Is dishwasher salt needed?
Whether you need salt for your dishwasher depends on a number of factors. First, the hardness of the water in your community is important. You can easily check this online at your water supplier’s website.
The type of dishwasher detergent you use also matters. Some dishwasher cubes already contain salt, so you don’t need to add more. If your water hardness is 21 °dH or lower, you do not need to add baking soda if you use a salt-based detergent. If your water hardness is higher, or if there is no salt in the detergent, you will need to add salt.
Where in the dishwasher is the salt?
The reservoir is located on the bottom of most dishwashers under the lower rack. So you have to take it out before you can check if the reservoir is full. The reservoir has a cap and to check and top up the salt simply unscrew the cap. You can use a funnel to pour the salt into the reservoir, but often the opening is big enough to do this without a funnel. After refilling, be sure to tighten the cap again.
Your dishwasher has an option to adjust the water hardness. You can find out exactly how to do this in the dishwasher’s manual. If you set the water hardness correctly, your dishwasher can determine for itself how much salt is needed to make the clean dishes free of white deposits.
The maximum amount of salt to be added is indicated on the reservoir. A new dishwasher will often tell you when it’s time to refill.
Why should you use dishwasher salt?
The water your dishwasher uses to rinse your dirty dishes contains lime. How much lime there is in your tap water depends on where you live. Water with a lot of lime is called hard water and this causes a white deposit on your glasses. Lime deposits can also damage the inside of your dishwasher. The lime particles can block the holes in the spray arms, for example, preventing the water from being dispersed properly.
To turn hard water into soft water you need softening salt. This acts as a water softener that counteracts limescale. If your dishes still come out white, you may choose to increase the water hardness on your dishwasher or use extra salt cubes.
This will help keep the water soft.