How Often Should You Use Dishwasher Salt

In the quest for pristine and sparkling clean dishes, dishwasher salt plays a crucial role that often goes overlooked. This article delves into the intricacies of using dishwasher salt effectively to achieve spotless dishes and maintain the longevity of your dishwasher. We will answer the burning question: How often should you use dishwasher salt?

The Basics of Dishwasher Salt

Dishwasher salt, also known as dishwasher water softener, is a specially formulated type of salt designed to reduce the hardness of water. Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can lead to the buildup of limescale and mineral deposits on your dishes and within the dishwasher itself. Dishwasher salt helps combat this issue by softening the water, preventing the unsightly spots and residues that can mar your dishware.

Importance of Softened Water

  1. Enhanced Cleaning: Softened water allows dishwasher detergent to work more effectively. It creates a lather more easily, ensuring that every dish is thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Preventing Limescale: Using dishwasher salt regularly helps prevent limescale buildup on heating elements and spray arms, extending the lifespan of your appliance.
  3. Spotless Dishes: Softened water ensures that your glasses, plates, and cutlery emerge from the dishwasher without the unsightly spots that can be caused by hard water.

How Often to Add Dishwasher Salt

Determining how often to add dishwasher salt largely depends on the hardness of your water supply and the frequency of dishwasher use. Here’s a guideline to help you strike the right balance:

1. Check Water Hardness

  • Testing: Begin by checking the hardness of your water. Most dishwashers have a setting for adjusting the amount of salt used based on water hardness.
  • Hardness Levels: Water hardness is typically measured in degrees of hardness (°dH). The higher the degree, the harder the water. If your water is very hard (above 15°dH), you may need to add salt more frequently.

2. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions

  • Read the Manual: Consult your dishwasher’s manual for specific guidance on salt usage. Manufacturers often provide recommendations based on their appliance’s design.
  • Adjust Settings: Some dishwashers have automatic salt refill systems, while others require manual refilling. Adjust the settings accordingly.

3. Regular Maintenance

  • Monthly Check: As a general rule, it’s a good practice to check and top up the salt container every month.
  • Heavy Usage: If you use your dishwasher frequently, consider checking and adding salt more often, especially if you notice a decrease in cleaning performance.


Using dishwasher salt is essential for maintaining the efficiency of your dishwasher and ensuring your dishes sparkle without blemishes. The frequency of adding dishwasher salt depends on your water hardness and dishwasher usage. Regular maintenance and following manufacturer recommendations are key to achieving consistently clean and spotless dishes.

FAQs About Dishwasher Salt

1. Is dishwasher salt the same as table salt?

No, dishwasher salt is not the same as table salt. Dishwasher salt is specifically designed to soften water and prevent mineral buildup in your dishwasher. It should never be used as a substitute for table salt in cooking.

2. Can I use any type of salt in my dishwasher?

No, it’s crucial to use dishwasher salt specifically formulated for dishwashers. Other types of salt may contain impurities that can damage your dishwasher or fail to soften the water effectively.

3. What happens if I don’t use dishwasher salt?

Without dishwasher salt, hard water minerals can accumulate in your dishwasher, leading to limescale buildup on dishes and within the appliance. This can result in poor cleaning performance and potential damage over time.

4. Can I overuse dishwasher salt?

Using too much dishwasher salt can be counterproductive and may lead to oversoftened water. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and adjust the salt settings based on your water hardness.

5. Is it necessary to rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher?

While it’s a good idea to scrape off food particles, modern dishwashers are designed to handle dirty dishes. You don’t need to pre-rinse dishes, but excessive food residue should be removed to prevent clogs and ensure effective cleaning.

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