Tips for Removing Lime and Hard Water Buildup in the Dishwasher

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Subject: Cleaning product for dishwasher - Tang!

I swear by using Tang. I've used it for several years to clean dishwashers and it works great. After all, all it is is acid. Throw a cup of it in an empty dishwasher, let it run for a few to spray water and Tang around the dishwasher, then unplug it and let it sit for an hour. Then plug it back in again and let it finish the cycle. If your dishwasher is really bad you may have to do it twice. But it will be spotless in the end. Plus your kitchen will smell nice! Oh, and ours is a roll around dishwasher, so we're able to unplug it. You may just have to open the door to stop the cycle.


Subject: Limescale buildup

I just noticed the electric element inside the dishwasher is covered in residual - it looks white... How can I clean it? Maybe a regular cycle with a Limefresh or something similar?


Subject: Dishwasher buildup.

A DW with a water softener is the best.
Nothing else works well. I have had no luck with any suggestion for preventing scale and buildup in any machine anywhere I lived with very hard water. It simply must be cleaned. Vinegar is a waste of time - it's too weak of an acid. Harsh chemicals, like a strong basic degreaser, do work, but they are noxious. THe only thing I have found works is to disassemble it once a year, soda blast junk out, and reassemble it.

Martha Thiemann

Subject: dishwasher buildup

You're absolutely correct--a dishwasher with a water softener is the best solution. I got a leak in the water line going to the softener, and when it did, we unhooked the softener, and somehow, even though the leak was fixed, the softener never got hooked up (we had a lot of other things going on at the time). The salt settled in the water softener and when I got back around to it--it was hard to budge. I've been hammering bit by bit on a wedge and it's very slow going. It's probably too late for the dishwasher. So I'm washing dishes in the sink. When the softener is working again THEN I'll get another dishwasher!

john guerrini

Subject: Dishwasher Wizard

We live in an area with nasty hard water and we found Dishwasher Wizard works great. Bonus is that it's got a great smell and no chemicals. We buy it on amazon and get free shipping.

Jim Beaver

Subject: evaporative air conditioner

Putting something into the water won't stop your pads from cakeing up because the additive AND the minerals on the water will be left behind. They are two ways to stop the problem. One of to install a mixed bed deionizer to purify the water. This is probably to o expensive. Another is to allow a continuous small extra flow of water through your cooler. This will prevent mineral concentration and the water itself will keep the pads reasonably clean. If you also soften the water with a salt fed ion exchange unit, commonly on use on homes, the results will be better.



Lime Away specifically says not to use it on any food-grade surfaces, or any soft surfaces, period. It will destroy the seals in your dishwasher, which include those on the pump, and destroy your dishwasher in the process. Who wrote this article? They sure don't know what they are talking about if they are recommending this product - that was wrong.


Subject: Lime away

Mark-- darn it. I used Lime-away in the dishwasher after the guy at the local hardware store recommended it. Will the seals ruin after one application?

Terry Y

Subject: Hard Water and Dishwashers

We rented our house for 3 years and when we moved back in the dishwasher was covered with hard water stains. The renters had used powdered detergent rather than the Cascade pouches I always used which had kept the dishwasher pretty clean. I tried several combinations of vinegar and baking soda which removed some of the stain, but there was still significant staining. Then I saw a post which suggested Lemifresh dishwasher cleaner and dishwasher tablets. I tried the cleaner and I was amazed, much more of the hard water stain was cleaned. I started using the Lemifresh tablets and after about a week every bit of the hard water staining was gone. Not only that, I had some hard water staining on plastic utensils that was impossible to remove. These stains have now vanished. I was amazed and thrilled, Lemifresh is the real deal. One thing, can be difficult to find. I found the cleaning system and tablets at our local Walmart, and the cleaning system at our local Lowes, but no one else seems to carry it.


Subject: Lemifresh

Terry, I found plenty of Lami Shine products, no Lemifresh.
Do you know if it is the same?

Belle Catharine

Subject: Dishes will always sparkle in spite of awful water

I will ONLY use "Finish Powerball Quantum Max." It comes in a capsule that is put in the detergent cup. Prior to using that, every other dishwasher product I used eventually started to let those awful calcium buildups in my dishwasher and my glassware, flatware, dishes, etc., started to become dull. I went to Home Depot, was looking at all of their products in the cleaners isle, and luckily an employee who knew his stuff suggested Finish Powerball Quantum Max. It works. I threw out the rest of my container of Cascade. Dishes and such are too expensive and besides, I like mine. They all sparkle now. Since I am unable to afford a water softener, this is the solution for now. This also keeps my dishwasher from calcium buildup.

kevin morrison

Subject: using vinegar

Iam thinking of installing a venturi system to gradually feed ( constantly ) vinegar or another product into the waterline going to my evaporative air-conditioner to prevent or negate calcium and limescale buildup in the evap pads. does anyone have this experience?.

Beth Stone

Subject: Dead dishwasher

Our dishwasher has completely died, due to hard water. Is there anything we can do ourselves to fix it? We don't have the money for a repairman, and we really liked using it. It is portable, not a built-in.


Subject: RE: Dead DIshwasher

If you partially fill a cup with vinegar, put it on the bottom shelf, and then run the dishwasher with just that cup in it, the vinegar should de-calcify the buildups within your dishwasher and hopefully clean the filter.

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If the ducts are venting through a window I'm assuming the duct work is all easily accessible.  Lowe's and Home Depot sell a cleaning kit that uses an electric drill to spin the brush as it goes through the ductwork.  I've found it to work quite well and you can do it yourself.  It may take a few passes the first time to get everything out if it has been a while since it was last cleaned.  Just make sure you get all of the loose lint out after running the brush through from both ends and you're good to go.  Please note that if the line is not hard but rather a flex duct line you can easily puncture a whole in it with this kit and will do better to clean it by hand.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
We have a 3800 Sq ft home in Canton, GA and pay $100 for one visit a month for one woman to come clean it. It is a new home so not terribly dirty yet and I give her all the supplies.
Hair spray is one of those things that is really bothersome.  We've run into this alot unfortunately.  And NOTHING we've found will actually clean it off.  The problem is that if you just paint over it, you still see shiny spots wherever the hairspray was.

Our companie's policy is to prime the area with any bonding primer.  This will seal the hairspray in and not let it affect the next coat of paint.  It would also be a good idea to lightly sand the area first.

Our recommendation for primer would be Zinsser's BIN Spray (red can) and can be bought at most paint stores or home improvement stores.  Other than that, any thing that specifically says "bonding" for a primer should be adequate enough. 
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