Following Up On Phosphates – “Help! My Dishes are White!” by Conal

Hey Appliance Fans,

Today’s post is a continuation of my “Phosphates Go Buh-Bye” post last summer.  To get you up to speed, phosphates helped to keep white spots from appearing on your dishes, but they aren’t good for the environment.  I mentioned to switch to a powder detergent instead of a liquid as the powders are getting better reviews.  Also, using a rinse aid is SUPER important.  I can’t stress this enough.

On a completely random side note, I’ve been addicted to eating tacos recently and I’m eating my dinner of tacos as I write this.

What is this white stuff on my dishes!?!

Lately, we’ve been getting calls from customers telling us that their dishwasher is broken.  Now it certainly could be broken or need a service call.  Dishwashers, like any machine, can break down.  The first question that we always ask is, “What seems to be the problem?”  The answer is usually, “My dishes aren’t being cleaned and there is a white film covering them”.


The problem is NOT the dishwasher.  It’s the detergent.  If you’re experiencing the same thing in your dishwasher at home, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove any dishes from the dishwasher.
  2. Take two cups of white vinegar and throw that right into the tub of the unit.  Don’t worry about trying to fill the detergent compartment with the vinegar.
  3. Run the dishwasher through a normal cycle.

The vinegar will clean out all the white film stuck to the inside of the unit.  What you have to do next is change detergent or use LESS detergent.  Today’s dishwashers use so little water (sometimes only 4 gallons) that they don’t need as much soap as you’ve been using all of these years.  Check to make sure your rinse aid reservoir is filled.  If you haven’t been using a rinse aid like Jet Dry, then go out and buy some.  It’s absolutely critical that you use a rinse aid with today’s detergent formulas.

I just had a customer come into the showroom last month looking to buy a dishwasher.  He actually brought some of his pots and pans that were COVERED with the white film.  Once he showed me his cookware, I knew exactly what the problem was.  I sent him home without him buying a dishwasher and told him that if my solution didn’t work to give us a call back and we’d sell him a dishwasher.  I never heard from him again.

The moral of this story?  I’m a bad salesman, but a good Kieffer’s Guy.  Speaking of which, if you have any questions or just want to send me fan mail, drop me an email.  I DO respond.

As always, don’t forget to visit the Kieffer’s website for all of your appliance needs in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC!

-The Kieffer’s Guy
Follow me on Twitter if you dare: @Kieffers_