85% of tap water in the US is hard water according to the US Geological Survey. Because of the high prevalence of hard water, most of us need to use white vinegar in our dishwashers. Hard water affects dishwashing -- mineral deposits spot glassware or leave a film of mineral buildup and scale develops on the upper and lower spray wands. Although there are many products on the market to dissolve the mineral deposits, distilled white vinegar is an easy eco-friendly solution.
Here is an easy way to keep your dishes sparkling clean. Use a shallow bowl (like a pleated ramekin) sitting upright on the top shelf of the dishwasher. Put ¼ cup of the white vinegar in the ramekin. As the dishwasher goes through its cycles, vinegar in the ramekin gradually spills over and dispenses this safe, effective, and economical water softener.
Buy vinegar in large quantities and keep your white vinegar next to the dishwashing powder as a reminder to use it each wash cycle. To avoid lifting a big jug of white vinegar every time you do your dishes, use a convenient hand-size bottle such as an unused water bottle (pictured) to add the vinegar.