It happens to us all eventually: you take your supposedly clean dishes out of the dishwasher and, holding a wine glass up the light – darn it! – the glass is covered in stains! Most of the time, we tend to think the dishwasher is at fault, but is it really?

You might not believe it, but it’s probably the fault of the detergent that you use. In fact, manufacturers reduce their usage of phosphates in dishwashing and laundry detergents for environmental reasons. This has the unfortunate side-effect of reducing their effectiveness. Phosphate, when added to detergents, changes their pH value, allowing them to dissolve fat, preventing deposits from forming on dishes and leaving them sparkling clean instead.

Everything changed when the provincial government of Quebec, followed by the Canadian Federal Government, created a rule limiting the proportion of phosphates in cleaning products to just 0.5% in order to combat the growth of blue algae in lakes and watercourses. This limitation has forced the use of enzymes as an alternative. Enzymes are minute biological chemicals that ‘eat’ the food stains.

Tips for cleaner dishes

To help these enzymes to work correctly, ensure that the hot water that is pumped into your dishwasher is at the correct temperature by running the hot water tap in your sink before starting the dishwasher.
Secondly, there’s no need to rinse the dishes before washing them! Otherwise, why buy a dishwasher? Simply scrape off the food remains. Pay particular attention to fatty or sticky substances such as egg yolk, peanut butter, jam and any element that the enzymes cannot easily dissolve.

Always use a good rinse agent. This type of product is designed to make it easier to dry dishes inside the dishwasher. The rinse agent helps to eliminate the food particles and residues that leave traces on the dishes, thereby reducing the number of stains.

Finally, to minimize the chances of the pump becoming blocked, remove labels from pots and pans and retrieve anything that falls in the dishwasher before it becomes lodged in the pump (toothpicks, kernels, pieces of broken glass, beer bottle caps, etc.)

Dishwasher detergent: how much should you use?

Not enough people know this, but manufacturers recommend just 30 ml of detergent, whether in powdered form (which leaves fewer stains) or as a liquid. That’s equivalent to just two full soup spoons! As a guide, the detergent compartment can hold up to 100ml, which is three times too much. Moreover, even square tablets are twice the size they need to be! Manufacturers recommend cutting them in two – but that’s not exactly easy!

Soon I will have an opportunity to discuss your dishwasher with you regularly. Come back to read the latest updates and share your questions about your electrical appliances with us at