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White stuff on my dishes. Not responding to anything yet. What is it? Answered

The picture shows what I am talking about. 

So far we have tried more heat, less heat, adding TSP to the detergent, cleaning out the dishwasher with one of those put it in by itself and run cleaning agents, turning on heated dry,, running with vinegar and detergent, running with vinegar instead of detergent, and using jetdry. 
None of these things worked in any combination we have tried.
The substance is dry and slightly slick if I rub it between my fingers.
It is not calcium deposits, or if it is, they are mixed with something else.
Other than that I don't know what it is.  It tends to stick to everything but less so to glass and moreso to plastic.
Any ideas would be appreciated.


Use distilled water to rinse off the white stuff. Unless there is something wrong with your dishwasher, your water just has an abnormally high amount of solids in it. If you wash the glass by hand using the same water and then let it air dry, which is what happens in the dish washer, and you see the same white residue, then you will know for sure it's your water. The reside will easily dissolve into pure distilled water. Using warm distilled water water may work even better. Hot distilled water and a scraper is what I use to clean a flat top stove. A water filter for your home could lessen the residue left on dishes.

There is a reason why sensitve stuff is always be cleaned by hand and not a dishwasher.
And it is not your water ;)
The chemicals in the tablets are designed to remove all food residue without any mechanic action.
To do that properly the water needs to be soft - this is where the salt comes in.
Only if the water in the dishwasher is soft enough it will works as it should.
Little bit of troubleshooting:
Is there enough salt and rinsing agent in the dishwasher?
Did you do a cleaning run with no dishes and a dedicated cleaning tablet?
Does the air coming out of the dishwasher(when opening) feel much warmer than usual?
Does you machine do a proper rinse cycle after the cleaning? Most new machines here do a stop and want you to start tis manually.

In some areas the water providers change the "additives" depending on the water source in use and outside temps.
If you problem started recently and all the above does not help you might want to contact your supplier and ask if they did change anything.

Hmm... also possible...check the rinse cycle. your spinny rinse wand (no of course that's not a tech term) may not be working right. I remember that back when I had "dishes duty" as a kid, my mom's ancient dishwasher acted up on occasion and basically didn't rinse most of the dishes because it failed to spin.

Looks and sounds like calcium minerals deposited by evaporation (which makes a very fine, smooth powder).

Wash by hand, perhaps using a cloth wetted with white vinegar (putting some vinegar in the dishwasher dilutes it beyond useful strengths).

Afterwards, run your dishwasher empty, perhaps with one of the proprietary dishwasher cleaning solutions as well.

Whoa, the Kiteman.

Anyway, why would that just start suddenly? Lived here for over 15 years but it only started giving me the spots intermittently a few years back.

I tried cleaning out the dishwasher with this stuff. It did nothing. Same for the Finish brand stuff.

Also, wouldn't the substance be appearing on the inside of the dishwasher more than the dishes if it was just calcium? The walls/roof of the washer are essentially clean, no white. And wouldn't it happen in every load? Some loads come out just fine.

I'm trying pure vinegar now on the pan from the picture. If this is just calcium, do you know of any way to make my washer work or am I set to be a drudgeon for the rest of my days, cleaning it all by hand?

It builds up and occasionally comes off. My iron does the same - every so often, it dumps powdered limescale on a shirt and I have to brush it off.

What happens when you wash them by hand?

If they don't have the stuff on them and I wash by hand they come out just fine, no marks. However, even if I wash it by hand, once it has the white on it it doesn't fully come off. The outermost layer comes off, but for anything other than the glaze of a plate it just reappears after it dries, even after a serious scrub with a scouring pad.


2 years ago

Pretty sure it's caused by the water. I have the same thing and have basically just learned to live with it.

I use a water softener and that actually might be part of he cause. I used to use that Jet dry stuff and quit with it because I think it makes it worse. In my opinion it is partly a result of the soft water. With soft water soap is harder to rinse off. Hard water on the other hand, kills soap. In fact its like you use way more just to get things slippery. Soft water takes lots less soap and it has to be rinsed several times to get rid of that slippery feel. I think that is actually the problem. There is a little bit of soap that is not rinsing off which is why I quit with the Jet dry stuff. My water is already "sheeting" because it just doesn't bead up. So some of it stays behind on dishes. You could try using less or even skipping the second soap cup. Not sure if it would help though.