Dishwasher - White Film on Glassware, Dishware and the Interior

A white, milky film on glassware, dishware and the interior of the dishwasher can be caused by phosphate-free dishwasher detergent. Detergents without phosphates can potentially leave a white film on glassware and other items, and even the dishwasher tub itself. Film is most often observed in hard water areas. Please note that “film” refers to a mineral build up and not etching as a result of using too much detergent.

  • Automatic dishwashing detergents are now phosphate-free to comply with various state regulations that became effective July 1, 2010. The changeover in stores has been occurring gradually since late 2009.
Removing white film:
  • Use finish® Dishwasher Detergent Booster following the instructions on the package (can be purchased from GE Appliance Parts- part number WX10X10022 or at the local supermarket)
  • Use Citric Acid following the instructions below (can be purchased from GE Appliance Parts- part number WD35X151 or at the local supermarket)
    1. Pour the citric acid in the detergent cup and close the cover.
    2. Place the filmed, but otherwise clean, glassware and dishware in the dishwasher. Leave silverware and other metal items out of the dishwasher.
    3. Turn the dishwasher on and let it run through a complete cycle without detergent. The glassware, dishware and dishwasher should come out film free and sparkly.
  • Use a vinegar rinse.  Pour 1 cup of vinegar into the dishwasher just after the detergent cup opens and let the dishwasher complete its cycle. This may be repeated several times a year if needed.


View a short video about removing the white film: