Thread Number: 35466
New KitchenAid DW with Water Softeners
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Post# 529552   7/8/2011 at 18:47 (4,537 days old) by labboy (SD, CA)        

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Anyone have any experience with these new KA DWs with the integrated water softeners?


Post# 529561 , Reply# 1   7/8/2011 at 20:15 (4,537 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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I saw some KA training literature almost a year ago which mentioned these being released 3Q of this year. Have been intrigued about them.

Post# 529577 , Reply# 2   7/8/2011 at 21:19 (4,536 days old) by Frigilux (The Minnesota Prairie)        

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This feature has been available on some European brands for years. The well water in my little burg is very hard, so I have a mechanical water softener. Having washed dishes in hard water on a number of occasions, I can attest that dishwashers clean substantially better in soft water. I think it's a great idea for people who either don't want or can't have a mechanical water softener in their home.

Post# 529584 , Reply# 3   7/8/2011 at 22:04 (4,536 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

I have friends in Sweden who've had salt dispensers (water softening) in their DWs for years. I've seen some Mieles in the USA with them (again, not new, but over the past decade). No experience with them. The Swedish friends saw no difference between using salt or not, at least in their water, and don't bother with salt.

Post# 529598 , Reply# 4   7/8/2011 at 23:50 (4,536 days old) by labboy (SD, CA)        

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I know of friends and family in Europe who are very happy with them. Whether or not it will benefit the user depends on the hardness of the incoming source water. I have read in some Miele literature if the water is below a certain minimum hardness level to set the softener setting to the minimum value. (Basically, disabling the softener and not requiring the salt to be replenished.)

I know they can work well. I'm just curious to see if the design of these will be reliable over time as US manufacturers have little experience with them. I will definitely consider this option for my next DW purchase (likely a few years from now to allow the bugs to get worked out.)


Post# 529616 , Reply# 5   7/9/2011 at 02:24 (4,536 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

From my (European) point of view, I'd never buy a dishwasher without a water softener, first, because in the last 30 or maybe more, it was impossible to find a machine without one built-in, second because the cleaning difference in hard water, like here in Bologna is great. (Sweden has very soft water because it mostly comes from the melting of mountain ice)
When salt is over you can clearly see the difference in washing performance, glasses are cloudy and food residue sometimes doesn't come out of the pans, with salt, everything is spotless!

I sure recommend it!

Post# 529635 , Reply# 6   7/9/2011 at 05:32 (4,536 days old) by logixx (Germany)        

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No supprise. Whirlpool already took parts of their European wash system to put it on the US dishwashers. So it was essentially only a matter of time until the built-in water softeners would also make their way over the pond.

Post# 529646 , Reply# 7   7/9/2011 at 08:47 (4,536 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

Agree....the Swedish friends saw no difference in results in their water, so they don't bother with salt. And, as you correctly pointed out, it's difficult if not impossible to find a DW in Europe without the dispenser. Reminds me of convection ovens in USA vs. Europe. In Europe, nearly all ovens have a convection fan, you would have trouble to find one without a fan. In the USA, it's a "European luxury feature" found mostly on high end models. An excuse to raise the price by hundreds of dollars just for a fan.

I have a gas convection range (Frigidaire) that runs on gas plus 120V (I did not have a 240V outlet behind the range). I bought it ten years ago, at which time only four companies in US sold non-commercial gas ranges with convection: KitchenAid, JennAir, GE, and Frigidaire. Frigidaire was the only one of the four with a convection range priced below $1500, which did influence my choice: the savings on the range paid for the Bosch DW! In hindsight, the range has performed beautifully, never a repair and it still cooks well and looks nice after ten years.

PS: If I had to do a DW television ad in Italy, I would invite 20 dressed-in-black Italian grandmothers to prepare their favorite pasta sauces: pesto to bolognese to al'arrabiata, then take 20 dishes with dried on sauce and prove that the DW gets them clean. " even cleans dried on pesto".

Post# 529657 , Reply# 8   7/9/2011 at 09:54 (4,536 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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To clarify for anyone who may not understand, salt is not dispensed into the wash & rinse water.  The machines have a full-function ion-exchange water softener that works the same as a whole-house unit.  Salt is used to refresh the resin bed (regeneration) and the resultant salt water solution is flushed to the drain.

Post# 529659 , Reply# 9   7/9/2011 at 10:08 (4,536 days old) by appnut (TX)        

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glenn, it was you who alerted me with upcoming products in either a brochure online linke or something you emailed to me.

Post# 529676 , Reply# 10   7/9/2011 at 13:02 (4,536 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

That would be a great advert! So retro! You might contact SMEG USA and propose it to them ;) that would sure appeal the American consumers for an Italian appliance manufacturer with style in mind! ehehhe

I still have a couple of elder aunts (my mother's aunts actually), both in their 70s that still dress traditional style dark clothes even in summer!

For the ovens what you said is so true! Most of the model have forced convection but on the other hand pyrolitic self cleaning ovens are not common at all having gained market share only in the last 5-6 years! Self cleaning over here was unheard unless it was the catalytic kind like the one I have at home.

Post# 529703 , Reply# 11   7/9/2011 at 16:57 (4,536 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

They could show a line of the grandmothers, each loading one of their dirtiest dishes, bowls, or cooking pots into the dishwasher. Then, two hours later, they marvel at how clean everything came out, with one of them making the sign of the cross in disbelief of the miracle of Miele.


The two best known "Italian stereotype" tv commercials I can recall are these:

1. The Alka Seltzer "spicy meatball" (polpetti) ad:


Alka Seltzer is a stomach remedy for those who have eaten too much spicy food!


2. The Prince spaghetti "Anthony" ad.


Prince pasta is sold mainly in New England (Boston). They had ad for years advising us that everyone in Italy ate pasta on Wednesday (no basis in fact, but that's what they advertised), and therefore "Wednesday is Prince Day" on the radio and tv. The mother is calling for Anthony to come home, using a fairly strong Boston accent. The only feature missing from the ad is a wide view showing the family's reproduction of DaVinci's The Last Supper in a gold wooden frame (almost mandatory for Italian-American families of my generation, and always in the dining room).


The one I wish I could show you (but not on YouTube) was for Pepcid AC, a stomach acid reducer. The ad began with a young Italian-American man saying "Tonight I'm going to my mother's house for dinner. She's the greatest cook ever, but sometimes I get some acid reflux after one of her meals. So I take a Pepcid AC tablet before I go to her house". Then they show the middle-aged mother, speaking in Italian, with English subtitles, in her kitchen (of course): "My son is coming to dinner tonight. Normally I don't prepare such heavy Italian dishes, but my son expects them and I always have acid reflux afterward. So I take a Pepcid AC tablet before I eat when my son comes over." So both mother and son are taking Pepcid AC without the other knowing about it. Unfortunately not on YouTube.


PS: the proper term in English for your mother's aunts would be "great aunts" (if they have living husbands, they would be your great uncles). This is a little confusing, because their brother or sister who is your grandparent is not a "great" grandparent, but just a grandparent, and your grandparents' parents are your great grandparents. Therefore, your great grandparents are three generations before you, but your great aunts and great uncles are only two generations before you (they are the brother and sisters of your grandparent). Confusing, I know. "Mother's aunt" is also correct because it implies that these women are not your mother's sisters but her aunts. However, it does not answer the question of which pasta brand they buy when they are too lazy to make it themselves. ;)

Post# 529931 , Reply# 12   7/11/2011 at 03:05 (4,534 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        
The pasta of my great aunts!

Of course it would have been Divella (and still is!), made in Puglia near where they live and with the finest quality wheat!

Otherwise, in the north, where egg pasta is more common, it's easy and fast to make your own, to prepare tagliatelle as an example, it takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish so while waiting for the water to boil you can prepare yourself a good meal!

The proportion is one big (circa 73 g or more) egg per 100 g of white flour "0". No salt added.
The resulting dough must be very firm and never sticking to hands. Use a pasta machine to roll a sheet, (thickness 6 out of 9) a little less than 2 mm. Altas Marcato are the best on the market! (
I often prepare my own fresh egg pasta with ragł (remember proper ragł Bolognese hasn't any tomato in it, only a couple of spoons of concentrated!)
As soon as the tagliatelle are made, put them in boiling water (1,5 litres per serving) and when they start floating, they're ready to serve!

As for the, real, southern Italian stereotype, I'm sorry I can't help, as my family is mixed north-south and very "calm" for the stereotypical standards but if you were to see them for the Christmas or Easter lunch, I'm sure you'd feel more than overwhelmed (as I often do hahahah) by the 30-some people gathered together for the meal, an orgy would be more calm! Thank god that they invented the dishwasher after that!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO dj-gabriele's LINK

Post# 529969 , Reply# 13   7/11/2011 at 10:29 (4,534 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

Thanks for the interesting information, recipe, and links. Makes me hungry!!

The family around the corner when I was a child was Italian. Grandmother di Napoli lived with them, not a word of English. Father was university-educated and an aerospace engineer. Mother also born here and could not speak Italian. They used to make fresh pasta every Wednesday and now and then my sister and I were invited to mangia beni!

Post# 529976 , Reply# 14   7/11/2011 at 11:34 (4,534 days old) by joe_in_philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA)        

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So, do the new KitchenAid's with water softener hook up to the hot or cold water supply? Can a DW with a water softener be connected to the hot water supply? Nearly all DWs in the US are connected to hot water, with a cold water connection being a unique installation.


The only DW's I have heard of being connected to the cold water supply in the US are some Euro brand DWs. And do all Miele DWs in Europe come with the built in water softener? I know some sold here do not have them.


It seems like connecting a DW to a cold water supply would increase efficiency. I wonder if it will become a trend in the US.  It would allow a cold water pre-rinse, and of course no heated water would go cold sitting in the pipes between the water heater and the DW.

Post# 529991 , Reply# 15   7/11/2011 at 12:10 (4,534 days old) by DishwasherRules (Italy)        
hot water vs. water softener in DW

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Hi Joe, yes you can use a DW with a water softener even on the hot water supply: when the salt in the tank saturates the water in the tank after it refills salt stops dissolving regardless of water temperature if I remember well from my Chemistry classes when I was a high-school student (in the eary 90s).

I also have several friends and reletives who use their DWs on the hot water and I've never heard them complaining about having to replenish the salt tank too often.

Another information you might find useful: here in Italy, all DWs started being equiped with a water softner in the late 70s. When my mom & dad got married in 1974 the DW model they bought came with or without softener. Although the price was higher (about 20'000 old Italian lirae, quite a lot for the time) they went for the one with a softener because the water in our area in hard.

Post# 529993 , Reply# 16   7/11/2011 at 12:33 (4,534 days old) by joe_in_philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA)        

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Thanks, Ivan.  I wondered if the hot water would effect the softening equipment, but apparently not.


The other thing I wonder about is why whole-house water softeners are not common in areas of Europe with hard water. It seems that in the US, when the water in the area is very hard,  people install whole-house water softeners.  Where I grew up in Ohio, and then in my parent's home in Central Pennsylvania, the water was hard, so we had a whole-house softener. I live in Philadelphia, and the water is not as hard (comes from surface water, which usually is not as hard as ground water sources) and I know of nobody who has a whole-house water softener here.

Post# 530012 , Reply# 17   7/11/2011 at 14:40 (4,534 days old) by DishwasherRules (Italy)        
DWs and softeners - the way we were

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Well Joe, I'll try to answer to best of my knowledge, thougts and considerations.

Speaking of Italy, we must start by considering that every useful appliance or home equipment - such as dishwashers and water softening systems - has always been considered by the average-mentality Italian as a luxury or, even worse, as something unnecessary.

"Why do you use a dishwasher? You don't even have a large family!" this is the maxim my gran and my mom heard for years just because they owned a dishwasher and used it regularly (I bet those who said that were just green-eyed because they hadn't one).

"Why should I equip my home with a water softener? I buy drinking water in bottles and I can use Calgon in my washing machine." this is what people used to say when they saw an ad for Culligan in the magazines.

Leaving aside the issue of prices (household appliances, water softeners and the like were quite expensive when they were first launched on our market, and in a way they still are today) which does represents a relevant matter - I was quoted 1100 Euros to have a small water softener for my flat 1 month ago, I think this is ridiculous - I think we should focus more on the strong opposition to novelties that run through my country in particular.

In the 60s, magazines promoted large advertising campaigns on the benefits of automatic dishwashing - superior hygiene, no greasy residues on tableware, time saved, a tidy kitchen without a messy sink, etc. but DW weren't selling well here. In a country where (at that time) just a small number of women worked and their main aim was to be good homemakers, wives and mothers, an appliance like a dishwasher was seen as unnecessary and meant just for those women who didn't care that much about their "duties". Personally, I don't believe that washing up high piles of dirty tableware + pots and pans makes a woman a better wife, mother or whatever, and I'm happy to come from a family made of independent and hard-working women who taught me a lot, but many magazines of the age targetting a female audience (cooking, interior designing, knitting and the like) INSISTED on the fact that a woman had to sacrifice herself, her spare time, her personality and her health to achieve the supreme objetcive of becoming what the wicked mentality of the time considered a respectable lady. And the same was going on in the US as well, wasn't it?

Water softeners had more or less the same fate: I have many magazines from the late 60s where advertising boosted Culligan systems, but Joe Public just looked at them as fancy toys for rich people's homes, although his good friend or neighbour recently had one installed and the advantages of the softening system outweighed the fuss of having to fill the salt tank from time to time.

Post# 530088 , Reply# 18   7/11/2011 at 20:06 (4,534 days old) by washmeup (scottsdale)        
Water Softners

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I have a Miele Dishwasher with a built in water softner and it works very well! The glasses come out perfectly clear and the interior of the machine, although it is seven years old looks brand new!

Post# 530124 , Reply# 19   7/12/2011 at 00:17 (4,533 days old) by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
Water softeners

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I was always led to believe that softened water was bad for your health? I have seen warnings for people with raised blood pressure not to drink it, So would that mean you would have to get a seperate water supply for drinking and cooking if so that would be very expensive to install.
I have fitted at my Mums house a electric magnetic device that is meant to inhibit scale build up by not allowing the calcium to stick to itself thus no problems its been in now for 10 years and the washer has no sign of scale nor the kettle the dishwasher does use its own salt pot but thats set very low, The water is so hard there it comes out the tap fighting...:)


Post# 530137 , Reply# 20   7/12/2011 at 05:18 (4,533 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

To the best of my knowledge, whole-house softener systems in the USA are plumbed to the hot water line, to avoid addition of sodium to one's drinking water. This assumes of course that you use the cold water tap to obtain your drinking water. I suppose someone might try to make hot chocolate using hot water from the hot water line, which might lead to extra salt being ingested. But someone preparing coffee or tea in a coffee maker or with hot water from an electric kettle would/should start with cold water.

Post# 530171 , Reply# 21   7/12/2011 at 09:41 (4,533 days old) by joe_in_philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA)        

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Interesting, Ivan. I think the duties of a good wife and mother were reflected here too, but the appliance manufacturers certainly put it in such a way that time-saving appliances would allow you to do more things for your family.


A whole house water softener, as you can see at the models sold at Sears, cost about $400-$600. Not that much. They are fairly easy to install if you have one already, although you would probably need a plumber if the house wasn't designed with one in mind.


My understanding is that the amount of sodium imparted into the water depends on the hardness of the water.  The homes we had water softeners in had both the hot and cold water supply softened, with the cold water supply going to the kitchen sink bypassing the softener. You would be drinking and cooking with unsoftened water. So really, only the water you drank from a bathroom sink would be soft water.



CLICK HERE TO GO TO joe_in_philly's LINK

Post# 530239 , Reply# 22   7/12/2011 at 15:34 (4,533 days old) by retropia ()        
Farm Living

Relatives on a farm had a whole-house water softener; every faucet dispensed softened water. In the kitchen, a small cold-water-only faucet, that bypassed the water softener, was installed next to the main faucet. This was used to dispense non-softened water for drinking and cooking, as it tasted better than the softened water.

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