Friday, April 19, 2013

Using My German dishwasher: thank goodness for Youtube vloggers!

I am lucky in that my apartment not only comes with a kitchen (i.e. cabinets, a sink, and an oven - which is not always the norm in Germany!) but it also comes with a dishwasher. In many ways, I like this dishwasher; it's built into the kitchen cabinet so it's even the same color (blue! love it) as the cabinet and there are no dials on the front so it blends in.

One thing that confounded me was actually using it. At first I wasn't even sure how to turn it on! There was a lot of careful studying of the dishwasher, pushing the buttons on the inside of the dishwasher, and maybe even uttering of a few naughty words. I tried spinning the dial to a picture of a pot and pushed the right button at some point and it started washing the dishes after I shut the door. Success! Well, mostly. No matter what I did, there was still a lot of water left in and on the dishes after the cycle, which was annoying.

I had heard that since this area in particular has hard water, one has to add salt to the dishwasher. This is not the same as table salt! Don't try to use table salt in the dishwasher; I'm serious! This is salt meant to reduce water's hardness and it's a particular kind. However, I was confused about where, when, and how to add salt. Last night, I ran across a video that made it all clear. I'll link it below. Thank you to the S. who put it together!

I bought some special dishwasher salt. The kind I bought happened to be Somat Special-Salz but there are other brands, too. I paid about $1 for a box of it at the Commissary. The salt is in clumps; it seems similar to the salt I used to buy for the water softener machine I had in the US when I had well water.

I found the reservoir marked "Salz" in the dishwasher; it was in the lower left portion. I unscrewed the lid and poured in a box and a half of Somat salt in. There was water already in the reservoir but I just poured the salt in.

I tried running a load of dishes. I was pleased to find that they seemed a lot dryer after this load with the salt. Most of them were dry enough that they could be put away immediately, instead of having to be toweled off first.

 Thank goodness for this helpful video! Thank you to the author for putting this together.
The buttons and dials on top of the dishwasher.

This is one brand of water softener salt to use in German dishwashers.

This is where I added the salt after unscrewing the cap on it. It's on the "floor" of my dishwasher on the bottom left.


  1. Thank You for this info!!! My salz reservoir was full of water, and I didn't know if this was good! Appreciate all the help for us Americans living in Germany!!

  2. You are welcome. The person who did the video I linked has lots of great information.

  3. How often do you have to add it?

  4. When it runs out, add more. However, my friend who repairs appliances, says it's not necessary, but one can buy dishwashing detergent tabs that have salt in them. I guess I'd say follow whatever the owner's manual says.