©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  DO YOU SEE SPOTS      One of the most common complaints when using an automatic dishwasher is spots or streaks on dishes, glasses and silverware.  These complaints can usually be broken down into 3 conditions:  hard water spotting, soft water spotting or etching, or silica spotting.  The following information and quick tests will help you to tell the difference.  Hard Water Spotting      Spots left by hard water (calcium and magnesium deposits) usually require harsh abrasives or acid cleaners to remove them.  To test for this condition, soak a glass in a vinegar or lemon juice solution.  If the spots dissolves, it’s caused by hard water.  A water softener will solve this problem. Soft Water Spotting or Etching      Total dissolved solids and salts in the water can cause spotting on glassware.  These can easily be wiped off with a damp cloth or rinsed off with a little fresh water.  Using an additional wetting agent or just letting the dishes air dry (skip the drying cycle) may help eliminate this problem.      Soft water etching is caused by detergents containing phosphates or other sequestering agents.  These agents can attack glassware resulting in a white film or streaks which cannot be removed—the glass is being eaten away.  Use a low-phosphate detergent to minimize this problem.  Also, cutting back the amount of detergent used, keeping the water heater temperature less than 140 degrees and allowing the dishes to air dry will help reduce this problem.   Silica Spotting      This is generally a rare condition and is not removed by a water softener.  A quick way to tell the difference between a hard water film and silica is to soak the glasses in a  vinegar or lemon juice solution.  If it doesn’t dissolve, but can be scratched off with a razor blade or pinpoint, it’s a silica film.  There is no practical way to remove silica from a residential water supply or the film caused by it.      All dishwasher manufacturers state in their manuals that delicate china and glassware should always be hand washed and dried, thus protecting these valuables from these problems.  Now, you know why. MAHONING VALLEY WATER