Dishwasher Leaving White Residue on Dishes

There’s nothing more frustrating than taking a load of dishes out of the dishwasher only to find a layer of white residue coating them. Instead of putting them up in the cabinets where they belong, you’re forced to wipe each one of them down to remove this mysterious film, making it even more difficult to do a single load of dishes. If you’ve noticed this happening in your kitchen, you should try to find out what’s causing the residue to develop so you can fix the problem. Thankfully, it’s usually something that most people can fix without any professional help or expensive parts; here’s how you do it:


Unless you know otherwise, you might assume the white film left behind is food debris from your dishes. This might be true in some situations, but nine out of ten times the white film is simple powder detergent that’s not getting rinsed away properly. As a result, your dishes come out with a powdery substance stuck to their sides, which then forces you to wipe them down before use. So, how are supposed to prevent the detergent from sticking to the sides of your dishes?

One of the first things you should do is switch to liquid dish detergent. Powder detergent contains silicate, which is essentially the powder that’s left on after they are done washing. Thankfully, however, liquid detergent lacks this unnecessary ingredient, so there’s less chance of your dishes developing this white film. With that said, you’ll want to make sure to only use liquid detergent designed specifically for the dishwasher and not liquid dish soap. Trying to force liquid dish soap into your dishwasher will likely result in a sudsy mess that doesn’t really clean your dishes.

If your dishes are still coming out of the dishwasher with a white film coating them, you should try adding rinse aid to your unit. As the name suggests, rinse aids are designed to help wash away stubborn food particles and residue left on your dishes. Most units have a special compartment that’s designed specifically for rinse aid. You just squirt a small bottle’s worth of it into the compartment and close it up. Once your dishwasher kicks on, it will automatically use some of the rinse aid placed inside it. Depending on how frequently you wash dishes, a single bottle of rinse aid should last you for a month or even longer before it needs to re-filled.