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Removing White Film From Dishes

Dishes cleaned in a dishwasher can develop an unsightly buildup of white film. This is a guide about removing white film from dishes.

White Film on Dishes
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October 17, 2011 Flag

Apple shaped and stemmed glass dishes after cleaning.It was either throw out my apple shaped dish, and several others if truth be known, or figure out how to get that ugly white film off of them. Elbow grease is not my favorite way of doing anything so desperation took over.

I read everything I could and citric acid kept coming up. Well Fruit Fresh is basically citric acid and I happened to have some so I gave it a try. I put around 2 tablespoons in 4 cups of cold water and immersed my apple dish in it, 5 minutes later I checked it. I couldn't believe my eyes it was sparkling clear. No elbow grease needed. I dried it and put it in the cupboard looking like new. You must try it to believe and save your elbows!

By Ann from Loup City, NE


November 6, 2010 Flag
1 found this helpful

I have been using Palmolive dishwasher liquid in my dishwasher. I have noticed that my dishes are coming out with a white film all over them. I contacted our local water company. They told me that the problem is not with the water. The problem is with the phosphates being removed from the dishwasher soaps.

I have checked the different brands of dishwasher soaps, both powders and liquids, and they all seem to have the phosphates removed. Since the phosphates have been removed, what can I do to get the dishes clean and free from the white film when the dishes come out of the dishwasher? Thanks for your help.

By Janet from Joplin, MO

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November 22, 20110 found this helpful

My mom had the problem with white residue on her glasses. She tried the vinegar trick but it didn't work. She found a product that did the trick. It was a Finish product called "Quantum". It looks like a square yin yang with a red ball in the center of it. She has only had to use it three times in the past two months. Use them as needed I guess. Looks like you use one and it cleans things up for a few weeks until you need another.

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Anonymous Flag
April 5, 20160 found this helpful

Buy Lemi Shine and add to your dishwasher detergent. If terrible the first time you may have to soak in sink with water and Lemi Shine. Worked for me.

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May 29, 2012 Flag
0 found this helpful

I use Cascade packs. I also use Jet Dry rinse agent in the rinse receptacle. My dishes have a white film on them. How do I get rid of the film?

By Toni M

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March 24, 20130 found this helpful

I had the same problem with the white film. I was told to get a water softner. The small town where I live put in a new water system and I was told they had to turn the main water softner off. I never did get a water softner, as I don't have well water. As soon as they turned it on my dishes started coming out crystal clean.

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Anonymous Flag
May 14, 20160 found this helpful

Throw 1-2 tablespoons of Country Time lemonade (powder) in the bottom of your dishwasher. Turn washer on. You will not believe how quickly the citric acid from the Country Time resolves the issue. (A little trick from a friend who's a plumber!)

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November 22, 2011 Flag
1 found this helpful

What causes white residue on dishes after washing in a Kitchen Aide dishwasher? It does not wash off; I must use SOS or a scratcher to remove it. (I am using Cascade packets.)

By Patty A.

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November 28, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with the previous poster; it sounds like hard water residue. Use vinegar to get rid of it. I used to put a cup of vinegar in the last rinse. You could also try different detergents. There may be a different kind that works better.

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December 9, 20150 found this helpful

1st STOP using those packets! They are terrible; they RUINED my pots & had to throw them out. Even regular detergents may leave some residue but nothing like those horrid packets! For that other film, you can try vinegar, or I prefer the citrus based products - they not only work, for *slight* film, they smell great! Also you may want to read what someone wrote above, about phosphorous! It's amazing to think that we are suffering the consternation & added expense dealing with this issue, for the negligible effect on the environment that could have easily been handled by processing at the sewage plant (& probably should have, for there's other contributors than just dishwashing detergent!) while our environment is being polluted by the TONS by big AG.

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March 26, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

Everytime I run the dishwasher to clean my dishes, they always come out filmy with etching? We've tried several different dishwater tabs, but nothing helps. Why is this and are my glasses ruined now?

By Trish from Northfield, MN

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August 2, 20100 found this helpful

Clean your dishwasher with vinegar or CLR which you can purchase at the hardware/grocery store. Hard water. Make sure you wash when you know your household use of soft water is good. We forget aftet alot of loads of clothes, showers.

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August 9, 20111 found this helpful

Search for CitriClean of Florida. They make a powder that you add to each wash cycle. You need to use only 1 tablespoon of the cheapest store brand detergent plus 1-2 tablespoons of CitriClean. So your cost per wash does not increase! All natural product that contains no phosphate.

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March 10, 2013 Flag
0 found this helpful

All of my clear glass drinking glasses have a film on them from the dishwasher. I have changed detergent from Finish to Cascade, but no help. What else can be done besides hand-washing?

By Nolasandy

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March 10, 20130 found this helpful

It sounds like you have hard water, the only thing that helped me, was to get a water softener. Before I had the money to do that, I never let the dishes go through the dry cycle, and I added sea salt to the rinse cycle. This helped, but did not eliminate the problem. Do you have a "rinse aid dispenser"? To save money instead of adding Finish or Jet Dry, add vinegar.

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March 11, 20131 found this helpful

Try using white vinegar in rinse cycle.

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November 5, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I use (for safety reasons) plastic cups, toothbrush holders, etc., in the bathroom. When I put these articles in the dishwasher, they come out with an ugly coating. Some plastics are more prone to this problem. Any suggestions for keeping the plastic crystal clear?

By Sylvia from Great Neck, NY

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November 5, 20110 found this helpful

I just always wash this stuff by hand. Being it is hard for me to stand I fill a bowl with hot soapy water and take to my table to wash the items, then I go back to the sink, dump that water and get clear water to rinse, then dry the items and they go right back to the bathroom. I never have trouble with my plastic food storage containers getting a film on them when done in the dishwasher.

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November 8, 20110 found this helpful

Is it a hard water film or a greasy film? If it is hard water, try a cup of vinegar in the final rinse. Also, try different soaps. Some are very prone to leaving a film, and may react differently in different types of water. If it is a greasy film, it may be coming from other dishes that are in the dishwasher at the same time, something like a plate with a lot of bacon grease on it, for example.

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December 10, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

I have an old dishwasher and there was always a film on glasses. LemiShine worked, but was too expensive for the amount to use regularly. One day I bought Sunlight Lemonoxi complex powder. "No more film on the glasses."

This same company makes Sunlight liquid and it works too. Now, since that was 3 of their dishwashing products which worked well, I am looking at all their products - one of which is Wisk laundry detergent which Consumer Guide rated as high as Tide - so I will try that and it is cheaper than Tide!

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November 10, 2001 Flag
0 found this helpful

Does anyone know of a way to remove the milky haze (stain) that accumulates on glass's after being washed in the dishwasher repeatedly? It scrapes of with a finger nail, so the glass is not etched. Is there a home remedy, or a product I could buy? Please help.

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