Having a dishwasher is a wonderful addition to any kitchen, but that is only if it works properly. There are many things that you can do to help your dishwasher do its job, including using dishwasher salts. You can find this salt at grocery stores, and once placed in your dishwasher, it can help with a ton of different aspects of your wash cycle, including helping with water hardness and improving your rinse cycle to eliminate those pesky watermarks.
But unlike liquid dishwasher detergent, you have to be very careful about the amounts of salt you place in your dishwasher. So, just how much salt should you put in your dishwasher? We will take a look at this question and several others so that you will be able to understand the benefits and processes that dishwasher salt can be helpful with.
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What Is Dishwasher Salt? And Why Should I Use It?
Dishwasher salt is very different from the table salt that we all have in our kitchens. This salt is specifically designed to be used as a water softener. Going more in-depth into what dishwasher salt is, you have to understand the difference between hard and soft water. This salt is crafted to pull the magnesium and calcium ions hard water contains out of the water.
Though it is a salt, it is important to understand you cannot swap this out with cooking salt or rock salt. The salt granule size is also important as you don’t want to use finer salt. This type of salt is designed with larger granules, and finer salt could clog and cake, leaving the unit damaged or performing poorly.
There are many places in the world, especially throughout Europe, that dishwashers are designed with a built-in salt reservoir that you place your loose salt in. There are many different dishwasher salt brands that you can choose from as well as salt alternatives like white vinegar that can help clean dishes.
In the end, the benefits of using salt in dishwashers are well worth investing in this product. Not only will you get spectacularly clean and shiny dishes, but the salt will help prevent build up from hard water and may even extend the life of your dishwasher.
How Do I Check If My Dishwasher Needs Salt?
You have to figure out if your dishwasher is designed with a built-in salt compartment. To do this, you need to either look at the owner’s manual or research the dishwasher manufacturer. (One word of note if you are from the United States, most dishwashers do not have this cleaning chamber included in their designs.) Once you have identified if your model has the salt compartment, you should look at the indicator lights to see if there is sufficient salt in the unit.
If the salt refill indicator symbol is lit up red, it is time to add some dishwasher salt into the unit. A good rule of thumb is to add some of those large granular-sized units into the salt compartment at least once a month, no matter if your salt light is on or not. If you don’t go by this rule of thumb, when your dishes are starting to show spots and be streaky then, you should top off the salt compartment.
Steps To Putting Salt in Your Dishwasher
After you’ve determined if your dishwasher unit has a salt compartment, you can then reach down into the bottom of your dishwasher and pull the bottom rack out. You will then find the reservoir built into the bottom on the sides of your dishwasher.
Then take the top off the water softener unit and fill it with water. You want to make sure that you use a precise measurement, so you’re able to pour to the proper level in this reservoir. Then you will use a funnel to pour the salt into this reservoir. Once again, be careful to use precise measurements so that your salt does what it’s supposed to.
What if, when you were pouring, you have a little bit of a salt overflow? You will want to take a damp cloth and clean up any excess salt from around the reservoir opening. Once done, replace the cap making sure to tighten it well.
All that is left is to replace the bottom rack. You can then use the dishwasher immediately or use the rinse aid setting to do one cycle without any dishes present. This will allow any extra salt within the dishwasher to wash away and ensure that the salt action you’re looking for will be present in the next wash cycle. (If your dishwasher doesn’t have a salt reservoir, do not place salt in the detergent reservoirs as this could damage the machine.)
Do you still have some questions about your dishwasher and the salt it requires? Take a look at the answers to the below questions.
What Is Dishwasher Salt?
Dishwasher salt is a specially crafted salt that is used to soften water. The composition of the salt allows it to pull magnesium and calcium ions from the water, thereby adjusting hard water. This will make sure that your dishes come out as clean as possible.
How To Check Your Salt Levels
You can always open it up and check it manually. But most dishwashers designed with this feature come with a salt refill indicator light. If this light is red, the salt levels are low and it is time to refill them. Some take this into their own hands and build in a consistent maintenance schedule. This includes refilling the salt at least once a month.
For those that don’t want to add this into the routine, pay attention to the cleanliness of your dishes. If they’re not coming out as clean as you’d like, then go ahead and refill the salt. Once you’ve determined that you need salt, then follow the instructions above. You will be able to refill your dishwasher salts easily.
Is There Too Much Salt In My Dishwasher?
If you’re noticing that your dishes and glasses have a little bit of a saltier taste than usual, then you may have put a little too much salt in your dishwasher. When filling your dishwasher, you need to make sure you follow the guidelines of your unit. You must also use precise measurement tools. Using the wrong amount of salt not only affects the water but could potentially affect the dishwasher’s performance, lifespan, and longevity.
For those with dishwashers built with a dishwasher salt compartment, you must utilize it properly. This can ensure that your dishes come out spotless. Hard water can be harsh not only on your dishes but also on the dishwasher unit itself.
Any product that can help you soften the water and extend the life of your dishwasher unit is a good investment. Hopefully, you now know how much salt to put in the dishwasher. We hope the instructions above have helped you find and fill your dishwasher salt reservoir correctly.
Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).