Why Is My Dishwasher Leaving Grit on My Dishes

Your dishwasher is supposed to make your life easier by effortlessly cleaning your dishes. However, if you’ve been noticing grit on your supposedly clean dishes after each cycle, it can be frustrating. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this issue and provide practical solutions to ensure your dishes come out sparkling clean.

Understanding the Dishwasher’s Mechanism

Before we explore the reasons behind grit on dishes, let’s briefly understand how a dishwasher works. A typical dishwasher has several key components, including a water inlet, a pump, a heating element, a detergent dispenser, spray arms, and a drain system. These elements work together to clean your dishes effectively.

Common Causes of Grit on Dishes

1. Hard Water Deposits

Hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium. When your dishwasher sprays hard water onto your dishes and then heats up during the wash cycle, these minerals can be left behind as grit. Over time, this can build up and affect your dish’s cleanliness.

2. Inadequate Pre-Rinsing

If you frequently load dirty dishes into the dishwasher without rinsing them properly, leftover food particles can break down and create grit during the wash cycle. It’s essential to scrape off excess food before loading your dishes.

3. Clogged Spray Arms

The dishwasher’s spray arms are responsible for distributing water evenly to clean your dishes. If these spray arms are clogged with food debris or mineral deposits, they may not function correctly, leading to grit on your dishes.

4. Faulty Detergent Dispenser

A malfunctioning detergent dispenser can result in detergent not being dispensed properly during the wash cycle. This can leave a soapy residue on your dishes, contributing to the grit issue.

5. Old or Expired Detergent

Detergent loses its effectiveness over time. If you’re using old or expired detergent, it may not clean your dishes adequately, leaving behind grit.

Solutions to Prevent Grit on Dishes

1. Use a Water Softener

Installing a water softener can help reduce the mineral content in your water, preventing hard water deposits on your dishes.

2. Rinse Dishes Thoroughly

Before loading your dishes, ensure you rinse off excess food particles under running water. This simple step can significantly reduce the chances of grit on your dishes.

3. Regular Maintenance

Periodically inspect and clean your dishwasher’s spray arms and filters to prevent clogs and ensure they function correctly.

4. Check the Detergent Dispenser

Ensure your detergent dispenser is working correctly and replace it if necessary. Also, use a high-quality dishwasher detergent.

5. Adjust the Water Temperature

Opt for the recommended water temperature settings in your dishwasher’s user manual. Using water that is too hot can cause detergent residues to bake onto your dishes.


A dishwasher leaving grit on your dishes can be a nuisance, but it’s a problem that can be addressed with some troubleshooting and maintenance. By understanding the common causes and implementing the suggested solutions, you can enjoy spotless, grit-free dishes after every wash cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Why is my dishwasher not cleaning my dishes properly?
    • Your dishwasher may not be cleaning dishes properly due to issues like hard water deposits, inadequate pre-rinsing, or clogged spray arms. Refer to the article for solutions.
  2. How often should I clean my dishwasher’s spray arms?
    • It’s a good practice to clean your dishwasher’s spray arms every few months to prevent clogs and maintain optimal performance.
  3. Can I use vinegar to remove hard water deposits in my dishwasher?
    • Yes, you can use white vinegar to help remove hard water deposits. Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of vinegar in the top rack to dissolve mineral buildup.
  4. Is it necessary to use rinse aid in my dishwasher?
    • Rinse aid can be beneficial as it helps dishes dry more effectively and prevents spots. However, it’s not mandatory for a dishwasher to function correctly.
  5. What can I do if my dishwasher still leaves grit on dishes after trying these solutions?
    • If the problem persists, consider consulting a professional appliance repair technician to diagnose and resolve any underlying issues with your dishwasher.
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