Dishwasher newbie

I've just (literally) inherited a dishwasher (my first ever, and its a Miele, oooh) and I am wondering what the most cost effective way of getting dishwasher stuff is. For example, separate cleaning stuff, rinse aid and salt, or 2-3 combined? Any recomnended brands? The manual says you can use "less than 5% acidity (?!)" vinegar instead of rinse aid, but that it's not as good. Any thoughts/tips? I do have hard water and ideally prefer not yoo many chemicals but I'm not rigid about that.  Hope this post is in right place.
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  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,028
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    edited 20 March 2023 at 10:31AM
    I have hard water, first check your machine's dispenser is set for the correct hardness in your area, setting it should be in the manual or online. You can find hardness via your water company, link for Southern, but you may well be different area

    I have found a separate rinse aid is a must, any brand including own label seems fine. Salt, I use the cheapest granular one, not tablets, I can find, but it's getting limited choices now.

    I've tried all sorts of tablets but found that combined Fairy type & cost are the best for me, cheaper ones leave a fog on glasses or just don't get the tannin stains out of tea cups for instance
    Maybe start with say Lidl / Aldi or say Fairy Platinum ones & work your way up /down or sideways?. In other words, trial and error may be required
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  • I have hard water too, and I have to use extra rinse aid.  I'm using Lidl's W5 rinse aid at the moment, and that's fine.  I also add extra salt, and that comes from Tescos.

    WRT tablets, I use an all in one.   Currently the ones I am using are Finish, but I've used Fairy in the past as well.  I've not used any of the cheaper or own brand

    As Farway says, you may need to experiment to find out what suits you and the Miele best.

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  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,192
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    Hardwater in theory is dealt with by the salt rather than the rinse aid. Salt is just pure salt so buy whatever is cheapest but dont try and use table salt as that isnt pure salt but has anti-caking agents in it too.

    Always felt that "rinse aid" should really be called "dry aid" as it causes the water to run off items easier and so avoiding water spots when drops dry on the surface of shiny/transparent items. If you are really trying to avoid "chemicals" (its an odd term as all of the following are chemicals) then you can use dilute citric acid or acetic acid which you can get in powder form and dilute or use in a source with a "natural" appropriate level.

    With some modern Miele dishwashers they have their all-in-one Auto-Dos system which is never going to be your cheapest option but is convenient being able to put circa 5 weeks of cleaning product into the machine in seconds and not having to bother about it again until next month. 
  • otb666
    otb666 Posts: 699
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    I have a hot point for several years and never put in salt or rinse aid but have decided I must start doing this and i agree its all a bit of a faff
    35k savings no debt
  • Scrimps
    Scrimps Posts: 362
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    We have a rather old hotpoint. I've never put rinse aid in, though have done salt before.
    Just pop half the cheapest tablet the shop sells in and press start.
    If its lots of particularly greasy stuff we'll use a whole tablet and stick it on a 'normal' rather than 'daily' cycle
  • Scrimps
    Scrimps Posts: 362
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    ...Oh but we do have soft water.  We need lower dose of everthing compared to when i lived in a hard water area.
  • Longwalker
    Longwalker Posts: 909
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    Very soft water here so have reverted to basic cheap tablet and rinse aid

    The salt in the all in ones was beginning to damage the cutlery 

    I have to use rinse aid else the dishes dont dry

    Cos I have a half size I dont do pans, mind I use my ninjas for most of my cooking so dont have machine the way of pans to wash.

    Eco mode goes on every second day or so
  • And regardless of how much or how little rinse aid and salt you use, it's important to clean the dishwasher regularly - remove the filter, give everything a good wipe with hot soapy water. If the dishwasher isn't clean it won't work well, no matter what else you do.
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  • When I lived in a soft water area, I just used dishwasher powder (that's how long ago it was).
    Fast forward to really hard water: all in one tabs and dishwasher salt. Cheapest available on 30 min quick wash or eco programme depending on how dirty things are. Quick wash is hotter but, well quicker, while eco wash is better for loads that need a longer wash.

    Don't use rise aid, but do have to dry plastic bowls etc with tea towel, especially after quick wash.
  • And yes - cleaning filters and spray arms regularly is important. As is scraping plates before loading though you'd think that was illegal in this house.
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