Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


02:33PM | 05/05/04
Member Since: 05/04/04
1 lifetime posts

I'm looking for advice on the cause of a lot of white residue that remains in my brand new top rated Kenmore dishwasher after a cycle. We are now on our 3rd dishwasher in 9 years, all having had the same problem. We thought the problem with our old dishwashers was because they were cheapies and just worn out, but the new one has had the same problem from day 1. After a cycle, the dishes are COVERED with white residue, so much so you can wipe it off with your fingers and draw pictures in the residue on the glasses!! All my dishes have to be handwashed after a cycle, and I'm going batty over this.

The manual states this residue is because there is too much soap being used. I've scaled back from the Cascade (tried many other brands too) amount recommendations to the tiniest bit of detergent and I still get this residue. I've also experimented with all the cycles and nothing has changed. I always run the tap in the sink until the water is piping hot before turning on the dishwasher. This dishwasher has a built in food grinder, but I also see tiny bits of food (I rinse my dishes before loading) stuck on my glasses in the top rack. Jetdry doesn't help either. Neither does air or heat dry.

DH thinks this residue is because we have hard water and need to install a water softener. I've tried adding a powder water softener to the wash, but it's also made no difference. In fact, it seemed like there was more residue than ever. I don't believe this is a hard water issue, even though we do have hardwater. Our neighbors have absolutely no problems whatsoever with their dishwashers, and I don't have problems with the washing machine, toilets, sinks or showers. My guess would be that there was something wrong with the initial set up installation, and the problem was not remedied when DH hooked up the past 2 dishwashers himself. Personally, I think this is a rinsing issue, but I have no idea where to begin to trouble shoot this. DH is convinced it's hard water and refuses to hire a plumber, would rather spend $1200 on a softener. I don't want to part with more $$$ and still have the same problem.

I'm soooo aggrivated with having to rewash my dishes every cycle. Sorry for the long babbling post. Can someone please lend some advice?




06:20PM | 05/05/04
Member Since: 11/11/02
2267 lifetime posts
That could be caused by a number of things, the one which comes to mind right off (especially because of your statement "when DH hooked up the past 2 dishwashers ") is insufficient wash water possibly due to improper installation. You can read about that possible trouble maker at the following link:

My washer doesn't seem to be able to hold water. What's the problem?


Once the machine has finished filling how high is the water (compared to the element)?

Towards the end of the wash how much water is left in the machine?

** I always run the tap in the sink until the water is piping hot before turning on the dishwasher. **

Have you ever measured the hot water temperature to see what it actually is? Detergent and appliance manufacturers recommend between 120°F and 140°F wash water or the detergent may not dissolve properly.

** we do have hardwater ... I've scaled back from the Cascade (tried many other brands too) amount recommendations to the tiniest bit of detergent **

JFYI. With hard water you're suppose to use *more* detergent not less. It is soft water which doesn't need as much.

** refuses to hire a plumber **

Good idea because you probably should have an appliance service technician look at the dishwasher first to see if it's malfunctioning or not.


Dan O.

The Appliance Information Site



11:16AM | 05/10/04
Member Since: 03/13/00
1674 lifetime posts
What happens if you run a cycle with no soap at all? Still got residue? Same amount?

No problems anywhere else in the house?


07:47PM | 04/19/07
Member Since: 04/18/07
1 lifetime posts
I have a Whirlpool Gold with the same issue. I have had service techs out here five times. They have replaced everything there is to replace, (the pump and the soap/jet dry dispenser and I still have soap residue. I have used Tang, Citric Acid crystals, and a few other products for cleaning a dishwasher. Where is the residue coming from. I use a 1/4 tablespoon of soap although the manual recommends 3-5 tblspns. I am going to have to be sent to the Betty Ford clinic if I have to take one more day of my dishwasher not working. Help!!!


11:13AM | 08/20/07
Member Since: 08/19/07
1 lifetime posts
I have the exact same problem. I have tried everything. Called our city and found out we have very hard water. I have done the vinegar rinse and used the full amount of detergent as recommended for hard water. I increased the jet dry as this was also recommended for hard water. I am also so frustrated. We also did replace the dishwasher thinking this was do to the dishwasher getting old. New one also has same problem. We have a water purifier system on our main water supply to house. Could this effect the water enough to cause this film. Help.


01:06PM | 08/20/07
Member Since: 11/11/02
2267 lifetime posts
** found out we have very hard water... and used the full amount of detergent as recommended for hard water. **

For hard water (10-13 grains), 10-13 tablespoons worth of detergent should be used. For hardness 14 grains and harder, a separate water softener is recommended or purchasing a dishwasher model with built-in water softener system. Some European models have such a system.

** I have done the vinegar rinse **

Rinsing the dishwasher or the glasses?

If the film on glasses does not dissolve with a vinegar rinse or have a 'rainbow' effect when viewed held to a light, they may now be etched and never come clear again.


Dan O.

The Appliance Information Site



05:22PM | 12/26/07
Member Since: 12/25/07
2 lifetime posts
I have been having the same white residue build-up in my dishwashers. It slowly builds up. I have softened water. I have tried to reduce the amount of detergent but the cleaning ability goes away. I do not have a big problem with white residue on the dishes but I did with my previous dishwasher. There is something going on here. We need to find out what it is.



06:25AM | 01/05/08
Member Since: 12/25/07
2 lifetime posts
I found manufacturers stating to use 2 cups of white vinegar in order to remove the white residue from the inside of the dishwasher. I threw in 2 cups of white vinegar and set the dishwasher to "Normal", Hot wash", I turned off "Heated dry", and I didn't use any soap. It removed some of the white residue. I repeated the wash cycle with white vinegar 2 more times and most of the white residue is gone now.

Then to keep the white residue from returning and to make the dishes come out clean I am doing the following:

1. Supply the dishwasher with softened water.

2. Only scrape off globs of food from the dishes; do not rinse the dishes before placing in the dishwasher.

3. If you have a full load then fill the covered soap area all the way with liquid dishwasher soap and do the same with the secondary (open) soap area. If you have a half load then use half the soap.

4. Make sure that the dishwasher has rinse-aid in the rinse-aid compartment.

5. Set the cycle to "Normal", "Heated wash", and don't use "Heated dry".

6. Run the how water from a faucet near the dishwasher until it is hot.

7. Start the dishwasher.

Notes: The dishwasher soap needs hot water to work correctly; the dishwasher soap needs food particles in order to keep from wrecking dishes; the "Heated dry" cycle can aggravate problems.


10:01AM | 08/08/13
the problem is hard water and has a product exactly for this problem. it filters the water going into the dishwasher removing the hard minerals and leaving your dishes spotless guaranteed. you will love this product.


10:35AM | 03/31/14
I am on my 2nd whirlpool gold dishwasher. The 1st one didnt have the hard water problem, but this one does. I have ran the dishwasher cleaners and vinegar. Im getting some clr today and going to try that. I dont believe my water changed so that the hard water would become an issue. I believe it is something to do with the materials used to construct it. I notice the materials inside are cheaper than my 1st one.


09:03AM | 04/02/14
I read on another site that if you have hard water the detergent you buy cannot be that "save the planet" stuff. You need phosphates of like over 8%, read the label and try that because a lot of soaps are promoting "Phosphate free". I too am battling severe white film on the dishes. I mean they are unusable when this happens. I'm going to try vinegar and see about buying high phosphate soap. Its weird because it happens randomly and suddenly like no rhyme or reason. Weird problem!


09:36AM | 06/07/14
The problem is that dishwasher soap is no longer permitted to contain phosphates. I just read a post on another website that says to use 1 teaspoon of TSP in each load. Right now I put about 5 tablespoons of TSP in my empty dishwasher and am running a cycle to clean all the powdery residue then am going to run another cycle with my dishes and see if things get clean. Let's hope so!


06:56PM | 12/28/14
My Kitchen Aid dishwasher is just not cleaning! I am using Cascade detergent as recommended. I was using the packets but when this problem started I switched to Cascade gel. I had a tech here this week and he said that I'm using too much detergent. He showed me the suds when he ran the machine through the testing. He told me to use 2 tbs of vegetable oil and run it through a cycle. Well, I did that 3 times already. Still suds when I open door. My dishes look worse after the cycle than before! We generally rinse off the dishes before we load. We've increased out hot water to 140. We do have hard water but in all my years, I've never had this problem. Can anyone help? Please??


12:29PM | 01/19/15
The problem is "Jet Dry". After a load I opened the washer, and shined a flashlight at the bottom of the dishwasher and it look like a "bubble bath". Tried vinegar etc, but no help. Let it run out of Jet Dry, and now there are no more bubbles on glasses or dishes. The only problem now is that the glasses are getting cloudy after a wash. Tried CitraClean, but didn't help. Will keep experimenting.


02:34AM | 06/05/15
Hi, I had the same problem with my top of the line Sears Kenmore dishwasher. First, I took the racks out and the plastic flattish conduit that brings water up to the overhead sprayer. It was full of the powdery stuff. I removed the bottom section (too long to explain) to get at the mesh filter (clogged with powder) and the small impeller section that grinds food waste...also clogged. For me...the stuff is the inert and non water soluable filler that is found in ALL powder dishwasher soaps. After cleaning, scrubbing, often with a tooth brush to get as much residue (check the sides of your racks too). I ran about 10 emply loads filling as much of the bottom and top rack with cups and small bowls facing up to catch water. After about 10 washes the captured water was clean. Don't use powder soap no matter what magazines say about the effectivness of their enzymes. They all have this filler that will eventually do exactly what happened to me.. and I was using 1/2 the suggested amount.


08:42AM | 06/21/16
brand new kenmore dishwasher, used 6 or 7 times only because dishes come out dirty. good water temp, arms not blocked, using liquid detergent. please help!!


05:16AM | 08/21/16
I had a the same problem, also caused by too much detergent. This was in a 12-year-old dishwasher. I solved it by doing what "BV007993" did two posts above -- I disassembled as much of the dishwasher as I could and removed all the built-up residue. This is a lot of hassle, and it might not be doable with newer dishwashers. But it's a lot cheaper than buying a new dishwasher.

Before I cleaned out my dishwasher, everything I tried was ineffective. In hindsight this is no longer a mystery -- the build-up was too great for any product to fix the problem. Citric acid does work well, but it can't remove a pound of build-up on its own.

It's odd that folks are getting residue just a few loads after installing a new dishwasher. Perhaps the water is very soft, and the detergent has too little work to do. Try running a full load of dirty dishes, as others have mentioned here. And don't pre-wash or even pre-rinse your dishes. Just scrape off the big bits. And ensure your water at the tap is hot. You might need to run the hot water at the tap a second time, about 45 minutes after you start the dishwasher, so it remains hot for the last few cycles.

I wrote a blog post about my experience on a friend's site:

I have a new dishwasher now, and so far I haven't seen any residue. I do use citric acid every 3-6 months, to keep the build-up away. But double-check with the manufacturer before you use it.


10:22AM | 06/21/17
I am having this issue as well, but it has occurred suddenly. The same dishwasher, same soap, same water as before and it was just fine. Now all of the sudden, it's leaving residue. I don't think it's improper installation or it would have been happening all along. Could there be something that broke in the dishwasher?


11:01AM | 09/20/17
My dishwasher was working just fine until I cleaned it and removed a lot of residue from the bottom drain. Now, all the plastic dishes have a white residue on them. All other non-plastic items don't have it. Weird.


11:55AM | 09/20/17
I am a retired appliance repairman having 42 years in service.
I have seen this many times. Most often this is caused by Lime in the water. I have not yet heard of a way to filter lime out. Most times lime shows up after a long period of drought then a lot of rain. I have instructed customers to run dishwasher on short wash. This allows the dishwasher to start on wash cycle that opens soap dispenser. That one is the part of a cycle that washes the longest without draining. Use white vinegar by pouring a half gallon into tub then start dishwasher and let it run. Next, find a product called Lemme Shine. Use this as directed by manufacture. This will reduce white residue from building up.


10:13AM | 01/05/18
This is our problem ditto. After I put a load through I run another rinse and the water has suds in it still! A real health hazard eating food off of playes that still have soap on them. I wonder if Maytag wants a lawsuit if people get stomach cancer from this.
We have soft water, have tried every amount of soap from full to almost nothing. The flecks of grung on the glasses in the top shelf are from dirt being suspended in the suds that doesn’t get drained out. Making me crazy.


11:45AM | 04/17/18
You likely won't see this but THANK YOU to the dishwasher repair person who responded in 2017!!!

This is the correct answer, a couple tablespoons of citric acid in a dish on the top shelf (I didn't have any vinegar on hand) started to clear it up immediately, I ran a rinse of vinegar through and it fixed most of the rest, and then a load of CLR and a few cold rinse cycles appears to have resolved it.

We have hard water but we'd been having unrelated plumbing issues and I thought the dishwasher problems were related to that.


11:07PM | 04/24/18
Did you pour your vinegar in the bottom and did you put your CLR in the soap dispenser or elsewhere? Having this same problem with a whirlpool gold. Its greasy white soapy nasty residue on my utensils and dishes.


09:28PM | 07/25/19
Same day the dishwasher is working fine, the next day dishes and the inside of the dishwasher itself are not clean and have a powdery coating on everything. It’s a 6-year-old GE Profile. Repairman came and checked. Everything appears to be working fine. Used Finish dishwasher cleaner. Looks even worse. This can’t be a water hardness/softness issue because it changed from one day to the next. Besides, we have an expensive water treatment system already that corrects ph and softens water. It’s working fine. Does ANYBODY have an idea what else is causing this?


09:28PM | 07/25/19
Same day the dishwasher is working fine, the next day dishes and the inside of the dishwasher itself are not clean and have a powdery coating on everything. It’s a 6-year-old GE Profile. Repairman came and checked. Everything appears to be working fine. Used Finish dishwasher cleaner. Looks even worse. This can’t be a water hardness/softness issue because it changed from one day to the next. Besides, we have an expensive water treatment system already that corrects ph and softens water. It’s working fine. Does ANYBODY have an idea what else is causing this?


04:57PM | 09/17/19
Me too and I am so disgusted!
I’ve been complaining for four months at my condo complex. Too busy with other issues with higher priority. Maybe they should hire another maintenance person if they keep building more complexes. Our guy is spread too thin.
I feel it is a huge health issue.


05:42PM | 10/26/19
One user mentioned using TSP.
Trisodium Phosphate for those of you who are not familiar with this stuff.
Anyway it is one heck of a cleaner (I used to put small quantities of it in shipboard boilers when I did that sort of work)
Anyway, my caveats for this stuff are
1.The dust isn't good for your eyes, use care in handling.
2. Using excess of this chemical can combine with fatty/oily deposits in your drains to form a soaplike mass. If you go with this method make sure you flush a lot of h2o behind it.


04:23PM | 05/16/20
We had the same issues with our dishwasher and I wanted to report our success so others can hopefully benefit!

Our story is similar to others here. Our dishwasher had no issues for years and spontaneously started getting this white residue. We live in Southern California where we have hard water but never encountered build up before. Initially, we thought the white residue was residual detergent because there was still water at the bottom that was not drained. A plumber disconnected our pipping and unclogged some debris found in the pipes. But we still had the white residue. I saw a video on cleaning the filter assembly in the dishwasher, which we cleaned, but the problem remained.

Following the advice some good soul left here, here is what finally worked for us:

Poured 1 quart of vinegar onto the bottom of the dishwater (also filled the soap and rinse dispensers with vinegar) and 1/2 cup of "CLR" in a cup on the top shelf. We made sure the water was hot before starting then ran all of this on a "short wash" cycle. We then rinsed it by another 1 short wash cycle with nothing inside to remove cleaning agents.

After cleaning and rinsing, we ran a full load of dishes on a normal cycle with soap container 3/4 full of Cascade liquid detergent with no Finish liquid. This was the first load we had with no residual white spots!!


08:16PM | 06/21/20
Chemists use dish washers too. It would help if one of them would analyze the residue to nail the issue of what it is.


08:36AM | 07/09/20
i had a white powder all over my dishes when I had old expired dishwasher detergent. it took me forever to figure out why this white powder was being left and why the dishes were not coming clean. turns out our dishwasher detergent was expired. i never thought they could expire but eventually found out they did. buying new dishwasher detergent resolved my issue with white powder and with dishes not coming out clean. we bought a lot of dishwasher detergent when it was priced good, and never got thru it for 1.5 years. experts say dishwasher detergent and laundry detergent expires after about 6 months.


08:36AM | 01/11/21
I think the white residue is barium. It's not calcium because we have soft water. And like others state, some days are worse than others.


08:45AM | 01/11/21
It's likely barium, and if you go to a different city, you will see the same problem. You do not need a dishwasher to see this. And it will not filter out with many filters. You can see tons of the white residue (if you do not have a water softener) by simply filling up a medium pot with a stainless steel bottom, then allowing all water in the stainless steel pot to boil completely out until it become dry. Then just let is sit. Let sit overnight. Do this 7 days in a row so you can "catch" the day it's there. You will be horrified. It is the same white residue that falls to the ground after they "cloud seed", which is why I am convinced it is barium.

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