West St. Paul


Phone Number

(204) 333-9250

Hard Water and Appliances

Millions of Canadians have hard water in their residences and places of business. It doesn’t matter which province you live in you will have areas with a light hardness to in some cases very hard water. Hard water can be very harsh and people are always looking to find a means to reduce the effects on plumbing and appliances.

When you detect ‘water spots’ on various surfaces, kitchenware, shower walls, and water-using appliances, you have to wonder what is hard water doing to my appliances. !t is time to take action because if you don’t, it might lead to very serious consequences.

Hard water spots on tiles

Hard water spots on tiles

What are the Characteristics of Hard Water?

Whenever extremely hard water comes into contact with other objects, chalky deposits are left behind because of the minerals in the water. As a result, the water in question is ineffective as a cleaning agent.

Hard minerals are a naturally occurring component of soil, and they can also be found in a region’s water tables. As a direct result of this, it is not surprising to see substantial sections of the world having to use hard water. However, the level of hardness varies significantly by region.

In most places, hard minerals are found in both well water and municipal water. There is a direct relationship between water hardness and the total number of dissolved minerals. It used to be taken that minerals in the drinking water represented no threat to human health. However research is starting to tell a different story, and in Canada, if the PPM (parts per million) of minerals is over 500 then you might want to filter them out. Some people believe mistakenly that high minerals in water are good for you. In fact, your body can only absorb about 3% of the minerals in the water. If the high mineral concentration is not removed from the water, your body has trouble moving nutrients around and flushing out toxins from your body.

 The minerals that cause hardness are calcium and magnesium. If left unchecked they will wreak havoc on water-using appliances, water channels, pipelines, and fixtures. Additionally, hard water will leave visible residues in your home, even after cleaning.

Layers of soil

Effects of Hard Water on Dishwashers

Scale, or limescale, are terms used in the plumbing industry to describe the residue left behind by hard water. Many people take action when they discover that the water they use for cleaning is not as effective as it should be. Though there are numerous methods for cleaning surfaces that have been discolored by hard water.  There is greater cause for concern when your dishwasher leaves markings on your dishes or does not properly clean them after the cycle.

Today, we will examine some of the problems with dishwashers that are caused by hard water. In addition, we will provide advice on how to address the problems at home.

Hard water stains in dishwasher

Hard water stains in dishwasher

Plates That are Cloudy or Have Water Spots

Cloudy plates and opaque glassware are the most typical issues that may emerge while using a dishwasher in a region with hard water. It is also valuable to mention that hard water will take years off the life span of a water softener if the situation is not corrected. In the situation where the dishes have been washed by the dishwasher and do not appear clean at the end of the cycle, it is most likely hard water that has left behind whitish splotches. These spots are more visible in transparent utensils, such as drinking glasses, but the residue on your standard plates will make them feel chalky and appear foggy.

Here are some resolutions that can be used:

Water spots on Glassware

Use More Rinse Aid

If your water has a low hardness level, it may produce marks without leaving a film of residue on your dishes. In this situation, ensure that your rinse aid supply is not depleted. Typical dishwashing machines include rinse aid dispensers as standard equipment.

When purchasing a new dishwasher carefully evaluate whether or not it includes this dispenser. You are responsible for replenishing it constantly and ensuring that it is always full. If your dishwasher lacks a rinse aid dispenser, you may wish to use a spray bottle instead. Additionally, if you want to cut costs and save money, you can replace rinse aid with white vinegar.

Water spots on plate

Water spots on plate

Change Your Detergent

As previously stated, hard water is not an effective cleaner. This issue is caused by water reacting with soap to form scum rather than suds, therefore diminishing the soap’s efficacy. To prevent this effect, various soap manufacturers have created detergents that specifically deal with the effects of hard minerals. Consequently, you might contemplate using a hard water detergent. Use a detergent formulated for hard water or additional normal detergent when loading the dishwasher to ensure that all utensils are fully cleaned.

Soft water Vs Hard water

Scale Buildup in The Dishwasher

Because scale can build from hard water, your dishwasher may develop scale over time. This is a more major issue with numerous potential repercussions. Scale development in your dishwasher poses a threat to the appliance since it has the potential to damage or clog the various components.

Given the existing state of the inside of the dishwasher, it is logical to assume that the dishes will not be adequately cleaned. The most effective course of action is to swiftly eliminate the scale build-up before the problem becomes more serious.

On a case-by-case basis, white vinegar is the most dependable remedy for hard water-related issues. Scale formation is dissolved by vinegar’s acid, and the resultant residue is then easily removed with hot water.

 There is no need to get on your hands and knees to clean the interior of your dishwasher. When the dishwasher is empty, it is more effective to run one hot cycle after pouring a bowl of vinegar on the top rack. Vinegar can also be used as a rinse-aid, which is quite helpful if your utensils emerge from the washing process covered in scale.

Citric acid is also very effective if used similarly.

Vinegar to clean the dishwasher

Dished are still Dirty

If food remains on your dishes after running them through the dishwasher, this is cause for concern. This problem is due to the harm that hard water has caused to your dishwasher over time. Scale can cause the components of your dishwasher to get blocked and rusted, shortening their lifespan.

The sprayer arms of your dishwasher likely have scale clogging the tiny pores in them. When you have tiny pores, scale problems are common. You will notice the same clogs on your sprinklers and showerhead. The most effective cure for this issue is vinegar. Use a towel dipped in white vinegar to clean the sprayer arms. Secure the sprayer arm by holding it firmly, and thoroughly clean the nozzle apertures with as little movement as possible.

Ensure that every last scrap of the scale has been removed. After scrubbing, run an empty dishwasher through a vinegar rinse cycle to eradicate any scale accumulation that may be difficult to locate and remove.  Use a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar to clean any easily accessible parts of your dishwasher. To lessen the damage caused by the continual use of hard water, vinegar should be used frequently to scrub everything. Remove with a moist towel anything that leaves a powdery residue on the skin when touched. Following this, the components must be cleaned with water. White vinegar is available at the majority of home improvement retailers.

Cleaning dishwasher arms

Cleaning dishwasher arms

Look out for Signs of Damaged Components

You should regularly inspect your dishwasher for blockages and other forms of damage, particularly if it is an older model. You can use vinegar to help scrape any scales you discover, but It’s important to inspect the components of your dishwasher for rust. Rust indicates that a component will get damaged or has already become damaged. When exposed to hard water, the components of a dishwasher are more prone to rusting and corrosion. As hard minerals break down, salts form, and this is detrimental to the metal components. Rust and corrosion will prevent the components from functioning properly and, over time, will cause irreparable harm.

Unfortunately, once rust and corrosion have caused damage, they cannot be reversed. The structural integrity of the component has already been compromised, and it will eventually fail. Rust will diminish the element’s usefulness over time. You may wish to investigate purchasing other components. You may want to consider hiring a service professional to obtain expert repairs.

Diswasher damage as a result of hard water

Dishwasher damage as a result of hard water

Would a Water Softener Help?

In general, hard water shortens the lifespan and degrades the performance of your dishwasher. If this occurs more frequently than normal, it may be because the water you are using is unusually hard. All of your water-using equipment, including the dishwasher, will have a shorter lifespan as a result.

Is there a better way of handling hard water issues than having to clean off water spots and lime deposits all the time?  As a matter of fact, yes there is, and it’s called a water softener. As the name implies it softens the water in your home, so you don’t have to put up with the effects of hard water.  After the softener removes the minerals that cause hardness (calcium and magnesium) from the water supply, the water will become soft and better for cleaning, and appliances, and easier on your skin when washing and showering. If you apply this solution, your home’s dishwasher, washing machine, pipes, and fixtures are no longer going to have the wear and tare of hard water. It will prevent spots from forming on surfaces caused by calcium and magnesium, making your home a cleaner environment.

Water Softener

Water Softener

For a free estimate call Affordable Water at 204 333-9250