How to Remove Dishwasher Soap Residue from Dishes

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Julie asked: How do I remove dishwasher soap from the bottom of my frying pans? There is a white residue, like chalk, on the bottom of my pans from dishwasher soap.

If your dishes come from your dishwasher with a white residue, there are a couple of things you can try to get them clean again. One solution is fairly simple, while the second requires a bit more work. Here’s what to do.

You Will Need:

  • Dishwasher
  • Unsweetened lemonade flavored Kool Aid
  • Vinegar
  • Clean sink with a stopper or large tub(s)
  • Scouring pad

Steps to Remove the White Residue:

  1. Though not a solution many of us would’ve thought of, the easiest thing to try, is to run the dishwasher a second time with the unsweetened lemonade powder in place of your usual detergent. This will often take care of the problem.
  2. If that doesn’t work, fill the dishes or pans with full strength vinegar.
  3. Allow them to soak overnight.
  4. Wash them out the next morning with a soft cloth. Use a scouring pad to scrub any stubborn spots.
  5. Repeat as necessary until the soap is gone.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • It’s possible that your dishwashing detergent is causing the white spots. You might want to try switching products to see if that helps the problem, particularly if it’s a recurring one. A new detergent, however, might not remove the spots. You may have to do that manually to give a fresh start.
  • If the problem occurs on the bottom of your pans or other cooking vessels, you may have burned-on food that attracts the residue or causes it. If the bottoms of your pans are not clean, try a specialty product such as Barkeeper’s Friend to return them to like-new condition. However, this is not appropriate for non-stick surfaces. For these pans, use the method above.
  • Many pans are not intended to be washed in the dishwasher. It is best to hand wash them and dry them immediately. Especially pans with a non-stick coating. This will prevent the coating from becoming damaged.
  • Some residue is caused from too much detergent being used in the cycle. A typical dishwasher only requires one tablespoon of detergent for proper cleaning.
  • If a rinse agent such as Jet Dry is being used, eliminate that first. These aids can leave a build up on the dishes and cause more trouble than good. Try washing the dishes without the rinse aid and see if the problem improves.
  • Some residue can be caused from hard water. In these cases, try adding a small amount of vinegar to the wash cycle to help cut through the deposits.

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