Dishwasher salt is a specially formulated product that is used to soften hard water. Hard water can make your dishes look dirty and can leave streaks and grime on them. In the Netherlands and large parts of Europe, the water is quite hard, which is why most dishwashers have a built-in water softener that needs to be filled with salt from time to time. It is not difficult to use dishwasher salt, and your dishes will be clean and shiny.
Method 1 of 2: Put dishwasher salt in your dishwasher
Step 1. Remove the bottom rack from your dishwasher so you can see the salt reservoir
Pull the bottom rack completely out of your dishwasher and place it on your counter. You may need to lift it slightly to release it from the rollers. The reservoir is located on the bottom of the dishwasher. You can usually find it close to the edge. If you can't find a reservoir, your dishwasher may not have a built-in water softener.
Step 2. Unscrew the cap and check the reservoir for water
The water softener in a dishwasher has a cap that must always be tightened after use. Unscrew this cap and set it aside. If this is your first time using the dishwasher, you will need to fill the reservoir with water. Add enough to bring the water to the brim.
After you use the dishwasher for the first time, there should always be some water in the water softener. You don't have to top up the water
Step 3. Only put dishwasher salt in the water softener
You can find specially formulated dishwasher salt at supermarkets, hardware stores and on the internet. It doesn't matter which brand you choose, but don't use table salt, sea salt, or coarse salt as a substitute for dishwasher salt. These salts are used in cooking and contain additives that can make the water even harder. They can also be too fine, which can clog the water softener.
Step 4. Pour salt into the funnel until the reservoir is full
The size of the salt reservoir and the amount of salt it can hold varies by dishwasher, so there is no exact amount you should use in this step. Pour salt into the reservoir until it is full. Because there is also water in the reservoir, you get a salt solution that supports the chemical processes that take place in the built-in water softener.
By using a funnel to pour salt into the reservoir you will not spill. Hold the funnel over the reservoir instead of inserting it into the hole. If the funnel gets wet, the salt will not fall through properly
Step 5. Wipe off the excess salt with a wet cloth
If you spill salt around the reservoir, wipe it off with a wet cloth. The salt you put in the water softener never comes into contact with your dishes, because it stays in the reservoir. However, if you leave any salt residue in your dishwasher, it will be mixed with the water used for the dishes. It won't damage your dishes, but can be slightly dirty after a rinse and full of salt residue.
You can also run a rinse cycle without dishes in the dishwasher to get the spilled salt out of the dishwasher
Step 6. Tightly screw on the cap
Tighten the cap back on the reservoir and make sure it is secure. If the cap comes off during the wash cycle and detergent gets into the water softener, the water softener may break. Of course, you don't want to have to pay for a new dishwasher or repair just because the cap wasn't on properly.
Step 7. Put the lower rack back in the dishwasher and use the appliance as normal
Once you've checked the cap, you can put the bottom rack back in the dishwasher. Place the dishes in your dishwasher and use them as you normally would. There is no need to run a rinse or cleaning program with an empty dishwasher after adding salt.
Method 2 of 2: Check if your dishwasher needs salt
Step 1. Only use salt in dishwashers with a built-in water softener
If you're not sure if your dishwasher has a built-in water softener, check with the manufacturer. If you can't find a reservoir on the bottom of your dishwasher, your dishwasher probably doesn't have a water softener. Do not put dishwasher salt in other compartments and containers intended for detergent and rinse aid. This can easily break your device.
You can also find out if your dishwasher has a built-in water softener in the owner's manual for your dishwasher
Step 2. Check the salt indicator on your dishwasher
The easiest way to find out if your dishwasher needs more salt is to see if your dishwasher indicates this on its own. Many dishwashers have an indicator light on the top panel of the dishwasher and/or on the appliance itself. If the lights are green, you don't need to do anything. If the indicator lights are red (or the lights on the appliance are off), you will need to add more salt.
Step 3. Refill the reservoir at least once a month
If your dishwasher doesn't have indicator lights, you'll have to make your own schedule. It's a good idea to top up the salt about once a month if your dishwasher has a built-in water softener. Even if your appliance does have indicator lights, it may be a good idea to add salt to the reservoir if it's been a month since you last did it.
The indicator lights may be broken if it takes more than a month to indicate that you need to add salt. Check the reservoir and call the manufacturer if you are concerned
Step 4. Refill the reservoir if your dishes have a lot of streaks
Keep an eye on your dishes to check the hardness of the water. If the water gets too hard, your dishes will streak and appear white. You can see this especially clearly on glasses. Fill the reservoir with salt to make your wine glasses shine again.