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What Does Dishwasher Salt Do?

Salt for your dishwasher is basically course-grained sodium chloride and it’s required in every dishwasher even if you’re living in a soft water area. Salt is needed to protect your appliance from limescale and also assists with the water softening process within your machine.

Most modern dishwashers will have an indicator light on the dishwasher salt symbol to remind you to add salt, or a float indicator in the drawer will be your guide. Alternatively, you can simply refill the salt about once a month.

What does dishwasher salt do? Read on to find out…

Dishwasher salt

Dishwasher salt is the key to achieving the best cleaning results by making the water soft. The sodium in dishwasher salt when combined with the resin balls in the workings of your dishwasher absorbs the hardness in the water.

The science behind this is the negative atomic charge in the resin balls and the positive atomic charge in the dishwasher salt result in the calcium and magnesium swapping with the sodium ions and softening of the water. As the sodium stores in the resin balls are depleted adding more salt restores them, so they can continue the absorption process.

Hard water areas

Whether you have hard water where you live depends on the geology of your local area. Southern and eastern England tend to have harder water as these limestone and chalk regions tend to have more minerals in the water, making the build-up of limescale much faster.

As the amount of salt required depends on the water hardness level you may want to do a simple test with a water hardness test strip that easily determines the hardness of local water, and allows you to select the correct amount of salt and the frequency of use. Bear in mind the higher the water hardness the more dishwasher salt is required. If you think you’re having to refill the salt too often you can try lowering the water hardness setting.

Soft water areas

You can adjust the water hardness setting in your dishwasher to be suitable for soft water. This means you probably won’t need to top up the salt often but is still recommended to avoid cloudy glasses.

Choosing your dishwasher salt

Dishwasher salt will come in just two options of supermarket own-brand versions or Finish. All will be 100% salt with no added anti-caking agents, and the only differences will be in the size of the granules and the packaging.

All in one tablets will contain some salt but it's still advisable to top up the salt to protect tableware from cloudiness.

Adding your dishwasher salt

To top up the salt you’ll need to locate the salt compartment which is usually at the bottom of the appliance by the filter. Simply pull out the lower rack and position the small funnel that came with your dishwasher into the hole to avoid spillage.

Fill the salt up to the water level and remember to only put the salt in here as this ensures it never actually touches the dishes, it just stays in this unit. If loose salt gets into your dishwasher it can cause it not to work properly and give you slightly dirty and salty results. Putting salt into areas marked for normal detergent, cleaner or rinse aid may break your appliance.

Looking for dishwasher repairs in South London?

Dishwasher servicing by trained professionals will ensure your appliance is restored to full working order quickly and effectively. And all services are fully insured and guaranteed for six months.