same thing here, good result first 1-2 times, then things go back to what they were.

I'm being more careful on loading so that I don't block the water spray.

Is this a cleaning agent issue, or machine performance issue? Does everyone in Norther WC have such icky dishes (landlord says they do), or should I push for a new machine?

I so do not have time to be washing dishes a 2nd time...
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:14 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
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We too have well water and I've been pondering the same problem. I think it's a lot more complicated than the machine. We had an Asko machine for 15 years and never had a problem using just plain Cascade and Jetdry. It recently died and we replaced it with a similar Asko - and intermittently had the exact same problems since. I'm trying to figure it out.

Right off the bat, I think the new machine is substantially hotter. I've read that the film is a soluble phosphate deposit from the detergent itself. The phosphates are there to "digest" proteins. Over-rinsing dishes don't leave enough crud for the detergent to consume and the excess phosphate deposits on dishes. Whatever it is, it's soluble in acid (vinegar, citric, etc). Our dishes can be very very cloudy, but a cup of white vinegar at the beginning of the cycle cleans it all up perfectly. It gets flushed out in the prerinse so there's no odor or residue.

I'm therefore thinking it may be a pH problem more than hardness per se. What's your water pH? If you don't know get a pH test strip at the hardware store. I bet it's slightly on the high side. I'm going to do the same. Also try using less detergent or prerinsing dishes less. It's counterintuitive, but worth testing the theory.

Please post your findings, I'll do likewise. BTW, for those who hate hard water and can't live without a water softener: all the salt you buy for it ends up in the groundwater. Don't complain when your well casing corrodes or you end up drinking the salt.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Yorktown Heights NY
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Interesting. We have well water too and dishes have never been a problem. We have a KitchenAid, nothing special. And we do a lot of dishes by hand (just because) and those come out well, too.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:10 AM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,521 posts, read 6,118,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
So, we've got well water. And spotty dishes. And often, barely clean dishes.

Does everyone in Norther WC have such icky dishes (landlord says they do), or should I push for a new machine?

I so do not have time to be washing dishes a 2nd time...
FWIW, what I'm talking about this is an aesthetic issue. Even if there are spots, the dishes are "clean" (no food remaining, grease-free, well rinsed). They just look lousy. If you also have pieces of remaining food or greasiness then you're talking about something else and it may well be the machine.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:30 AM
 
258 posts, read 613,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
FWIW, what I'm talking about this is an aesthetic issue. Even if there are spots, the dishes are "clean" (no food remaining, grease-free, well rinsed). They just look lousy. If you also have pieces of remaining food or greasiness then you're talking about something else and it may well be the machine.
Yes, I feel I've got two issues: the cloudy film/spots that make the dishes, especially glasses and flatware look as if they are dirty, and those dishes that simply don't get clean at all.

As I've got a landlord who is willing to replace the machine, I'm thinking of asking for it.

Per your comments above, I read that *more* detergent is better, but I will try your suggestion of less. Hate dumping all the product into the water system anyway. And who knows how much is ending up on our plates/flatware/glasses.

I will try the test strip and get back to you when I can. Still overwhelmed with moving in...

Interesting that the OP has zero problems.

Anyone know anything about this new water system Bedford is supposedly getting? Is this really going to happen?
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:31 AM
 
258 posts, read 613,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
...a cup of white vinegar at the beginning of the cycle cleans it all up perfectly. It gets flushed out in the prerinse so there's no odor or residue.
How do you do this? Just put it in bottom of machine before it runs? Vinegar is amazing...
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:48 PM
 
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We had very hard water but didn't want a water softener. But the dishes were very spotty. So when it came time to replace the dishwasher, I bought a Miele dishwasher with a built in water softener. There was a separate compartment in the bottom of the dw where you put salt. The salt is made for dishwashers(found it online) and the machine actually used very little(didn't have to replenish often). The dishes and glasses came out sparkling. The Miele was pricey but worth it... it lasted much longer than all previous machines. Hard water is very 'hard' on dishwashers, water heaters, etc!
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:28 PM
 
258 posts, read 613,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
a cup of white vinegar...
FYI, I've been putting about a cup of vinegar in the bottom of the machine before each cycle (along with using Lemishine and Target powdered detergent, about 1.5x recommended amount. It's not perfect, but everything is much improved. Am thinking of adding more to see if it will improve things. I still get some dirty dishes, but spotting is much better.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:53 PM
 
Location: East Millcreek
2,521 posts, read 6,118,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoboulette View Post
FYI, I've been putting about a cup of vinegar in the bottom of the machine before each cycle (along with using Lemishine and Target powdered detergent, about 1.5x recommended amount. It's not perfect, but everything is much improved. Am thinking of adding more to see if it will improve things. I still get some dirty dishes, but spotting is much better.
Interesting, thanks. I'll try more detergent. Our appliance dealer (who's in Pound Ridge) specifically told us NOT to go overboard on detergent cause in excess it eats the rubber seals in lieu of remaining food on dishes so we've avoided using more.

Anyway, in principal the combination of vinegar and Lemishine is redundant. Both are weak acids (acetic and citric, respectively). I'll bet that more vinegar would work as well as the combination and be a lot cheaper.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:26 PM
 
258 posts, read 613,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kletter1mann View Post
I'll bet that more vinegar would work as well as the combination and be a lot cheaper.
I wondered that as well. Lemishine seems to be some sort of acid, so it would make sense. I'll try it and let you know.

I absolutely noticed a difference when I went from liquid to powdered detergent. And also, from Cascade (which worked best in all my previous machines) to Target's powdered detergent. And also, when I increased the amount of detergent. If I only use the recommended amount, neither seem to work as well. FWIW.

I also read about machines needing more food on the dishes (and heck, wouldn't I love to not have to rinse my dishes!) but it doesn't seem to be working in our current situation.

Any thoughts on hard water and laundry? I've been using BioKleen (sp?) which I *loved* in my previous location. Laundry hasn't been looking too good since we moved here, easy spots aren't coming out, tough spots need to be treated/laundered twice.

Do you do anything special for your washing machine and laundry? I'm thinking of trying some vinegar there, too. God Bless Vinegar.
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