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I've installed a Bosch SMS60L18IN dishwasher, best in its latest series. We were very satisfied with its first wash when it gave us clean utensils without any problems. We put a 3 in 1 tablet then. Now, I use a special salt, detergent and rinse aid, all from Finish.

From the second wash onward, it leaves white film on almost all utensils and food residues are not cleaned on some.

I tried all workarounds that I found online like changing detergent amounts and using the vinegar trick.

The issue I was thinking and the company engineers suspect is the water hardness which is around 900 (or 920) ppm. They changed the hardness level in the machine to H7 (this is the max one for 8.9 mmol/L hardness that the company specified) suggested me to run the machine for a few cycles to get rid of water residue from previous cycles.

I've already ran four cycles and the issue still persists. Is the water hardness the cause alone? Would be there other issues like the detergent or salt?

I observed:

  1. The first wash was perfect. We haven't used salt here. Second and third washes are a bit okay.
  2. In the second wash. We put a 1.5 kg of specially recommended salt (Finish brand)
  3. Issue worsened from the fourth wash.
  4. I realized that I haven't filled the salt reservoir with water (the company recommends to fill it with water when you use the machine for the first time) and then filled it with a glass of water.
  5. The technicians said that is not a big issue as the machine will itself dilute the salt with water after 2 or 3 washes.
  6. I ran the machine by pouring a cup of vinegar as suggested in some articles and I found that the white layer on the machine's door was gone and utensils in the next wash are somewhat clean. Also, I tried changing detergent amounts, rinse aid quantity settings and switching hardness levels with each wash.

  7. Tried changing the size of the load with each wash

  8. Even if we purchase a budget softener like this, it may have low output rates and that gives new problems.

  9. importantly is that it's too noisy (it gives knocking sounds while rinsing) like a clothes washing machine. The company staff said it is normal or I guess it is not that loud when they are around:)

More details

  • Name of the detergent, salt and rinse-aid's brand is Finish
  • I am not using all-in-one tablets now

The company staff recommended water softeners (of a different brand as they don't sell softeners). But I fear if it brings new issues like the change in flow rate (individual tap softeners have low flow rate, i.e., 2 litres per minute where as the dishwasher requires 6 litres per minutre). Ours is a rented house so I can't install a permanent or full house water softener.

Could anybody tell me if you find any other issues here other than the water hardness? Any suggestions or solutions are welcome.

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    I had an issue similar to yours that I thought was due to some issue with the soap or water, but turned out to be simply that the machine was draining all the water immediately in each cycle and thus not actually washing or rinsing properly (the drain solenoid was stuck). Have you verified that the wash cycle is actually washing? – Robert Nubel Dec 19 '16 at 20:14
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is it wise to spend on dishwasher maintenance and water softeners when we have the water with too much hardness (900 ppm)?

Well, the whole point of a water softener is to reduce the hardness. So I find it odd that you ask if it's wise to use a water softener when your water is excessively hard... In short, yes, that's what you do to fix this problem, normally - install a water softener with appropriate capacity to deal with the hardness of your water, at least for the appliances you care about that for.

  • Sorry that I didn't make myself clear. I meant to say that the maintenance of softeners is an added expense and curious to know if softeners bring new problems in a long run. – Netizen Dec 20 '16 at 14:09
  • Yes, maintenance of softeners is an expense and a burden to remember and to perform. But when you have a problem with very hard water like you do, it is the best way to solve the problem. With regard to new problems, I have never heard of softeners causing problems like accelerated corrosion of pipes, nor are there any mechanisms I am aware of to do so. – Philip Ngai Mar 11 '18 at 17:33
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I've had issues with white film before and I solved them by switching to detergents which have some amount of phosphorus in them.

Look for packaging that defines some amount of phosphorus content

Finish Quantum Dishwasher Detergent

  • I found the same thing in the manual - "change detergent". Also, I would like to mention that the issue started the day we added the Finish salt. I don't know how to empty the resorvoir and fill it with a different brand of salt now :) – Netizen Dec 20 '16 at 14:13
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Like @RobertNubel, I had a similar symptoms too.

A glass fragment ended up in the diverter valve (which directs water flow either through the drain or through the washing jets). While the dishwasher was washing, it was also draining slowly.

Take out the lower rack and look carefully at the water intake area and under any grills and covers for debris. If there is, you might need to disassemble the pipes to look for and clean out any more crud.

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