HELP using water softener on dishwasher and washing machine

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8 May 2012
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United Kingdom
I am looking to install a mains water softener at my property as i live in a hard water area and my kids have skin condition. I was at John Lewis looking at washing machine and dishwasher when the sales member of staff made me aware that water softener's should not be used on washing machines / dishwashers as they can make them faulty, especially in washing machines as they had recently experienced 4 washing machines becoming faulty as they had created to too much foam and bubbles in the washing machine. The member of staff then advised me that as this was due to the water softener creating the problem it invalidated the warranty.

I would like to know whether anyone else has had problems or knows of this problem. My understanding was the whole idea and concept of water softener is to reduce chalk and limescale build up and that by using a water softener it would do the same job as the calgon tablets that you add to the washing machine.

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faulty as they had created to too much foam and bubbles in the washing machine.

Not heard of warranties being voided or extreme foam formation, but some of the statement is true in that you will get more foaming with softnened water than with hard water. Detergents contain chemicals that combine to remove the dirt from the water - aka soap. Scale also also reacts with these and reduce their effectiveness. So they reduce the foaming and hence you normally use more soap in hardwater areas to combat this. If you then put a softener on you should then reduce the amount of soap to correspond to soft water - i.e. I use one tablet rather than 2. I can use 2 tablets on my washing machine though (as I do for extremely soiled items like my gardening items) without having an excess of foam.
With dishwashers, typically these already contain a softener, and if using softened water you can actually disble this if possible. I have had no issue with my dishwasher and using normal tablets.

With regards Calgon tablets - these add a chemical into the water (similar to what is in the detergents) to combine with the water hardness and keep it soluble, preventing it coming out of the water as scale on your heating elements. It does not actually remove the scale like a softener.
Hope this helps.

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