Dishwasher Leaving Streaks and Spots on Plastic Storage Containers

First, let this frustrated bachelor tell you what I'm doing. Then someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I have a brand new Kenmore dishwasher. I use Cascade powder and a name brand rinse aid. I have hard water, so I was told to use a tad more detergent in the "pre-wash" tub next to the main detergent cup. I run the sink water hot before starting the machine. I use the "normal" wash and dry cycle, as my loads are very clean. I load all my plastics on the top shelf.

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Now, to my problem: My zip-lock plastic storage containers "always" come out streaked and spotty, to where I have to wipe them down with a slightly damp towel to remove the water stains. Surely I'm doing something wrong, yes? Many thanks, in advance.

By Lawrence from St. Petersburg, FL

July 31, 20100 found this helpful

I don't use the heated drying cycle on my dishwasher. I turn off that feature, and when the load is finished I pop open the door. Lots of steam comes out, and I quickly wipe the tops (really, the bottoms since they're upside-down) of the cups, bowls, and containers in the top shelf of the washer with a dish towel. I leave everything in the dishwasher for a few hours to finish drying and cool down. This helps a lot.

My mom simply washes her plastics by hand instead of putting them into the dishwasher. She lives in the country, and her water is different than mine. She immediately dries her clear plastic containers, otherwise they will get spots on them (even with handwashing).

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July 31, 20100 found this helpful

All of these tips work! I wash a lot of plastics and we have a lot of lime our water, too.

Try switching to the Finish Dishwasher Tablets, much better! Adding more soap is not the solution, it's part of the problem. Also, use white vinegar in your rinse aid container. This helps with the hard water problem, sanitizes and rinses clear and is much cheaper.

Good idea to poor 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher once a month to keep the drain clean and clear. You can do it with a load of dishes or empty. Also, do yourself a favor, set your dishwasher to air dry, save electricity.

The plastics will still be a little wet, so unload your bottom rack first (to avoid drippage). Use white flour sacks (found at any dollar store in the kitchen section) to hand dry, fast, absorbent, lint free, spot free and cheap. Or just allow them to air dry on a kitchen towel on the counter. You'll be pleased with the results!

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July 31, 20100 found this helpful

Oops! Forgot to mention, powdered and gel DW detergent are very bad choices for folks with hard water. Even the liquids caused the spots on the plastics, that's why I switched to Finish Tablets. No kidding! They really work!

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

We have very hard well water and my dishwasher was turning everything white. Then someone told me about a product called "LemiShine". I bought it at Wal-Mart and I now have sparkling glasses and plastic from the very first use. It also cleans the dishwasher keeping it safe from the damage of hardwater. I haven't tried the Finish Tablets. I'll have to give them a try.

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

I have the sanitizer on my new dw and it is digital, so I don't get a choice on where the no dry cycle is unless I hear it stop. I have no problem whether tablets, gel tabs or liquid deterent. Do not over fill containers. To find out if you are having a hard water issue, buy powdered calgon and put in a tb or two. I use a rinse agent and sometimes the brand you have does not work with your water. I have a water softner and washing dishes at the end of the day when all laundry is done, baths done, there is no soft water left for the dishes. Something we don't think of.

Another thing. Do not run water at the sink before washing dishes. Dishwashers have heaters in them to get them to the point of temp. Mine is a regular and also a sanitizer. Winter and colds, i run the sanitizer one. Mine is a maytag. Did kenmore for years but found the local service got sloppy so you find elsewhere to do business, sad.

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

I try to open my dish washer to air dry my dishes before the drying cycle starts, this completely dries my dishes and plastic ware and have no more problem with spots or streaks, go figure. :)

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August 7, 20100 found this helpful

From bhg community forum yesterday: My favorite new product is called Lemi Shine. It removes hard water deposits on your dishes and glasses and has many other uses. It works amazingly well, the first time I ran my dishwasher with Lemi Shine my glasses and dishes came out like they were brand new! And the best part about Lemi Shine is that it is an all natural product composed of fruit oils and acids and does not contain any phosphates. I was uneasy about using other hard water removal products that were toxic. I am telling everyone I know that has hardwater! It is available at most retailers.

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August 7, 20100 found this helpful

I too recommend the use of vinegar. I now have soft water, but when I had hard water, I would put about a cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle. You may want to experiment with other detergents. I use Calgon, but different brands work better than others in certain types of water. Do not use more detergent; excess soap can cause spots.

I find that plastics are often wet; I let them air dry on the counter (or rather, my son does, as he is in charge of unloading). Or open the dishwasher after the dry cycle and let the dishes sit for a couple of hours to let those plastics air dry.

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