Water with mineral levels of over 7 percent of calcium or magnesium is often termed "hard water." This type of water can become very problematic in a home’s plumbing system, and can harm the appliances in the home that require water, such as dishwashers. Hard water in a dishwasher limits the machines ability to keep dishes looking sparkling clean, and can eventually cause the dishwasher to become clogged; this is due to a cloudy film that is left on the dishes and inside of the dishwasher itself, and is a direct result of hard water in a dishwasher being built up over time. If a home has hard water, there are steps to treat treat it, such as installing a water softening system or using a filter in the dishwasher.
A water-softening system or water conditioner, as they are also known, is perfect for a home that is experiencing hard water in a dishwasher. These softening systems work to remove the extra minerals from the hard water, which makes the water feel lighter and smoother. With the unnecessary minerals removed from the water, it will no longer have the ability to cling to the inside of the dishwasher or the plumbing to cause clogged pipes. For the most part these systems are easy to have installed, and may include a free hard water test before instillation so the homeowner can be sure that their problem is in fact coming from having hard water.
Water filtration systems are also options for homes that have hard water in a dishwasher. Filters work in a similar manner as softening systems as they remove the impurities and extra minerals from the hard water. Dishwasher filters fit inconspicuously underneath kitchen sinks, requiring very little maintenance and upkeep aside from filter changes as required.
In cases where prevention systems such as the softening or filtration system cannot be obtained, there are methods one can do to treat damage done from having hard water in a dishwasher. Pouring one cup of distilled vinegar along with one cup of lemon juice into the dishwasher for a complete washing cycle will remove hard water stains, and unclog build up from within the dishwasher. Simple things such as measuring the proper amount of detergent per load of dishes, and using a rinsing agent along with dish washing detergent can also aid in hard water stain removal and the prolonged life of a dishwasher.