The focus of today’s post also happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves: hard water. The high mineral content of our water here in the mountains of Utah can make it tricky to get our laundry and dishes completely clean. And it’s easy for me to get discouraged and start thinking, “Oh, woe is me! It must be nice to live somewhere without hard water!” But while I was doing research for this post, I learned that having hard water is not as uncommon as I had thought. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—one site claimed that up to 85% of the U.S. has hard water! While that doesn’t necessarily solve my hard water problems, it does make me feel less alone in my struggles. It seems we’re all in this fight together! :-)
So as I was saying, hard water can be really annoying. And if I had to choose one particular hard water issue that annoys me the most, I would have to say it’s those hard water spots that get left behind on dishes. But luckily for all of us, there’s a simple way to eliminate this problem entirely! Today I’ll be sharing how it works, how I discoevered it, and how you can use it at home to get sparkling clean dishes too. :-)
How To Get Rid Of Hard Water Spots On Your Dishes
Part 1 – The Problem
It’s disheartening to pull your clean dishes out of the dishwasher only to find that they don’t look particularly clean at all! Some dishes (especially plastic ones like my food storage containers) used to come out looking so spotty and cloudy that I simply left them in the dishwasher to go through another wash cycle. But that never really made it any better. In fact, in some cases it made it WORSE because those mineral deposits would just continue to build up on the surface! Even after scrubbing them with steel wool, that cloudy film just would not budge.
Part 2 – The Solution
It was driving me crazy up until a couple of years ago, when I came across a little tip that ended up making a huge difference. I read a comment somewhere online from someone that had started using white vinegar as a rinse-aid in their dishwasher. They were very pleased with how shiny and clean the vinegar made their dishes look, so I figured it was worth a shot! I loaded my dishwasher like usual, then put a small ramekin in the center of the top rack. I filled the ramekin with plain white vinegar, then gently shut the dishwasher and turned it on to run a cycle.
Part 3 – The Results
The results of my little experiment were nothing short of miraculous! Once the cycle had finished, I opened my dishwasher to find some my drinking glasses looking as clean and shiny as they had the day I bought them. Not only that, but the dishes that had layers of mineral buildup on them came out perfectly clean too! And all because I had put less than a cup of white vinegar into my dishwasher! Since that first test, I have added vinegar to the top rack of every single load of dishes I’ve done, and it works just as well today as it did the first time. :-)
If hard water spots have been plaguing your dishes too, I highly recommend giving this tip a try. Not only is it a brilliantly simple solution, but it’s cost effective as well! Walmart currently sells a 128 ounce container of white vinegar for $2.48. If you add 6 ounces of vinegar to each load of dishes, that works out to $0.12 per load to virtually eliminate your hard water issues! And I like to keep white vinegar on hand anyway, because it’s so useful for so many different cleaning tasks.
And if your water isn’t terribly hard, you could opt to put vinegar straight into your rinse-aid dispenser instead! It will dispense a small amount of vinegar into your dishwasher during each load, which is perfect if you just need a little boost of cleanliness instead of a full-fledged had water intervention.
A Word About Dishwasher Seals
I share my “vinegar hack” with people as often as I possibly can, and most of the time I hear nothing but good things from people who have tried it. But I did want to mention that a few people have told me that their plumbers have actually advised them not to use vinegar in their dishwashers. Apparently the acidity of vinegar can eventually wear down the seal around your dishwasher door, potentially leading to leaks down the line. I’ve been using this tip for years now and I still haven’t experienced any issues with the seal. And out of curiosity, I looked up how much it would cost to buy a replacement seal or gasket on Amazon, and nearly every product only cost between $10-20. I’ll gladly eat that cost down the line if it means I can continue to have clean, shiny dishes every day!
Do you have any brilliant tips for dealing with the woes of hard water? Share them with us in a comment below! :-)