Why should I use a dishwasher to wash my dishes?

Using a dishwasher makes housework easier and saves time as well. Plus, the environment benefits, too, because a dishwasher uses less energy and water than when dishes are washed by hand. Generally, all dishes that are marked by the manufacturer as dishwasher-suitable or dishwasher-safe can be washed in the dishwasher. If you follow a few simple rules and use the most appropriate variety of Somat, your dishes will come out of the machine spotless and sparkling every time.

What functions do the different dishwashing programs offer?

Depending on the machine type, some programs with a rinsing cycle can be selected directly. Those programs usually provide more intensive cleaning. The corresponding information can be taken from the machine manual or from the machine manufacturer’s homepage. With the pre-rinse/cleaning function, food residues that can be readily removed with cold water are rinsed off first. The cleaning cycle then starts with fresh water before the detergent is automatically added from the dispenser compartment. Depending on which program has been selected, the water is heated to a set temperature of between 35 and 75 °C. The cleaning cycle lasts between 15 and 90 minutes and ends with the wash water being pumped out.
Intermediate rinse
All programs include an intermediate rinse. This cycle is needed to remove any residual wash water and soil and prepares the dishes for the final rinse. The intermediate rinse ends with the water being pumped out.
Final rinse
All programs except the pre-rinsing program include a final rinse function. Water runs into the machine and, in the standard programs, is heated to a maximum of 75 °C. While it is being heated, the rinse aid is added automatically from the dispenser. With Somat 7, 10, or Gold Somat All in One  and Somat Gold, no additional rinse aid is necessary as it is already integrated in these products.
All programs except for the very short “rinse only” cycles dedicated to quick cleaning of glasses only, for instance, include drying. The stored heat from the final rinse helps to dry the dishes. The drying cycle usually takes between 20 and 70 minutes.
The vast majority of machines are suitable for use with Somat Special Salt. These machines perform automatic regeneration of the built-in water softener in suitable intervals by using the salt solution from the reservoir. If Somat All in One or Somat Gold is used, there is no need to add dishwasher salt if water hardness does not exceed 21 °dH (German hardness scale).

How can I save energy and water?

First of all, you can lower the dishwashing temperature to 50 °C or 55 °C. This will save about 84 kWh of electricity and 1,497 liters of water per year.
Secondly, use an automatic program. This will find the best settings for the dishes in the machine and use the right amount of water and energy. Stack and sort the dishes as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions. Check and clean the sieve system at the outlet regularly. Finally, whenever possible, run the dishwasher only when it is fully loaded.

Why should I use automatic programs?

Automatic programs adjust automatically to the best settings for the dishes in the machine and use the right amount of water and energy, which helps to protect the environment.
Modern automatic dishwashing detergents, when used as prescribed, are capable of achieving the desired cleaning results even at 50 °C or 55 °C and with automatic programs.

What is the difference between dishwasher-suitable and dishwasher-safe dishes?

The terms “dishwasher-suitable” and “dishwasher-safe” are often used to describe the characteristics of dishes. The term “dishwasher-suitable” has not been officially defined and is simply selected by the manufacturer of the dishes according to experience. Regarding the term “dishwasher-safe”, on the other hand, the testing and assessment of non-metallic dishes is specified in two international standards, EN 12875-1 and -2. The results of these tests are expressed in a standardized icon as the maximum number of dishwashing cycles that the dishes survive without damage. For metallic items, there are as yet no standardized tests. Pots and pans that are made of non-magnetizable metals or that are made of only one material can usually be washed in the dishwasher without any problems; these are often marked as “dishwasher-safe”. If the item is made of different materials, e.g. the body is made of metal and the handles are plastic, and you are in doubt, it is best to consult the manufacturer.

What kind of items can I put in the dishwasher?

Dishes are made of a variety of materials. How an item will react when washed in a dishwasher depends on the material(s) it is made of and the way it was made or processed.
Stainless steel
Cutlery, pots, pans, flat serving dishes, spatulas, ladles, and sieves are often made of stainless steel. Unlike iron and “normal” steel, stainless steel does not rust. This is because the iron has been alloyed with different amounts of other metals, particularly chromium and nickel. Stainless steel can be usually washed in the dishwasher.
Glass is often used in housewares because of its special properties, such as transparency, the way it refracts and reflects light, its shine, impermeability, and resistance to chemicals. Glass can usually be washed in the dishwasher.
The type of tableware that is most often washed in the dishwasher is silver cutlery. Items that are not suitable for washing in automatic dishwashers are decorative underplates, bowls and flat dishes, tea-glass holders, salt and pepper shakers, and sugar shakers, which are plated with significantly thinner layers of silver and often have an additional coat of varnish.
Unlacquered items made of wood, such as cooking spoons, which are not glued can be washed in the machine. However, they will become pale and often develop a rough surface. Wooden boards with a larger surface area can develop stress cracks. Wooden handles on cutlery will become dull or may crack. Lacquered wood is not suitable for machine dishwashing. The wood swells up, which causes the lacquer to peel off.
Crockery made of fine ceramics can be divided into four groups: earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and vitreous china. As far as the dishwasher-safeness of these materials is concerned, as a rule: the harder and less porous the material, the more dishwasher-safe it will be.
In machines with exposed heating elements, plastic parts may easily become deformed if they are placed in the bottom rack. This is why it is best to put any item made out of plastic in the top rack. In the presence of foods that stain easily (tomato juice, ketchup, carrot juice, beetroot, red cabbage), the plastic may change color.

Can I wash cutlery made of different metals in the machine at the same time?

Silver and stainless cutlery items can be washed in the same machine load. However, the different types of metal should not touch each other during the wash, otherwise the metals can tarnish or develop stains.

Can aluminum be washed in the dishwasher?

Unalloyed aluminum will react to both acids and alkalis and may also show surface alterations even when it has just been in contact with water only. Black stains on aluminum are known as “water stains.” Aluminum of this kind – such as is often used for garlic presses – is not dishwasher-suitable as the damage is irreversible. For pots and pans made of aluminum, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer for a recommendation on whether the items are dishwasher-suitable or dishwasher-safe. Even exposed aluminum layers in the bases of pots and pans may mean that they are unsuitable for the dishwasher.

How do I load the dishwasher correctly?

Before loading the machine, scrape off all easily removable food residues. Pre-rinsing in the sink is neither necessary nor environmentally advisable. The only exception is for residues that will not dissolve in water, such as spinach, cigarette ash, or chopped herbs. These should be washed off first as they may otherwise settle on other dishes.
The dishes must stand securely in the racks. Glasses in particular must be positioned securely so that they will not be damaged by scraping against each other.
Cups can be placed in the corners of racks while deep dishes are best positioned in the center. It is advisable not to lay items loosely on top of others in the rack because they might produce a “spray shadow” that prevents water from reaching all the items in the dishwasher.
Furthermore, ensure that the spray arms can rotate freely.
Large items should be placed in the lower rack, while small and delicate items such as glasses and cups in the top rack.
Cutlery should be placed unsorted in the cutlery basket with the handles down. If your machine has a cutlery rack, you can sort the cutlery as you place it in the rack.
In machines with exposed heating elements, plastic items may easily become deformed if they are placed in the bottom rack. This is why it is best to put any item made out of plastic in the top rack.

What should I remember when emptying the dishwasher?

The dishwasher should be left for several minutes with the door slightly ajar after the program ends to allow the dishes to cool off. Start with the bottom rack, so that any water left in the upper rack cannot drip onto the dry dishes below.

What kind of care does my dishwasher need?

When used properly, a dishwasher does not require daily cleaning, as the cleaning chamber and the racks are automatically cleaned during the dishwashing cycle. However, the sieve system should be cleaned regularly.
If too little dishwashing detergent is added, larger or very fatty food residues are not scraped from the dishes, or the selected program is not suitable for the level of soiling, greasy residues, or other coatings of food, residues may remain inside the dishwasher and lower the cleaning performance by hindering the water flow within the system. In this case or in any other case where the cleaning result is no longer satisfactory, the inside walls and the spray jets of the rotating arms should be cleaned.
A regular cleaning cycle with Somat Machine Cleaner (every one to two months) is advisable as it will keep the visible and hidden water-carrying parts of the dishwasher clean.
The side edges of the dishwasher can be cleaned using a general-purpose household cleaner instead of the Somat Machine Cleaner. Simply apply it with a damp cloth and then wipe off the dirt.

What causes odors and how can they be eliminated?

The water drain hose must be attached before the siphon, which serves as an odor trap. In addition, there should be no kinks in the hose.
Secondly, perhaps the wrong dishwashing program was selected for the amount of soiling on the dishes. This will cause residues in the sieve or filters.
Solution: Hang a bottle of Somat Machine Cleaner in the dishwasher and run a cleaning cycle according to the instructions, using one of the most intensive programs.
Furthermore, residues on the door seal can also be a cause. Solution: Moisten a cloth with the cleaner and clean the door seal.
If odors occur due to the machine not being used for long intervals, this can be avoided by using Somat Deodorizing Pearls®. Somat Tabs 7, 10, or Gold also help to neutralize unpleasant smells and result in a fresh-smelling machine after every wash cycle.

Can Somat products also be used in a dishwasher with a hot water inlet?

Nearly all household dishwashers can be connected to a hot water supply. As a rule, the maximum inlet temperature should not exceed 60 °C – for more information it is best to consult the manufacturer of the dishwasher. If the dishwasher is connected to a hot water supply, the energy consumption will be lower since less electricity is required to heat the water during the dishwashing program. The actual amount of energy saved will depend on the temperature of the inflowing hot water and on the room temperature.
The cleaning performance of our Somat detergent is proven to be very good in machines that are connected to a hot water tap. Even the temperature-sensitive ingredients like enzymes in the formula develop their full action: the hot water in the first cycle (pre-rinse or main cycle, depending on the chosen program) will be cooled to about 30 °C by the temperature of the dishes and the inside walls of the machine.

When do I need to use a rinse aid and regenerating salt in addition to the detergent?

If a multi-functional tab is used (e.g. Somat All in One or Somat Gold ), no additional rinse aid is required at all. Furthermore, for water hardness values of up to 21 °dH (German hardness scale) there is no need to add any regenerating salt. However, you should use regenerating salt for higher hardness levels in order to protect your machine and achieve best results. Depending on the machine type, a warning lamp may indicate a lack of rinse aid or salt. These lamps can be ignored if a multi-functional tab is used in the right conditions.

Is it possible to use hand dishwashing liquid in the dishwashing machine as well?

Hand dishwashing liquids are not suitable for use in dishwashers. These products generate foam which might get into the base tray of the machine and trigger an “aqua-stop.” You would then have to call in a service technician to get the machine back into working order. For the same reason, dishes pre-washed by hand should be rinsed thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher.

Which dishwasher program should I use for which kind of soiling?

70/75 °C Intensive
Pots and pans with normal to heavy soiling
65 °C Normal or Universal
Dried-on food residues
50/55 °C Normal or Universal
Dishes with normal soiling
45/55 °C Energy Saving/Eco
Dishes with normal soiling (program may take longer than the normal program)
35 °C – 45 °C Delicate/Glass
Lightly soiled, heat-sensitive dishes (especially glasses)
35 °C – 60 °C Fast/Short
Lightly soiled dishes with no dried-on food residues (program takes less than one hour but may have higher energy consumption)

What are the reasons for food residues on the dishes after a dishwasher program has finished?

Reasons may include that a wrong program was chosen, that the dishwasher was loaded incorrectly, or that non-dissolvable residues were left on the dishes. The best way to avoid poor dishwashing results is to scrape or wipe off the worst of the food residues from the dishes after use and place them in the dishwasher immediately. Make sure the machine is loaded correctly. The spray arms should rotate freely and the nozzles should not be blocked. Follow our tips on how to load the dishes.

What causes fine sandy residues (especially in glasses or cups) after machine dishwashing?

Sandy residues in glasses, cups, bowls, or narrow vessels can occur when the dishes were too soiled or the washing temperature was too low. Tall, narrow glasses should not be placed in the corners of the top rack since the wash water will not be able to reach all items without hindrance. If food residues are not washed off, this is often because they were in “blind spots,” i.e. they were shielded from the spray by other items. Check the sieve system and nozzles regularly and clean any blockages to avoid redistribution and depositing of food residues.

Why are tea stains sometimes difficult to remove from cups?

Black tea can form a skin when it is left to stand, and this may remain on the inside of the cup. These stains can be especially difficult to remove if the local water is very hard, or even with some types of tea. Tea stains can be removed by increasing the dosage of powder dishwashing detergent or by using a Somat multi-functional tab in a 50/55 °C program. Somat 7, 10, or Gold tabs are capable of removing tea stains at low temperatures.

What can I do to get rid of grease residues inside the dishwasher?

Fatty residues collect and remain in the sieve and in the dishwashing chamber if very greasy dishes are frequently washed in short programs or fast cycles. The dishwashing program should always be selected according to the degree of soiling of the dishes. Excess fatty residues from dishes or pans should be scraped off, e.g. simply with the used cutlery or with a paper towel, before placing dishes into the dishwasher. To clean the inside of the dishwasher easily, we recommend using the Somat Machine Cleaner (if locally available).

After machine dishwashing there is a white, water-soluble coating on the dishes. What caused this and how can I get rid of it?

If regenerating salt is used to soften the water, a white, water-soluble coating may remain on the dishes due to salt solution escaping from the regenerating salt reservoir. The reasons for this could be:
• The lid of the salt reservoir is not properly closed, allowing salt solution to be pressed out into the dishwashing chamber. In this case, you should close the lid properly.
• The lid may have a hairline crack and need to be replaced.
• Excess salt may have spilled over into the dishwashing chamber when refilling the reservoir. In this case, select a short cycle and run the machine empty – without dishes.

After washing there is a white, non-water-soluble coating on the dishes that will not dissolve in water. What caused this and how can I get rid of it?

This could be limescale. A coating like this can form when detergent powder or tabs without a salt function are used and there is no regenerating salt in the water softener system. In this case, you should replenish the salt or use multi-functional tabs with a salt function (e.g. Somat All in One or Somat Gold). If the water hardness is higher than 21 °dH (German hardness scale), limescale can form even when using multi-functional tabs. In this case, salt should be added to the salt reservoir as well, in combination with the multi-functional cleaning product. Check the water softener unit, in accordance with the dishwasher manual, to see if it is set to local water hardness.
Instant remedy: Run the empty machine using Somat Machine Cleaner on the most intensive program. This will remove the limescale deposits. If a washed load is completely covered with a white, insoluble coating, the load can be left in place while the machine is run with the dishwasher cleaner. Exception: acid-sensitive materials such as enamel or dishes with décor.

What is the cause of tarnishing on silver cutlery after washing?

The tarnishing is probably a result of the type of food that was eaten. Food residues that contain sulfur, like mustard, egg, legumes, fish, etc., can cause silver to tarnish. In the dishwasher, sulfur-containing food residues have more time to act on the items than they would during hand dishwashing. The silver protection function in Somat tabs prevents silver from tarnishing, as long as the causes for tarnishing are traces of sulfurous compounds from food residues. If the amount of food residues is large or if the machine is only used at infrequent intervals, we recommend washing silver by hand directly after use or running a cold pre-rinse in the machine directly after loading these items. You should also avoid any direct contact between silver and stainless steel in the machine. However, it is not just external influences that cause silver to tarnish. The composition and processing of the silver plating plays a decisive role. For example, silver marked 800 may turn a gold to light brown color because of its high copper content of 200 parts per 1000. For that reason, it is less suitable for machine dishwashing. However, if it has been post-coated with silver in a galvanic bath, it will behave like a 90 or 100 silver layer. Very old silver cutlery where the silver coating has been worn down over time, sometimes to the point where the base material has become visible, has a high tendency to tarnish. Cutlery items like this should no longer be washed in the machine. In general, there is no way of avoiding tarnishing of silver cutlery altogether. Discolorations on silver items can be removed with a metal polish.

What causes iridescent coatings on stainless steel cutlery or cooking pots?

These “rainbow” colors are a kind of tarnishing caused by certain types of foods, such as cauliflower, celery, kohlrabi, mushrooms, potatoes, or boiled fish. It is also possible for wash water containing such substances to cause discolorations on other items in the machine. These rainbow colors are very thin coatings adhering to the steel. Physiologically, they are completely harmless and can be removed with dishwasher cleaner or with metal polish.

What causes rust spots to appear, e.g. on stainless steel cutlery, where there were none before putting the items in the dishwasher?

Such rust spots, called flash rust, on dishes or cutlery made of stainless steel are usually transferred from other sources. These could be non-stainless screws, for example, that are used to affix the handles on pots and pans. Other sources of rust could be chipped enameled kitchen utensils, peeling knives, tea strainers, or other kitchen utensils made of low-alloyed steels. Another common cause of flash rust is damaged plastic coating on the dish racks themselves, which exposes the metal rods underneath. The rust that has developed is then distributed by the wash water in the machine and settles on the stainless steel items. The dishwashing detergent itself cannot cause rust. In rare cases, rust can be carried into the machine by the tap water.

How does pitting occur on stainless steel and how can one avoid it?

The most frequent type of corrosion on stainless steel is pitting, which has a destructive effect on the material. Knife blades in particular are susceptible to this. Pitting starts with tiny, pinprick-like holes that are invisible to the naked eye. As the holes grow, damaged areas, which are dark gray to black in color and have a grainy structure, may measure several millimeters. The reason for this corrosion is the destruction of the protective surface layer. Chlorides, which are present in the form of common salt in drinking water and food residues, cause this destruction. Acids in food also reinforce this effect. Therefore, it is important when refilling the salt reservoir for the water softener to make sure that no dishwasher salt remains on the bottom of the dishwasher or on other parts for any length of time. This can be avoided by running a pre-rinse, or a short cycle in newer dishwashers, to rinse away any spilled regenerating salt or salt solution that has been forced out of the reservoir. Alkaline products, such as detergent solutions, do not cause pitting on stainless steel surfaces.

Some glasses develop a milky cloudiness that cannot be removed. How does this happen?

The development of glass corrosion, which causes milky cloudiness, depends on the type of glass involved and on the dishwashing conditions. Despite its chemical resistance, glass can be damaged over time by even pure water or watery solutions. As a consequence, substances leach out and the glass looks weathered. This effect is reinforced by the constant alternation between wet and dry phases and temperature jumps (during an intermediate wash cycle). However, it can take a long time before visible effects like cloudiness or milky streaks begin to develop as a result of washing glasses in the dishwasher. Because glass is usually so sparkling and transparent, all the irregularities suddenly become recognizable at once. There is no connection to the type of detergent used. This kind of glass corrosion can occur with any make of automatic dishwasher detergent. The Somat All in One or Somat Gold, however, have a built-in glass protection function which helps to protect glasses longer against glass corrosion.
Here is a helpful hint for the future: When buying new glasses, look for markings or notes regarding suitability for dishwashing. Some manufacturers guarantee the resistance of glasses for a set number of dishwashing cycles.

Why do plastic items dry less well in the machine than other dishes?

The water-repellent surface makes plastic difficult to wet. During drying, this causes the formation of droplets. In addition, plastic hardly absorbs heat. This is why it dries more slowly than other kinds of materials. Depending on the (surface) condition plastic items (age, rough surface, scratches, etc.) and the drying performance of the dishwasher, some individual items may come out of the machine still slightly wet.

How can I avoid scratches on glass surfaces?

Scratches are always the result of mechanical action on the glass surface. There is hardly a drinking glass in daily use that does not show this kind of damage. During machine dishwashing, scratches and chatter marks occur especially when glasses are knocked against each other or against hard objects. This happens either while they are placed in the machine or because they are standing too close together in the rack such that they touch each other. This can result in ring-like scouring marks around the circumference as glasses tend to rotate during the wash. Scratches can occur singly or all over the glass. They can also merge so that they form a white spot or ring. The chatter marks are preliminary damages that are normally not visible to the naked eye. Under the microscope one can detect very fine cracks lying against one another like scales. They only become visible as fine cracks after repeated washing in the dishwasher. Generally, scratch-like marks on glass are not visible to the human eye at first, too. The more frequently the glass is washed in the machine, the more the scratch-like marks become visible, as water and watery wash solutions penetrate into the scratches or fine cracks. As a consequence, glass particles that have already been loosened become detached. Finally, this process is accelerated by the temperature drop between the hot cleaning cycle and the cold intermediate cycle.

Why do washed glasses sometimes have an unpleasant smell?

Contrary to the general belief that glass is very smooth and impenetrable, the surface of glass actually has a rough and irregular structure, which can be seen under a microscope. Tiny dirt particles can get caught in these crevices both during use and during dishwashing, and depending on the dishwashing conditions (program selected, cleaning temperature, spray pressure, etc.) it may not be possible to remove them every time the glass is washed. Especially with tall glasses, whose base is perhaps not always reached by the spray jet, this phenomenon can occur more frequently. Due to chemical processes, these particles can change over time and lead to odors in the glass. When the glass is used, the odor is transferred to the beverage in the glass. The effect is particularly noticeable with carbonated mineral water, because the rising bubbles of carbonic acid gas detach the particles from the glass wall and carry them to the surface.
Glass corrosion on glasses that have been in use for some time also leads to a change in surface structure and makes it easier for microscopic particles to become trapped in the surface.
To eliminate unpleasant odors from glasses it may help to wash the glasses several times in a row with a high-temperature program. When doing this, the glasses should be placed in the rack such that the spray jet will reach every part of their surface. Depending on the condition and the age of the glasses, it may not be possible to eliminate odors completely.