What is Dishwasher Salt and What Does It Do?

What is Dishwasher Salt and What Does It Do?

If you own a dishwasher, you may have heard of dishwasher salt or noticed it listed as a component on dishwasher detergent packages. But what exactly is dishwasher salt, and why is it important for the proper functioning of your dishwasher?

In this blog, we will explore the ins and outs of dishwasher salt, including what it is, how it works, and why you should use it in your dishwasher. By the end, you will have a better understanding of this essential component of dishwasher maintenance and be better equipped to keep your dishes looking their best.

What is dishwasher salt?

Dishwasher salt is a specially formulated type of salt that is designed to be used in dishwashers to help soften hard water. Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can leave behind residue and cause limescale build-up in your dishwasher. By adding dishwasher salt to your machine, it helps to regenerate the ion exchange resin in your dishwasher's water softener system. As the salt dissolves in the water, it releases sodium ions which exchange with the hard water minerals, effectively removing them from the water. This helps to prevent limescale build-up and ensures that your dishwasher can clean your dishes effectively and efficiently.

Using dishwasher salt has numerous benefits:

  • Firstly, it helps to ensure that your dishes come out of the dishwasher looking clean and free from streaks and water spots.
  • It also helps to prevent damage to your dishwasher caused by limescale build-up, which can ultimately extend the life of your machine.
  • Additionally, using dishwasher salt can also save you money in the long run by preventing the need for expensive repairs or replacement of your dishwasher.

What is the difference between dishwasher salt and rinse aid?

It's important to note that while dishwasher salt is an essential component of dishwasher maintenance, it is not the same as rinse aid.

Rinse aid is a solution added to the dishwasher during the rinse cycle to help improve the washing and drying performance of the machine. While rinse aid can also help prevent water spots and streaks, it does not have the same water-softening properties as dishwasher salt. Therefore, to ensure that your dishwasher is functioning at its best, it's important to use both dishwasher salt and rinse aid as recommended by the dishwasher manufacturer.

How does dishwasher salt work?

Dishwasher salt works by softening hard water in your dishwasher. Hard water contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can leave behind limescale build-up on dishes and inside your dishwasher. Dishwasher salt contains sodium chloride, which is a type of salt that dissolves in water and releases sodium ions.

When you add dishwasher salt to your machine, it is typically poured into a designated compartment at the bottom of the dishwasher. The salt then mixes with the water inside the dishwasher, and the sodium ions in the salt exchange with the calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water. This exchange effectively removes the hard water minerals from the water, preventing them from leaving deposits on your dishes and inside your dishwasher.

In addition to preventing limescale build-up, dishwasher salt also helps to ensure that your dishwasher can clean your dishes effectively. Hard water can interfere with the cleaning process, making it more difficult for the dishwasher detergent to dissolve and clean your dishes properly. By softening the water, dishwasher salt helps to optimise the cleaning performance of your dishwasher and ensures that your dishes come out clean and spotless.

Do I need to put salt in my dishwasher?

Whether or not you need to put salt in your dishwasher depends on the type of dishwasher you own and the hardness of the water in your area.

If you have a dishwasher that is designed to use salt, then it's important to add it to the designated compartment. This is because salt helps to soften the water and reduce the amount of mineral build-up in the dishwasher. When this is not maintained, it can cause a variety of problems, including clogged pipes and reduced cleaning performance.

However, not all dishwashers require salt. If your dishwasher doesn't have a designated compartment for salt or if your water is already soft, then you don't need to add salt.

To determine whether or not your dishwasher requires salt, you can check the manufacturer's instructions or consult a professional. Additionally, you can have your water tested to determine its hardness level. If the water is considered hard, then using salt may be recommended.

Why do dishwashers need salt?

Dishwashers need salt for a process called water softening. Water softening is the process of removing minerals like calcium and magnesium from the water.

Salt is used to regenerate the resin beads in the water softener. The resin beads attract the minerals in the water and exchange them for sodium ions. Over time, the resin beads become saturated with minerals and need to be regenerated by flushing them with a strong brine solution, which is made by dissolving salt in water. This allows the resin beads to keep the water soft.

How often should you put salt in a dishwasher?

Use dishwasher salt every time, even if you use multi-detergent tablets. This is to prevent the formation of the limescale on the heater to get the best dish-washing performance.

How to put salt in a dishwasher

Putting salt in your dishwasher is a straightforward process that involves the following steps:

  1. Check your dishwasher's instruction manual to locate the salt compartment. The location of the compartment may vary depending on the model of your dishwasher.
  2. Remove the cap or cover from the salt compartment.
  3. Using a funnel or a steady hand, pour the salt into the compartment. Be careful not to overfill the compartment.
  4. Once the compartment is filled, wipe away any spilt salt around the opening of the compartment.
  5. Replace the cap or cover onto the salt compartment, making sure it's securely in place.
  6. Run a cycle of the dishwasher to allow the salt to dissolve and distribute through the water softener.

It's important to note that you should only use dishwasher salt in the designated salt compartment.

Make sure to check the salt level regularly and add more as needed to maintain the efficiency of your dishwasher's water softener.

How much salt do you put in a dishwasher?

When adding the salt, you should use enough so there is a layer on the surface of your dispenser. That might seem like a large amount but it is the required measure and it should last roughly two to three weeks.

Where does dishwasher salt go?

The softener section, which generally sits below the lowest basket by the discharge pipe, must be found. Then, undo the lid and add dishwasher salt with no specific measurement necessary.

Next steps

By following our guide, we hope you will have a better understanding of the role of dishwasher salt and the benefits it has for your dishwasher. By using both dishwasher salt and rinse aid as recommended by your dishwasher manufacturer, you can help to ensure that your machine is functioning at its best and keep your dishes looking their best.

If you’re looking to upgrade your dishwasher, take a look at our dishwasher buying guide and browse our selection of dishwashers from our leading appliance brands, here at Marks Electrical.


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