How can we prevent dishwasher detergent residue?

I used an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent made by Palmolive. It has left a hardened white coating on most of my dishes, glasses, and silverware. I have Jet Dry in my machine, but that hasn't helped. Is there any way to remove these unsightly deposits? My dishes never look clean.


By SusannL

Water Temperature

Check to make sure your water is hot enough to dissolve and rinse detergent. Run the hot water at the sink before you start the dishwasher to make sure hot water runs into the appliance. Select options (if available) for extra hot rinse or a sanitizing rinse.

By OliveOyl

Bar Keepers Friend and Glass Magic

One more thing I forgot to mention. If you notice the coating on the inside of your dishwasher, you should clean that with the Barkeeper's Friend also. If you don't, the Glass Magic will get it off over time, but in the meantime, some of the residue that is on the inside surface of the dishwasher will continue to be re-deposited on your dishes. BKF and Glass Magic will work. I promise!

By RDLaure


I thought my glassware was etched and ruined too. Nope, just go to WalMart (if you dare) and get a product called Lemi-Shine. Works like a charm.


By Angie

Less Detergent

The troubleshooting section of my new dishwasher's manual says to try using less detergent (up to half as much) and it may stop this problem (while still getting the dishes clean) depending on the hardness of the water.

By tahlula

New Cascade

Cascade! That's the culprit. My husband brought home a new box of Cascade (new packaging) and that's when my dishes went to hell in a hand basket. I also have used the old Cascade for years, and loved it, but this new stuff left my glasses and silverware with a terrible coating of white film that is almost impossible to get off unless I scrub them (after washing in the dishwasher!) with Dish Buds, or some non-scratching metal scrubber. The previous commenter Fanhel was "spot on" when s/he noticed the change in formula. I know phosphate is bad, but Cascade phosphate-free formula just doesn't do the job.


By Brinna

My Experiences

Now that dishwasher detergent makers have taken phosphates out of their detergents, washing dishes in hard water is horrible. I have very hard water and I read numerous forums trying to find a solution. I tried a variety of remedies suggested by this forum and others and here are my results:

Things That Did Not Work by Themselves:

  • using hot scrub cycle
  • using expensive dishwashing detergent

Things That Did Not Work Well:

  • vinegar
  • apple cider
  • vinegar + hot scrub cycle
  • liquid or gel Jet Dry + hot scrub cycle

Things That Worked:

  • hot scrub cycle + Glass Magic (phosphates) + Finish Powerball detergent
  • hot scrub cycle + Solid Jet Dry that you hang in a basket + Finish Powerball detergent

I ordered the Glass Magic by mail because it's no longer sold in my area (neither is Lemi Shine or any other additive with phosphates). Glass Magic works well, but I am sensitive to putting phosphates in the water system. I learned on the Kitchenaid forum that the solid Jet Dry is more effective than the liquid or gel that goes in the dishwasher dispenser because more of the solid is washed onto the dishes. It really works well and I ordered it by mail because it wasn't sold in any stores around me. On the Kitchenaid forum, I also learned that I must use the hot scrub cycle for hard water and that seems to be true.

If the solid Jet Dry hadn't worked, then I would have installed the Difi, a dishwasher filtration system which goes under the kitchen sink and filters the minerals out of the water before the water goes into the dishwasher. The downside of that system is that the filters must be replaced every month or so and they are expensive at $17.00 each. However, the people who used it said they liked it.

By JeannetteC1


I too was having problems with white residue on especially my plastic items after they came out of the dishwasher. I went to Walmart and looked at various powder dishwashing detergents and all are now phosphate-free which has to be the problem as someone on this blog mentioned earlier. Another blogger mentioned using Lemi-Shine to remove the residue, so I bought it, used it as recommended, and it worked! No more residue. It was so bad that one of my Faberware black spatulas looked gray with residue , but now it's black again. Thanks for the tip. It really really worked!

By BamaGrobie


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In This Article
Preventing Dishwasher Detergent Residue
Preventing Dishwasher Detergent Residue
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