How To Remove Dish Stains

Try a simple homemade bleaching solution to remove spots and stains from everyday wear on your favorite dishes and cups.

Any type of dishes and glassware can become stained to the point where the usual detergent won't work. That is when you may have to try a few other solutions to remove film and spots. Here are a few tips:

First check to see that your home water heater is set to between 115 and 120 degrees. If the temperature is lower, the water may not be hot enough to remove streaks and stains. Be careful to supervise children who use the water faucets to ensure they don't accidentally get burned or scalded.

While you're at it, check the water pressure level. For best results, keep it set between 20 and 120 psi. You may have to add a booster to the pump if your pressure remains low. Consult a plumber or hot water technician for advice.

If your home uses hard water or well water, it may have a high level of minerals. Consider getting a water softener attached to the water tank to remove sediment and make water less harsh. If you prefer, simply add a water conditioning treatment to the rinse cycle of your dishwasher. Follow usage directions that are listed on the package.

Always use the recommended amount of dishwasher-safe soap. Adding too little can leave dishes with streaks. Adding too much could result in a soapy residue. For excessively dirty pots or containers, you may need to add a little detergent, but don't overdo it. Check package directions for the right amount of soap for each load of dishes.

Scrape dishes of remaining food after meals. Rinse them with hot water to get rid of surface stains. You may need to use a dish wand or sponge to remove or at least begin to loosen clumps or baked on spots. Load the dishwasher properly, placing dishes where they are supposed to be, with glasses in the provided top areas and plates or pots on the bottom and silverware in the provided rack. Run the usual cycle using hot water and either remove the dishes for wiping dry or set the drying cycle on the dishwasher.

If some still have spots or stains after a normal dishwasher cycle, try adding vinegar occasionally for an additional rinse. Use it only on plates and not on silverware. Set a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl or cup on the bottom rack; there is no need to add soap. Run the dishwasher as though washing dishes and finish with an air-dry cycle. The vinegar will help to remove resistant stains.

For an off-white deposit on clear glassware, check to be sure the dishwasher is not overloaded. If possible, use soft water for the dishwashing cycle. You may want to try letting the dishes air-dry as opposed to heat-drying. If none of this helps, you may have to hand wash your glassware to try and control the problem.

If you find rust marks or discolored streaks on your dishes, which are caused by contact with aluminum cookware during the wash cycle, try hand washing those pieces using a soft cleanser.

To prevent future stains, always remove remaining food promptly after a meal. Rinse everything with hot water, whether you plan to leave them set temporarily or run a dishwashing cycle. Avoid storing acidic foods like tomato sauce in an absorbent container, such as plastic. After serving a substance knowing for its staining qualities, like tea, in addition to rinsing the cup after usage, you may want to let it soak a few minutes in warm, soapy water, which will remove surface stains and prepare them for a complete cleaning in the dishwasher.

Another method for removing dish stains is to soak them in hot water with a small amount of laundry bleach like Clorox (check the container for the correct mixture of water and bleach). But be careful, since chemicals can leach into plastic or porous dishes and can damage colorful dishes or those with a design.

A little extra attention to your dishes right after a meal can go a long way toward preventing or treating stains and streaks. Letting these go over time may cause them to become permanent.

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