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How Much Salt To Add To A Dishwasher

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plates and cups on dishwasher rack

When you buy a new appliance, electrical item, or piece of clothing, you have to think about the upkeep and maintenance of it.

For example, if you buy a silk blouse – you will want to make sure you wash it in the correct way with the right products. Or if you purchase a new kettle – you may keep it at its best by descaling it every so often.

The same care must be taken for your bigger items too. In particular, we are talking about dishwashers.

Whether you moved into your home with a dishwasher already installed, or you have decided to take the plunge and buy one for your family to alleviate the endless washing up you can get – they need looking after.

Imagine you use your dishwasher every day or every couple of days, depending on the size of your family – over time there is going to be a build-up of bacteria and limescale making the water a little harder, or you may live in an area where hard water is already an issue.

For this reason, we need to use salt to help soften the water. Using salt in this way will ensure your water is clean and fresh enough to clean your dishes, pots and pans and anything else you may load into your dishwasher.

Can I use any kind of salt in my dishwasher?

You may be tempted to put normal table salt in your dishwasher, but this is not recommended.  You can buy salt specifically made for use in dishwashers (see our examples below).

Table salt and dishwasher salt are both made from Sodium Chloride, but that is where the similarities end. Dishwasher salt is made of 100% sodium chloride whereas table salt often has other chemicals added to it. These added chemicals can then upset the mechanics of the dishwasher and would not only leave your plates looking unclean but also potentially affect how efficiently the appliance works.

Dishwasher salt is thicker than table salt so it will not clog up the drain or affect the water running through the pipes, which could happen if an alternative salt was used that has been ground smaller and finer.

How do I add salt to my dishwasher and how much?

You should have a separate compartment to put your salt in – this can normally be found by removing the bottom tray. It is worth noting that dishwashers may differ in set up so if you are not sure which compartment is for the salt, make sure you consult the user manual before pouring anything in.

In the event you cannot find the salt compartment, you may not have one. This would be because you already have an in-built water softening unit which will do all the hard work for you.

When pouring in the salt, make sure this is done carefully so there is no spillage. If you do accidentally spill some you can get a damp cloth to wipe it up. The compartment ideally needs to be filled to the top, or if there is a level line then fill it up to that point.

Again, you may want to refer to the manufacturer’s guidance on how much to use, but usually it is recommended to fill the compartment to the top to avoid constant refilling and to get the best performance from your dishwasher. Appliances may differ in size though, and some compartments may be smaller or larger than others – take this into account when filling.

Filling it up will ensure you have enough salt for a few weeks, although this is all dependent on how often you use your dishwasher. If you have a smaller household or only use the dishwasher once a day or every couple of days, you shouldn’t need to refill the salt for about a month.

How do I know when the salt needs refilling?

On most dishwashers there will be a light to indicate when your salt is getting low or is empty. Make sure to fill it up if you see this light, before you run your next cycle.

Again, different models give different features so if your dishwasher does not have a light or display to inform you then you will have to check the compartment manually.

Top 3 dishwasher salts

Finish Dishwasher Salt

Finish are probably one of the most well-known brands for dishwasher products. The company was established in 1953 and now provide dishwasher products to over 40 countries so as a trust branded you have peace of mind.

bag of finish salt

You can get powders, gels, tablets, liquids. Everything you could possibly need, as well as their salt.

The salt comes in a 1kg bag, and it clearly lists all the benefits of using their product, along with the instructions for use on the back.

They claim to give 100% better protection from limescales residues and by the brilliant reviews from customers it would seem they agree.

Opal Dishwasher Salt

Onto a brand that I am less familiar with now – Opal. They give us 2kg of dishwasher salt packaged in a bag, at a very good price.

Opal 2kg bag of salt

While I tried to research some background on the company Opal, I didn’t manage to find anything. It may be one of these Amazon shops that have great deals.

It is manufactured and packaged in the UK, boasting the best value and highest quality. With so many positive reviews we think this dishwasher salt from Opal is definitely worth considering.

The Salt Company Dishwasher Salt

Established in 1996, the small family run business specialises in sea salt for the organic market, as well as providing salt for the general market requirements.

the salt company bag

You get 6 bags, with each bag holding 2kg of salt. This is ideal if you have a larger household where you are using your dishwasher on a regular basis.

Or maybe you want to bulk buy, so you don’t have to another thing to remember when shopping – you’ll always have some in the cupboard and not be left having to hand wash a hug pile of dishes after a large family meal!

Whatever the reason, the price makes it a great deal.


We have given you the benefits of using dishwasher salt and how much to use for the best results. The benefits speak for themselves, and it would be worth taking a look at the products we’ve included if you are new to using dishwashers.

You will find a routine for your household to know when you need to buy more salt and how much you get out of filling it properly.

That’s one chore that will be made a little easier from now on.

michelle author bio pic

Meet our reviewer – Michelle Vernon

Michelle is one of the lead writers at Washing Check and also holds an editor role. She is a busy parent who understands the needs of daily domestic life and the challenges it can bring.

She genuinely loves cleaning products and equipment, which although is quite strange to many, is a blessing to us here at Washing Check.