How Do You Use Dishwasher Salt

If you own a dishwasher and you want to keep it working properly you’ll need to add dishwasher salt to the reservoir on a regular basis. Dishwasher salt helps extend the life of the appliance and also improves the cleaning of the dishes.

If you have just become the proud owner of a dishwasher for the first time, and are not sure what to do with dishwasher salt, keep reading. In this article we look at dishwasher salt, explain why it’s important and where to put it.

How To Add Dishwasher Salt

Unscrew The Salt Reservoir

Adding dishwasher salt to the reservoir is a simple task that will take you no more than 5 to 10 minutes to perform. All you need is a funnel and dishwasher salt

Here’s how to add dishwasher salt to the reservoir;

  1. Locate The Salt Reservoir
    The salt reservoir is typically found at the bottom of the tub in the dishwasher. You will need to remove the lower rack to access the reservoir which is often located on the left hand side covered by a screw on cap.
  2. Unscrew The Salt Reservoir Cap
    Once you have found the salt reservoir cap, simply follow the directional arrows to unscrew the cap. If there are no arrows try twisting the cap anti-clockwise. 
  3. Releasing A Stuck Cap
    If the screw cap is stuck fast and difficult to unscrew, this is most likely caused by encrusted salt. To free the cap just cover it with a cloth soaked in hot water. Allow the cloth to cool before removing it and trying to unscrew the cap again.
  4. Use The Funnel To Fill The Salt Reservoir
    Your dishwasher should have come supplied with a funnel which is specifically designed to fit into the salt reservoir opening. This can be rested into the top of the opening, but we recommend holding the funnel slightly above the water level inside the reservoir to help the salt flow freely.
  5. Pour The Salt Into The Reservoir
    You should only use dishwasher salt (see below) which should be poured through the funnel until it almost reaches the top of the reservoir. Leave a rim of around 1 inch (½ cm) clear at the top of the reservoir. Don’t worry if water flows out of the reservoir, this is quite normal.
  6. Remove Any Spilled Salt
    Once the reservoir is full, wipe up any spilled salt using a damp cloth. Dishwasher salt never reaches the dishes and should not be left in the dishwasher as it could scratch the finish of your dishes and glasses.
  7. Replace The Salt Cap
    Ensure the salt reservoir cap is replaced and screwed on correctly to prevent anything from entering the reservoir and also to prevent the dishwasher salt from leaking onto your dishes.
  8. Replace The Lower Rack
    Once the lower rack has been replaced back into position, your dishwasher is ready to use once again.

Putting Salt Into A Brand New Dishwasher

If you have just received your new dishwasher and are not sure how to use it, the first thing you need to know is that the salt reservoir needs filling with water before adding any salt

Once the reservoir is full of water, you should follow the instructions above.

Can Any Salt Be Used In A Dishwasher?

You should never use any other type of salt in a dishwasher other than dishwasher salt. Although table salt and dishwasher salt are technically the same thing, there are enough differences that mean using table salt in a dishwasher could damage the appliance.

The first thing you will notice about dishwasher salt is that it is very coarse. It’s made coarse to allow it to dissolve slowly and at just the right amount for softening the water in the dishwasher. As it is coarse, it won’t clog any parts of the dishwasher either.

Table salt, on the other hand, is fine and is likely to damage the internal working of the dishwasher. Added to which table salt often has anti-caking agents added to help it flow freely.

The anti-caking agent used is often magnesium which is one of the minerals in hard water that the dishwasher salt helps to remove, So using table salt would add to the problems caused by hard water.

What Does Dishwasher Salt Do?

Dishwasher salt helps soften the water used in your dishwasher by removing the minerals found in water which make it hard water. Dishwasher salt helps to prevent limescale from building up in your dishwasher.

A limescale build up could potentially damage your dishwasher and prevent it from cleaning your dishes properly. It also helps get your dishes clean and if you notice that your glassware is becoming cloudy after being washed in the dishwasher, it means the salt reservoir needs refilling.

When Should You Add Dishwasher Salt?

Pour In The Dishwasher Salt

Most dishwashers have a way of alerting you when the salt reservoir needs topping up. This could be by a flashing light on the display panel or a red light that turns green when the reservoir is full.

On others there is a float built into the cap of the salt reservoir. If you can see the float it means the reservoir has enough salt, when you can’t see it, it’s time to top up the salt reservoir.

If your dishwasher doesn’t appear to have any indicator at all, you should top up the reservoir at least once a month if you live in a hard water area. In areas with soft water, after the initial filling with salt, you may not need to top up the reservoir for some months.

Where Can You Buy Dishwasher Salt?

Dishwasher salt can be purchased in most supermarkets, grocery stores and online. The only branded dishwasher salt is Finish, however, most supermarkets have their own brand equivalent.

Unlike some own branded products, dishwasher salt is just as good wherever you buy it. Plus own branded dishwasher salt tends to be far cheaper to buy than the branded equivalent.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I put salt in my dishwasher?

Dishwasher salt should be put in the salt reservoir which is typically located on the bottom of the tub and can be accessed by removing the lower rack. You can then unscrew the salt cap and pour the dishwasher salt into the reservoir using the funnel provided with your appliance.

What happens if you don’t put salt in the dishwasher?

If you don’t put salt in the dishwasher salt reservoir and you run it for a long time in a hard water area without any salt, the water softener in the appliance will become damaged. This will lead to your glassware and other dishes getting stained with limescale. You will then need to get the softener replaced or buy a new dishwasher.

Can you put dishwasher salt at the bottom of the dishwasher?

The salt reservoir is typically located at the bottom of the dishwasher and this is where you should put dishwasher salt. You should not however, just put loose dishwasher salt in the bottom of the dishwasher, it should only be put in the salt reservoir.

How much dishwasher salt should I put in?

There is no set level to the amount of dishwasher salt that should be added to your dishwasher. You should fill the reservoir until it is around ½ cm below the rim of the reservoir.

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