help! dishwasher leaving white residue no matter what!

I’ve tried nearly everything I can think of – eco detergent, phosphate free detergent, “bad” detergent, no-name cheap detergent,  dishwasher cleaning tablets, vinegar, baking soda, I let the hot water in the kitchen faucet run a little bit before hand to ensure the dishwasher water is super hot, I’ve tried using the heat dry, no heat dry, sanitize option, eco option, rinse only, jet dry rinse, no name jet dry rinse, vinegar rinse, vinegar wash, powder detergent, gel detergent….I’m out of ideas. We have hard water but cloudiness and deposits this bad has only been happening for couple months now.

How do I get my glasses to stop coming out of the dishwasher looking like this? I’m tired of re-washing everything with steel wool! Please don’t tell me I need to buy a new dishwasher! Eeek!

About Amanda

Amanda Robinson is the eco-chic, green living, fitness loving mom behind Natural Mommie. Since 2009, Amanda Robinson has been the source for moms to learn how to bring more balanced green beauty, eco-friendly, sustainable, organic products into their homes without being too “crunchy” or “granola”. Amanda is passionate about design, wellness and inspiring moms to make more eco-friendly and healthy choices without having to trade in their stilettos for Birkenstocks. In addition to Natural Mommie, Amanda is also the owner and designer behind Top Knot Style - a beautiful collection of handmade oversized luxury knitwear.

42 thoughts on “help! dishwasher leaving white residue no matter what!

  1. That is bad. Tried Lemishine? I’m about to try it myself.

    1. I have noticed the older the glasses are they do have a flim left on them my new glasses have no film it’s like old mirror’s on old dresser’s they get a black film & spots on the glass only way to get rid of is replace the glass.Also u may need a water softner all deep wells have terribly hard water in have a big daddy filter where the water is filter before going through the soften & u do have to have a good one I have been threw all lol I won’t even wash and load of white clothes if soften is not doing it’s thing cause it will destroy my whites.

  2. We have the same problem! Its only some of our dishes that it happens to- not all of them thought. We have been using less soap than we normally use- actually started buying those little Cascade packets and use vinegar. Try handwashing the troublesome dishes for a few rounds. That has helped get the build up off the dishes.

  3. No I haven’t! Are you in Canada? I’ve never noticed it on the shelves before, but maybe because I wasn’t looking for it! Let me know how it works!

    1. If you can’t find Lemi Shine in your stores, call GE at 1-800-626-2002 and ask for Lemi-shine WX10X10019.

  4. I’ve heard Lemi Shine is awesome too. I’m about to buy some myself. We have some nasty hard water here!

  5. Our dishwasher did that too until we got a water softener. It took a few cycles with the soft water but now they are crystal clear.

    1. Oh I miss our water softener at our old house. I’d love to get one here but I’m not sure how long we’ll be living in this house. Not worth the investment at this point :(

  6. How old is your dishwasher? It may need a good old fashioned cleaning. We take ours apart and clean it a couple times a year, as well as doing regular tablet cleanings. If that doesn’t work, you may very well need a new dishwasher. Our glasses came out like that, well, not that bad, before we took it apart and cleaned the components on the inside. There may be so much food and extra stuff covering the filter that it just can’t clean or rinse properly. Good luck.

    1. Thanks for your comment Brenda! It’s only 3 years old and we’ve had someone in to look at it 4 times for different issues. Maybe we just got a dud? I take it apart often and clean out the filter and screens and it doesn’t seem to make a difference!

  7. My dishwasher started doing that out of the blue one day, but it only lasted a couple months, then it just went back to normal. I used Lime Away to get that stuff off. I let it soak on there for a few minutes then really rubbed all over with a sponge, and it got it all off. Not exactly natural, but it did the trick :)

  8. Wow, it’s like de ja vu!
    I was just like you…had same problem, tried everything, I have hard well water.
    Tried dishwasher cleaners to clean my DW from scale and Lime Away, but Lemi-Shine the only thing that worked! I’ve come to swear by this stuff!
    I know I sound like a commercial, LOL, but it really worked!
    I used it to first clean my DW (without dishes in it), then I fill the small detergent cup with Lemi-Shine and the large one with my reg dw detergent.
    Hope you can find some local to you :o)
    Good luck!

  9. assuming you’ve taken the dishwasher (very easy to do) apart to clean it. Add 1 1/2 cup of vinigar when it fills with water..(about the time the soap thing opens) Also..using Seventh Generation liquid dish soap…helps ALOT! Good luck :-)

  10. Have you actually tried the Norwex dishwasher detergent? It specifically softens water. I bought some thinking that my well water was hard water—but recently had a water test determine that i actually have VERY soft water. Who’da thunk my well water would be so soft.
    Anyways, it was acting up in my dishwasher and nothing was getting cleaned. So i have switched back to Cascade tablets.

    If you’d like, i am willing to put the Norwex detergent into a Ziploc bag and send it to you. Let me know if you’d be interested.


    It is a serious miracle worker and natural! When we moved into this house the 3 year old dishwasher basically didnt work. My husband took it apart and chiseled away all the hard water deposits and we ran a cycle of lemi shine. it took all the ahrd water deposists away from the inside and bottom. Maybe we didnt need to take it apart in the first place:)

    I dont know where to find Lemi shine in Canada…
    it is on Amazon or check with Kimmie at They sponsor her blog:)

  12. Mine does the same thing… looks like I am going to try Lemi-Shine! I had given up on it, and just hand wash- I’m excited to give the dishwasher another try!

  13. We had the same thing when we lived there. The only thing that would keep the white film at bay was diamond brite. but it was super hard to find. I started ordering it in bulk :P

  14. You guys! I found lemi-shine at my teeny tiny little grocery store! It was $5! I bought the machine washer too. I am sooooo hoping this works!!

    1. I had my husband listen to your cry for help. We have just been through everything you mentioned. He was so tired of hearing me say that the dw was ruining my dishes and silverware that he was telling me to buy a new one… thank goodness we didn’t! After much research, I found out that the gov. took phosphates out of dw soap. (google “dishwasher ruining my dishes”). It was recommended to buy tri-sodium phosphate, or T.S.P., and add to your dw soap. The 1st time didn’t show any improvement. Then I soaked everything in vinegar water before putting in dw again. The 2nd time (just this morn.) looks like this is the answer!!

  15. I had the same troubles over five months ago. Freaked me out because we we entering Christmas/entertaining season. Here’s what we did:

    – Cleaned the dishwasher with Lemi-Shine (it really does work well).

    After the dishwasher was treated with Lemi-Shine we changed the way we wash our dishes in the dishwasher.

    – We use A LOT LESS soap (the hard water combined with soap makes the residue worse)
    – We add a cup of vinegar to the dishwasher every time we run it

    The problem hasn’t resurfaced since!!! Good luck!!!

  16. My apologies… it’s not Lemi-Shine, it’s Glisten. I live in Canada too. I looked for Lemi-Shine but the only product I could find that could compare was Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner.

  17. Try adding the Norwex magnet ball to the washer too…or the nellies washer ball. It really helps soften the hardwater! I have 1 in my dishwasher and 1 in the clothes washer!

  18. Gosh, hope all these wonderful ideas, help you out. That glass looks nasty. I’m kind of happy I wash my dishes by hand. lol
    Good luck. :)

  19. our dishes come out like that too. we have hard water. my husband puts CLR and runs it in a load with steel pots and pans or whatever else looks grimy like that.
    THEN, he runs another regular load with the dishwash detergent.
    basically, 2 full cycles once a month or when the dishes look terrible.

  20. You could try Citric Acid. My Mom has to use it now and then because her dishwasher sometimes leaves her glasses all cloudy. You can get it at most places I think….hardware etc…. Not sure how much she uses, but if the lemishine you bought doesn’t work, I can find out. :)

  21. I’m loving these tips. Going to have to look for Lemi-Shine here locally. My dishwasher gave us some nasty residue when I tried changing detergents, and I’m still fighting the consequences on some dishes. That stuff is miserable to remove.

  22. Oh man, that’s really bad >.<

    We've had that issue in the past and we DID end up buying a new dishwasher. The good news is, however, that after awhile, our dishes still ended up being cloudy and gross. We have hard water too, so I'm pretty sure it's because of that. Either way, I'm sorry I can't be of more help! I hope you find something that works for you :)

  23. Lemi-shine is my hero. Want an after pic? I was speechless when I opened up the dishwasher!!!

  24. Amada, did the “Canadian” Lemishine look just like it does on the link posted above? I have never seen it before but if you found it it should be promising that I would be able to find it in Alberta too!

  25. We were going crazy with this too, we used vinegar to clean the drain, changed detergents and thought we had to buy a new dishwasher, until we moved and it was still happening!

    I was told that the detergent holders hold too much detergent and the washers can’t use it all.

    We use Finish tabs now (with the ball rinse agent), break it in half, put the half without the rinse agent in the prewash section and the bigger piece in the regular section.

    Our dishes (almost) always come clean now…just have to teach hubby to fill the dishwasher properly!

  26. I used to have the same problem with the milky white cloud and other residues all over my dishes because of our hard-water until after I start to mix in some Jet Dry directly into my dishwasher soap. Now everything comes out sparkling.

  27. We love Lemi-shine! In Canada you can buy it at Canadian Tire.

  28. Can you post an updated pic after the lemishine? We are having the same issues!

    1. Hi Holly! I don’t remember if I posted an updated pic or not….maybe on my facebook page ages ago? But either way, it took off ALL the white mineral/residue! I continue to use it now with every load and it keeps my dishes sparkly :)

  29. The only glasses that don’t come out of the dishwasher sparkling are my wine glasses. I do keep JetDry in the reservoir because of our hard water, and it does seem to work on everything else. But the wine glasses continue to come out cloudy, even after using Barkeepers Friend, vinegar, LimeAway, and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for dishes. Nothing has worked. I’m wondering if it could be damage to the glass itself that has occurred over time rather than the hard water. I don’t want to toss them because they were a gift from my son, but I can’t use them for company because they just don’t look clean. Any suggestions?

    1. Lemishine was the only thing that worked for me! I had that thick white film that even a steel wool pad couldn’t scour off! I hope you can find some! It works amazingly well.

  30. FYI. They just changed the lemi shine pacs. They used to contain the lemi shine booster in it, I’m guessing that was the citric acid. I just got off the phone with them. Got the new formula and all my dishes had the thickest white chalky goop on them. Took 2 washes with vinegar and one overnight to remove it all. I don’t even think it is scale it’s slightly greasy. I also had their rinse aid in the rinse aid compartment. Dishwasher walls were likewise coated with the same residue now. On the phone the had me email pictures. But their solution is for me to buy the booster also to use with each wash. I believe there are less pacs ,15, in the new one and price is the same.l Thats three products! Arent they clever.
    this is a follow up on a very old thread, but it came up while searching for other complaints.

Leave a Reply to Sara Gordon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *