Dishwasher White Film

In August of 2009 my kitchen remodelling project was done.  Among other things, I had a brand-new top of the line GE dishwasher.  After six months without a kitchen, we commenced cooking often and a lot.  We did a lot of dishes in that new dishwasher, and everything was going great.  

Then,  around August of 2010, one year later, we noticed our dishwasher leaving white film on dishes.  We thought we were putting too much detergent in.  We reduced the amount and it did not help.  We thought we were putting too many dishes in, so we put in less but that did not help.  We thought we needed a liquid rinse aid, so we bought some and that did not help.

Finally, we decided something must be wrong with our dishwasher so we called the company.  They told us that what we were experiencing was not unusual and that there was nothing wrong with our dishwasher. They told us that the problem was that we had hard water and that dishwashing soaps no longer had phosphates in them.

With this information, I set out to learn how to fix the problem.  After much trial and error, I have permanently solved the white dishwasher film that was over all my dishes.

This website is here to help the thousands of confused sufferers of dishwasher white film and to hopefully save them the trials and tribulations and the cost of a needless repair visit, that I endured in my search to overcome dishwasher white film

That white film on dishes is actually mineral deposits left on the dishes after a good washing. This film will wash off.  If the film does not wash off after repeated rinsing (in the sink not the effected dishwasher) and possibly a vinegar bath you may have etching (not likely).  This is a completely different problem.  We call our issue “Dishwasher White Film or Dishwasher Booster”.

best dishwasher

What is Dishwasher White Film?

Got Hard Water: 89.3% of US households have hard water according to a US Geological survey.  Hard water is dissolved carbonates of calcium and magnesium.  An average household with 10 grains of hardness per gallon would have the equivalent of two Aspirin tablets of carbonate dissolved in each gallon of water they  use.

 It is not bad for you but can be a pain to deal with.  From lime buildup in pipes and faucets to stains on clothes and hair, and especially white dishwasher film, hard water is the likely culprit.  Control the hard water and you can control the effects.

Dishwasher white film is caused by a combination of hard water, heat, and low phosphate dishwashing detergent When hot water and hard water combine minerals leech out and leave a white film on your dishes and the low phosphate detergent just can’t get it off. Basically, hard water inhibits the soaping action of detergents, leading to less effectiveness.

A broken or bad dishwasher, poor loading skills, too much detergent and improper pre-washing, are in my opinion not the likely causes as I found out over weeks of trial and error.

Now  why is this more of a recent problem for most people?   Because in July of 2010, the government mandated that dishwashing detergent have less than .05% phosphates.  This effectively let the mineral deposits take over your dishwasher and dishes.

What Causes Dishwasher White Film?

A Google search will bring up many different tricks to try to stop your dishwasher leaving white film on dishes and glasses. Vinegar, citric acid, adding phosphate to your detergent (bad for the environment) are all solutions I tried or thought of trying (I don’t want to harm the environment.). I found most folk remedies to be time consuming or just plain ineffective.  I wanted my dishes clean, with minimum work and at a low cost.  I wanted my new dishwasher to perform again.

Finally, on the second call to the manufacturer, after I knew what I was talking about, the nice lady said to me: “We have been hearing of great success with a product called Lemi Shine. I was so fed up that was all I needed to hear.  I headed over to and ordered a bottle.

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