3 Easy Steps On “How to descale a dishwasher?” The Best Way!

Your dishwasher does not clean thoroughly anymore? When you stack the dishes, do you notice an unpleasant smell? Then it would help if you descaled the machine.

How to descale a dishwasher – Why do the glasses and cutlery have such unattractive white streaks when they come out of the dishwasher?

And somehow the machine has started to stinks. When the device’s cleaning ability diminishes, and it starts to smell bad, you probably have a problem with lime deposits.

These can also increase the electricity costs for running the machine, even if the heating elements are affected. Regular descaling is therefore useful in several ways.

Read here how to descaling the dishwasher the best way!


A related video about “How to clean your dishwasher” to watch.

Video Credit: Pan TheOrganizer


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In three steps, “how to descale a dishwasher?” the right way!

In three steps how to descale a dishwasher the right way!
In three steps, how to descale a dishwasher the right way! / Photo by Castorly Stock from Pexels

  1. In the drugstore or supermarket and online shops, you will find a more extensive selection of professional descaling agents.
  2. The descaling agents are available both in liquid form and as tabs. Some of the liquid descaling agents can be getting hung in the basket of the dishwasher.
  3. Please give attention to the instructions on the packaging. Awash cycle at around 60 degrees is often getting recommended.


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How to prepare the dishwasher for descaling?

How to prepare the dishwasher for descaling
How to descale a dishwasher? – How to prepare the dishwasher for descaling? / Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Every modern dishwasher has a built-in decalcifying system. But unfortunately, this is no guarantee against calf deposits. 

For the best possible results and overall cleanliness, it is advisable to pre-clean the cleared machine a little:

  • Remove the spraying arms. They are usually only attached or locked in place with a screw cap. Clean them with a dishwashing detergent. Alternatively, you can use a warm vinegar-water mixture.
  • Remove any food residue from the spray openings – this hinders the full functionality of the arms. Then put the cleaned parts back in place.
  • Check the sieve at the bottom of the machine pan for dirt and clean it if necessary.
  • Check the inside of the machine for coarse deposits. These are often getting found in the area around the door, corners, edges, and other areas where moisture remains for more extended periods. Remove the deposits with a sponge cloth and a limescale-dissolving cleaning agent. In this way, you can also pre-treat the rubber seals of the door.


How often should you decalcify the dishwasher?

How often should you decalcify the dishwasher
How to descale a dishwasher? – How often should you decalcify the dishwasher? / Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Just watch the heating element of your machine. If it is free of visible limescale deposits, decalcification is not yet necessary.

Generally speaking, you should decalcify your dishwasher at least once a year, or better up to three times a year.


Descale the dishwasher properly.

In general, always carry out descaling without using any dishes. Use a simple decalcifier as described and shown above. The acids contained there dissolve the lime.

In any case, a glance at the manufacturer’s operating instructions will help you. They tell you which descaler is getting recommended.


Descale dishwasher with vinegar essence (home remedies)

Descale dishwasher with vinegar essence
How to descale a dishwasher? – Descale dishwasher with vinegar essence / Image by 1150199 from Pixabay

Decalcifying the dishwasher with vinegar essence:

  • Pour two cups of vinegar essence into the machine’s interior. If possible, distribute when tipping. You can also use lemon essence.
  • Then run the regular program (65 degrees). The pre-rinse cycle is not needed; if possible, switch it off.
  • Do not pour in essence until approx 15 minutes after starting the program.
  • With vinegar essence, you can decalcify the dishwasher safely, lastingly, and at a reasonable price.

Tip: If you use concentrated vinegar essence instead of vinegar, it is sufficient to put about ten tablespoons of it in the dishwasher. As the liquid has a strong smell, a further (empty) rinse after decalcification can be useful to wash away the vinegar smell.


Descaling dishwasher with citric acid

Descaling dishwasher with citric acid
How to descale a dishwasher? – Descaling dishwasher with citric acid / Image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

If you want to apply citric acid for descaling, there is an essential difference to vinegar; it works with lower water temperature. 

The reason is that citric acid combines with lime to form a so-called calcium complex from which calcium citrate is getting created in combination with high temperatures.

This white substance causes deposits that exceed the hardness of lime and are therefore difficult to remove. In case of doubt, you should replace lime deposits with more stubborn calcium citrate deposits.

To use citric acid correctly, proceed as follows:

  • In a suitable container, mix approximately two liters of cold water with ten tablespoons of citric acid.
  • Switch on the dishwasher and select a program with the lowest possible temperature for cold descaling.
  • Please wait a moment for water in the machine, then switch it off and open it to pour in the water-citric acid mixture.
  • Then close the device again and let the mixture work for at least one hour. Then turn the machine back on, start the program again and let it run through.


Descale the dishwasher with baking soda and baking powder.

Descale the dishwasher with baking soda and baking powder.
How to descale a dishwasher? – Descale the dishwasher with baking soda and baking powder. / Image by Evita Ochel from Pixabay

As an alternative to vinegar essence or citric acid, baking powder and baking soda can also be getting used. You can replace the household remedies with one of the others, depending on your preference. 

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Or you can use the power of several household remedies at the same time: 

  • Combined baking soda or baking powder with vinegar essence and citric acid are also said to work wonders against lime. 
  • Sprinkle two or one spoons of baking soda or baking powder on the bottom of the dishwasher and put vinegar essence or citric acid in the dishwasher detergent compartment. 
  • Mix one part vinegar essence with two parts of water. 

Hint: Do not use the pre-wash cycle – this will rinse away your detergent on the floor. Then start the machine at least 60 degrees.

If stubborn deposits remain, rub them off with some vinegar essence or citric acid and a sponge.


How to avoid calcification in the dishwasher with salt?

How to avoid calcification in the dishwasher with salt
How to descale a dishwasher? – How to avoid calcification in the dishwasher with salt? / Photo by Castorly Stock from Pexels

Dishwasher manufacturers always recommend using unique salt (not household salt) for tough water.

It helps the dishwasher to soften the water and prevents unsightly lime stains on the glasses. Conversely, a dishwasher that quickly calcifies means that salt may have to be getting refilled.

Some dishwashers have an indicator light for this, which gives a signal when the salt is getting used up. Or you can check the compartment regularly.

Then follow the dosage information in the instructions. If you are dealing with slightly soft water, Multi tabs can also replace the unique salt.

Another reason why your dishwasher calcifies quickly can be an incorrect decalcification setting. If this does not correspond to your local water hardness, the dishwasher will calcify faster.

So when you buy a new dishwasher or move house, check the water hardness with your supplier.


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How to prevent dishwasher calcification?

How to prevent dishwasher calcification
How to descale a dishwasher? – How to prevent dishwasher calcification? / Photo by Wendelin Jacober from Pexels

An essential measure against calcification is the correct setting of the dishwasher’s descaling system. In each region, the water has a different hardness, which often does not match the appliance’s standard-setting.

Therefore, you should ask your municipal utilities about the local water hardness and compare the value with the setting on the machine.

You will find the necessary information and setting instructions in the operating instructions. Look there for a section that says Adjust water hardness, Hardness setting ion exchanger, or similar.

After adjustment, make sure that regenerating salt is always filled in the correct amount so that the descaling system works.

If you only use cleaning tabs and do not use salt, the water may not be getting decalcified sufficiently.

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To further prevent this, you can use the methods mentioned above one to two times a year, depending on the water hardness.



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