How to Remove Calcium Deposits from Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is a kitchen workhorse, saving you time and effort after every meal. However, over time, calcium deposits can build up inside your dishwasher, leading to reduced performance and even costly repairs. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of effectively removing calcium deposits from your dishwasher, ensuring it continues to run efficiently.

Understanding Calcium Deposits

Before we delve into the removal process, it’s essential to understand what calcium deposits are and how they affect your dishwasher’s performance.

What Are Calcium Deposits?

Calcium deposits, also known as limescale or hard water stains, are white, chalky residue that accumulates on various surfaces, including your dishwasher’s interior components. These deposits result from the minerals in hard water, which can cause blockages and reduce water flow within your dishwasher.

Effects on Your Dishwasher

Calcium deposits can lead to several issues in your dishwasher:

  • Reduced water pressure: Deposits can clog spray arms, affecting their ability to clean dishes effectively.
  • Inefficient heating: A coated heating element struggles to maintain water temperature, leading to ineffective cleaning and potentially damaging the element.
  • Unpleasant odors: Residue buildup can create foul smells inside the dishwasher.

Removing Calcium Deposits

Now that you understand the impact of calcium deposits, let’s explore how to remove them and keep your dishwasher in optimal condition.

Materials Needed

Gather the following materials before you begin:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Soft-bristle brush or toothbrush
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Gloves

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to remove calcium deposits from your dishwasher:

Step 1: Empty the Dishwasher

Start by removing all dishes and utensils from the dishwasher. Ensure it’s entirely empty.

Step 2: Check the Spray Arms

Inspect the spray arms for any blockages caused by calcium deposits. If you find any, use a toothbrush or soft-bristle brush to gently remove the buildup.

Step 3: Run a Vinegar Cycle

Pour two cups of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the top rack. Run the dishwasher on the hottest cycle without any dishes. The vinegar will help dissolve the calcium deposits.

Step 4: Scrub the Interior

Once the cycle is complete, turn off the dishwasher and let it cool slightly. Then, dip a soft cloth or sponge into vinegar and wipe down the interior surfaces, paying extra attention to areas with heavy deposits.

Step 5: Baking Soda Scrub

Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply this paste to stubborn deposits and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Then, scrub gently with a soft brush.

Step 6: Final Rinse

Run a short rinse cycle with a dishwasher-safe bowl of fresh water on the top rack to remove any remaining vinegar or baking soda residue.

Maintenance Tips

Prevention is key when it comes to calcium deposits in your dishwasher. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your dishwasher free from buildup:

  1. Use a water softener if you have hard water.
  2. Regularly check and clean the dishwasher’s filter.
  3. Run an empty vinegar cycle once a month to prevent future deposits.


By following these steps and maintenance tips, you can easily remove calcium deposits from your dishwasher and maintain its efficiency. A clean dishwasher not only ensures sparkling dishes but also prolongs the life of your appliance.


How often should I clean my dishwasher to prevent calcium deposits?

It’s recommended to clean your dishwasher every month to prevent calcium buildup.

Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar for cleaning?

Yes, lemon juice works similarly to vinegar and can help remove calcium deposits.

Is it safe to use a commercial dishwasher cleaner?

Yes, many commercial dishwasher cleaners are designed to tackle calcium deposits safely. Follow the product instructions.

What should I do if my dishwasher still has a foul odor after cleaning?

Run an empty cycle with a cup of baking soda to eliminate any lingering odors.

Are calcium deposits harmful to health?

While they are not typically harmful, it’s best to remove them to maintain dishwasher performance and hygiene.

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