How to Clean Calcium Buildup in Dishwasher (Quick and Easy)

Keeping your kitchen and utensils clean is essential for your health, and for that, one needs to know how to clean calcium buildup in dishwasher. The deposition of hard-water residue on the interior tub of the dishwasher over time is unavoidable. It tends to cause a bad smell inside the dishwasher. In this post you will find all about calcium buildup and how to get rid of it using homemade solutions as well as specialized products, such as the Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner, you can get from Amazon now!

Why does your dishwasher get limescale? 

Excessive use of dishwashers combined with soap & water is mandatory if you have to remove the stains and spots from any used utensils. In some areas, water procured from natural sources contains lots of dissolved minerals and salts like calcium, sodium, potassium, carbonates, and chlorides, etc. These suspended particles have properties to adhere to any surface they come across. With repeated use, they start to form a solid layer along the inner walls of the dishwasher or the draining system. This layer is called hard water buildup; it looks like a grayish or white residue. These mineral deposits along with soap residues need to be removed regularly to keep your dishwasher clean and fresh.

Is calcium buildup bad for your dishwasher

Calcium buildup, also known as limescale deposits, does not contain any lime in them. Calcium buildup occurs in those homes where you have hard water. Hard water is the kind of water which is saturated with minerals, such as calcium. Over time, the inside of your dishwasher, as well as the other running parts of the dishwasher, start to get calcium buildup or deposits.

Calcium buildup can be hazardous for your dishwasher. The buildup can cause the water in your dishwasher to drain far more slowly. This will cause the motor to work much harder to get rid of the water. Over time, the dishwasher’s motor starts to degenerate.

The calcium buildup also causes the metal portions of your dishwasher to rust and can cause failure of these parts, such as the heating elements, the pumps and the motor of your dishwasher.

Calcium buildup also causes a cloudy, white residue to form on your dishes which are hard to remove, even after running them through the dishwasher. While this is aesthetically displeasing, it can also be quite harmful if ingested by you or your family. It is always recommended to remove the calcium buildup and deposits from your dishwasher for the safety of your dishwasher as well as your home.

How often should you remove calcium buildup

Preventing calcium buildup is as essential as removing them from your home. When it comes to eliminating calcium buildup, there are several sprays that you can use, such as vinegar and water sprays or even commercial sprays, which you can regularly use each day or every alternate day to remove as well as prevent future calcium buildup.

As for descaling, you can do this at least once a week. You can also remove permanent limescale removers which will work with every wash of your dishwashing cycle, thus preventing and removing calcium buildup regularly.

Remove calcium buildup from a dishwasher with white vinegar

The simplest way to keep your dishwasher impeccable is to clean it with white vinegar regularly. Here is how to do it:

What you need:

  • White vinegar
  • Drinking-glass or dishwasher plastic cup


  1. Remove all utensils out of the dishwasher before doing this.
  2. Now take 2 cups of white vinegar in a dishwasher safe glass. The quantity of white vinegar can slightly vary according to the size of the dishwasher tub. However, you should always try to use the recommended amount.
  3. Put the glass containing vinegar on the bottom rack and shut the dishwasher’s door properly.
  4. Then switch on the dishwasher on normal/regular wash cycle mode.
  5. Once the process is complete, wipe the tub from the inside using a soft cloth and leave the door of the dishwasher open for some time to let the smell of the vinegar and calcium residues disappear.


  • You should not use more than the recommended quantity of vinegar for cleaning the dishwasher. Excessive use of acetic acid (vinegar) can damage the metal wall of the dishwasher.
  • Never use vinegar in combination with other cleaning agents like dishwasher detergent.

How to remove calcium build-up from the dishwasher with vinegar and baking soda

The inside of your dishwasher can often have calcium build-up without you even noticing it. This calcium buildup can turn out to be quite harmful to your dishwasher, causing the parts to rust and eventually break down. You can easily remove this with the help of vinegar and baking soda.

Here is how you can do it:

  1. The first thing you need to do is to remove the lower rack of your dishwasher. Take a sponge or a brush and remove any large food particles or debris stuck in your dishwasher.
  2. Remove the filter sitting at the bottom of your dishwasher and clean it out thoroughly in your sink.
  3. Take a cup of white vinegar and soak a sponge or a cloth into this. Wring out the excess vinegar and use the sponge or cloth to wipe down the door gasket of your dishwasher.
  4. Take a container and fill it up with 2 cups of vinegar. Place this container in the top rack of your dishwasher and run a cycle. The vinegar will help to remove all odors and dissolve the calcium and mineral deposits in your dishwasher.
  5. Once done, take another small container and add a cup of baking soda into it. Place this container at the bottom rack of your dishwasher and run another short cycle. This will completely clean out your dishwasher of all calcium build-up.

How to remove calcium buildup with lemon juice

You can easily remove calcium buildup from elements like faucets with just a lemon. Calcium buildup occurs anywhere where the element is exposed continuously to hard water, which contains minerals such as calcium in them.

Here is how you can remove calcium buildup from the faucet using lemon juice:

  1. Cut a lemon in half and take just one half in your hand. Using your thumbs, gently part the center of the lemon slightly.
  2. Press the lemon at the end of your faucet. Now, place a small plastic or ziplock bag over the lemon and secure it with a rubber band. Make sure the rubber band is tight enough around the bag.
  3. Let this sit undisturbed for a few hours.
  4. Remove the bag with the lemon after a couple of hours. Take a sponge or a scrubbing pad and gently scrub away any calcium deposits from the faucet.

When it comes to your dishwasher, you can use the power of lemon juice to clean away the calcium build-up easily. This calcium buildup can be found on the inside of the dishwasher, on the grates, and even on the motor parts and heating parts of your dishwasher.

Here is how you can do remove calcium buildup from your dishwasher using lemon juice:

  1. Add one cup of fresh lemon juice to a dishwasher safe container.
  2. Place this at the bottom of your dishwasher and run your dishwasher for one cycle.
  3. You can even take some lemon juice and use a toothbrush or a sponge to scrub down the insides of your dishwasher, effectively removing any calcium build-up, odors and limescale as well.

Commercial calcium deposit removers

There is a large variety of commercial calcium deposit removers available on the market which are made especially for cleaning calcium buildup in a dishwasher. If vinegar is not giving you the wanted results, you can try them.

CLR Pro multi-purpose cleaner

CLR Pro CL-4Pro

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CLR Pro is a multipurpose cleaner. It works effectively against calcium, lime and rust deposited on any surface. It is safe to use on different kinds of surfaces like stainless steel, porcelain, glass, fiber, ceramic, brick, etc. CLR Pro contains bio-degradable chemical substances, and unlike common detergents, it doesn’t harm any grass or plants in the disposal area.

Besides dishwashers, people use it to clean porcelain bathtubs, plastic humidifiers, and coffee pots.  Use CLR Pro once a month to keep your dishwasher clean and shiny like a new one. This multi-purpose lime descaler is the perfect solution to clean calcium buildup in the dishwasher on a tight budget. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon.

Glisten Dishwasher Magic Machine Cleaner

Glisten Dishwasher Magic Cleaner

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The Glisten Dishwasher Magic is bound to do magic in your dishwasher. It is made not only to clean but also disinfects the washer.  It’s very economical, and besides detergent and food residues, Glisten Dishwasher Magic removes robust limescale and other hard water buildups very efficiently. It’s safe on all types of plumbing and septic systems also.

The main component of this cleaner is citric acid. So it doesn’t harm the environment either. Regular cleaning, with the Glisten Dishwasher Magic machine cleaner, keeps your washer healthy, clean and maintained from the inside. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon. 

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner

Affresh Washer Machine Cleaner

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Keeping your dishwasher shiny and fresh was never this easy before. The Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner is a powerful cleaning agent formulated especially to take care of all types of depositions, putrid smell, and muck inside a dishwasher. Since it is in the form of a tablet, it is incredibly convenient to use. You need to put one tablet of the Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner in the washer and run the recommended wash cycle. The pill completely dissolves in the water and reaches all unreachable areas inside the machine and cleans calcium buildup in the dishwasher.

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner is perfectly safe for metallic as well as plastic tub dishwashers. You won’t need to use it more than once a month. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon.

Where do you put limescale remover in the dishwasher

If you live in a home which has hard water, then there is a high possibility of your dishwasher developing limescale deposits. These deposits form due to the calcification of minerals contained in the water. They can develop on the interior of your tubs, your dishwasher, your bathroom tiles, and even your taps and faucets.

When you wish to descale your dishwasher, you will have to place the limescale remover in a dishwasher safe container at the bottom rack of your dishwasher. After this, you have to run a cycle on your dishwasher at the highest heat setting, for the longest cycle. After this cycle has completed, run another cycle, and you will have a limescale free dishwasher!

You can place the limescale remover in a container on the top rack of your dishwasher.

Can Mineral Deposits Be Prevented?

Prevention is always better than cure. Repeated deposition of minerals can lead to galvanic corrosion harming the inner metal body of your dishwasher. Installing a water softener system can help prevent calcium buildup in all of your home appliances.  The softener removes extra salt and minerals from hard water and converts it into soft water.

Here are some water softener systems that you can consider installing in your house to keep your expensive home appliances safe.

Fleck 5600 SXT Digital Water Softener

Fleck 5600 SXT Digital Water Softener

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The Fleck 5600 SXT Digital is a metered water softener. This smart black water softener filters out extra calcium and other minerals using the ion exchange method, and makes hard water super fit for drinking, cleaning, and other purposes. It is composed of a 14″x34″ black square brine tank with a safety float, a Fleck bypass valve and 1″ male threaded yoke connection. It can treat water with up to 12gpm service flow rates. The treated drinking water tastes better than most of the bottled mineral water available on the market.

As Fleck 5600 SXT Digital is a metered water softener, the water it treats is measured, and the system only regenerates more according to the need. Its valve comes with a 5-year warranty and boasts of serving up to 27 years. Fleck 5600 SXT Digital is the coolest ever water softener with a backlit LCD, 48-hour internal power backup, and touchpad controls. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon

Eddy Professional water descaler

Eddy Professional water descaler

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If you are looking for a water softener that softens hard water without altering the TDS, the Eddy Professional water descaler is undoubtedly the one for you. There is a large scale misconception about high TDS associated with health hazards. The Eddy Professional is an electronic water descaler which softens hard-water in style. It makes sure to keep healthy minerals intact while softening hard water for better use at home.

Generally the excess minerals and salt dissolved in water leave residue on utensils, sinks, home appliances, and faucets. Over time, they develop into hard deposits adhered to the surfaces that repeatedly come in contact with hard water. Eddy treats hard water with electromagnetic waves. It tampers the adhesive nature of limescale making it softer. It is very cheap and eco-friendly. It comes with a 12-month money-back guarantee and a lifetime repair or replaces warranty.

With Eddy Professional water softener installed around the water source pipe, you can keep your home appliances free from any unwanted limescale buildup. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon.

iSpring RCC7 Water System

iSpring RCC7 Water System

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The iSpring RCC7 can purify hard water using the process of reverse osmosis. iSpring is perfect for space compromised houses. Its compact design fits under the sink. With this awesomely efficient system installed at home, you won’t need to worry about hard water buildup on your home appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine.

The system runs on reverse osmosis (RO) technology and is designed to remove over 1000 different kinds of unwanted particles from hard water. The unit is straightforward to install and requires minimum maintenance. It comes with a brass faucet. The company provides a three-year manufacturer warranty in addition to the one-year money back guarantee on the system. You can click here to check the current price on Amazon.

Also read: How to clean showerhead holes.

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  1. Very interesting, it will help me a lot this tip to clean my dishwasher!

  2. Great tips! I’m considering installing a dishwasher soon. Bookmarking for future.

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