Home generalDishwasher does not consume salt - causes and solutions

Dishwasher does not consume salt - causes and solutions

  • The water softener
  • Reasons for too little salt consumption
    • multitab
    • Flow tube clogged
    • Power interrupted
    • deposits
    • Water hardness changed
    • Dosing encrusted
  • More information

The dishwasher consumes no salt - a broken dishwasher is always a nuisance. Because the devices are so complex that you seldom find the cause of the problems yourself. Manufacturer information, operating manuals and telephone customer service are not very helpful. If the customer service has to move out first, it will be expensive. However, problems such as low salt consumption in the dishwasher can often be remedied. Because not always there is a serious defect behind it.

Normally, a dishwasher should be filled with the appropriate detergent, if necessary, a rinse aid for glass is added. Salt must also be filled in, it neutralises hard water and ensures that neither on glasses and dishes, nor on the inside of the machine deposits lime.

The water softener

In this unit, the water is passed through and neutralized by means of cations and anions, so that no limescale can deposit on the inner parts of the dishwasher. In order to achieve the appropriate conductivity in the water, the water is enriched beforehand with the special salt for dishwashers - at least that should be the case. So-called multitabs already contain everything that the machine needs (rinse aid and special salt), but according to the manufacturer rather should not be used and if, then only with additional filling of the salt compartment. For most machines, the water hardness level is set manually so that the machine uses only as much salt as is really needed. On very old machines, this feature may be missing.

Sometimes it happens that the machine consumes very little or no salt. As long as glasses and dishes are clean and remain clear, no limescale deposits, that is apparently once in order. And yet, that's a sign that something is wrong. He should definitely get to the bottom of it. Because the lime can be deposited inside the machine even if it is not yet visible on the harness. And it can happen that a slight malfunction in the dosage of the special salt causes further, more serious defects.

Reasons for too little salt consumption

These may be the reasons for low salt consumption:


The "Multitab" button on the machine was accidentally pressed. Some modern machines have this function. If the button is pressed, no water is passed through the salt container, because the multitabs contain according to the manufacturer already everything. Simple solution: If no multitabs are used, deactivate the function. Then the machine redirects water through the salt container.

Flow tube clogged

In an older device that is frequently used, it is possible that the flow tube is clogged. This is noticeable in the fact that it smells musty in the machine, the dishes are not clean and crumbs hang in the cups. Overall, the machine flushes with less water than it would need. Accordingly, the special salt is not properly dosed, and the rinse aid also not. The dishwasher should first be emptied and thoroughly cleaned, then you can search for the defective pipe. This has to be replaced because it is difficult to clean sufficiently.

Power interrupted

The power supply of the solenoid valve of the Enthärtereinheit could be interrupted. For example, by a loose contact. This can be either on the valve itself or on the coil. Accordingly, either the valve or the spool must be replaced. Spare parts can be purchased from the manufacturer, otherwise this is a case for customer service.


The plunger in the softener unit solenoid valve could be blocked by debris or foreign matter. Even if the valve itself still works, but the ram is no longer smooth, it may happen that the dishwasher incorrectly measures the salt requirement. In this case, the valve must be replaced. Valves can be purchased from manufacturers of different dishwashers.

Water hardness changed

After a move and after changes in water hardness, it may be that some machines actually have an extremely low salt requirement. The water hardness differs depending on the place of residence. And sometimes water pipes are merged, new sources connected, waterworks reworked or equipped with new technology. This results in changes in water hardness that may well affect the behavior of dishwashers with automatic salt rating. The water can be softer in such a case than before - the machine is not defective. You can see the water hardness for your own place of residence on the internet or simply determine it yourself with a tincture. For machines with manual grade setting, it should be adjusted accordingly.

Dosing encrusted

The doser could be encrusted. This happens when the salt clumps. In this case, a thorough cleaning helps. For this, the salt compartment is opened and emptied as far as possible. Clumped, hardened salt layers should be removed as carefully as possible, hard-to-reach areas can be scrubbed free with an old toothbrush. If the machine still has a greatly reduced or no salt consumption after that, cleaning can be repeated. Sometimes it helps to fill the salt container with a little water and to stir carefully. Any existing encrustations should be solved. Thereafter, the dishwasher is switched on and operated as normal. The water level in the salt container should be lower after this initial operation after cleaning. However, it is quite possible that encrustations are present in places that are not actually accessible. Then the corresponding parts must be replaced.

The ion exchanger of the machine could be defective in some way (unlike the already mentioned loose contact). As part of the softener unit, the ion exchanger can not simply be repaired; it must be replaced.

Tip: Coarse-grained special salt for dishwashers clumps less overall, dissolves better and benefits the machine. Damage caused by hard salt crusts is thus avoided.

More information

When troubleshooting, it is advisable to proceed from the simple questions to the more difficult ones. If the settings of the dishwasher are checked and found to be correct, ideally next comes the water hardness (official data in comparison with your own measurement) in turn. Problems like a clogged flow tube can also be eliminated very quickly. If the dispenser is encrusted on the inside or there is a loose connection in the softener unit, it is more difficult to find out.

So here are some tips:

  • First, consult the manufacturer's manual. Some manufacturers are aware of the problem of low salt consumption and point out possible causes and solutions.
  • The required tool should always be ready before starting work. Absolutely clear: Something is always missing. Good, if it is only one piece.
  • Pull plug. Absolutely. Even if only the salt compartment is cleaned with the toothbrush. In theory, nothing should happen in this activity, but as long as it is not clear exactly where the defect is in the dishwasher, one should be as careful as possible.
  • Working with gloves. Salts, cleaners and food particles, which may be contained in the dishwasher, together form a mixture that should not be absorbed on the skin.
  • Prepare cloths, wipes and buckets before starting work.

If the manufacturer's warranty still exists, the machine must under no circumstances be taken apart by hand. The warranty protection expires if a non-customer service unit disassembles or removes parts. If there is still a guarantee and incorrect settings are excluded, customer service should be consulted. Defects with new devices are altogether not so rare. And before the machine rinses dishes after a repair, it should first be rinsed and cleaned.

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