Add dishwasher soap to combat calcium?

Would it be ok / helpful to add some dishwasher soap to “soften the water”and reduce calcium buildup?

I’m using sealed vacuum bags, guess no risk of contact with the food…

(A tip I got from a friend and was wondering about)

For cleaning the unit, we only recommend equal parts of your standard vinegar and water. But you can also use dishwashing soap when cleaning the inside of the cooker or the skirt- here are specific instructions on how to do that.

During a normal cook, please only use water.

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Thanks for the swift reply!

May I ask why not to add salt to the water?
Would it have any negative impact on the anova device or on the food?

(We are talking about a lot of calcium in the water and a fast buildup on the machine and I would like to prevent or at least delay going through the cleaning process often)

Adding salt to hard water is only going to make it harder and increase the speed of any buildup on the unit.

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Amir, i would wonder about that friend too.
If your problem is a high mineral salt content in your water, you should be wary of a friend who tells you to add more salt to fix your problem?

If you really do mean “soap”, as in Ivory brand, it will produce a lot of foam which might look nice in your sink and be gentle on your hands but make a mess in your cooker. Foam is a very poor heat conductor too so you might damage your Anova’s element and impeller. Bubbles don’t clean. They just look nice, - but belong on beer, not in cleaning solutions.

And if you meant a detergent, they are not much better but the best ones contain expensive anti-foaming compounds to improve their action. However they are compounded to remove food soil, starches, and fats; not so much minerals.

If you resist Allyssa’s cleaning advice you probably could slightly acidulate your cooking water with a little vinegar, but of course your home will smell like a salad whenever you cook.

Got two spare minutes?
If you insist on using an alternative to Alyssa’s advice, just put about 4-inches depth of straight 5% white vinegar in a clean glass jar. After every cook, dip your Anova into the jar of vinegar and hold it there for a minute. Half that time would probably be enough in water of less than 10-grain hardness. Remove the Anova and thoroughly rinse inside it with cold running water. Put a lid on the jar of vinegar, label it it, and save it for subsequent cooks. The vinegar will be good until it isn’t, as in very cloudy.

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I like the suggestion to keep some vinegar cleaning liquid in a dedicated jar @chatnoir thank you!

The friend in question comes with professional background in the water treatment industry, the question I asked him was for way to reduce the calcium buildup on the Anova due to extended period of cooking time. His answer was based on a similar practice in getting clean dishes out of the dishwasher - where if you put the special dishwasher salts - your dishes would come out with a nice shine and no residue - which sounds logical to me.

Something like this:

According to him, having these salts (which are also similar to salts you will find in a typical “Brita” filter) would significantly reduce the process by which these minerals are separated from the water…

Again - that’s the logical / semi professional explanation I have for adding dishwasher salts to the cooking water, and I was wondering what would be the con’s to trying it :slight_smile:

Amir, i apologize for my comment about your friend.
I thought he meant salt salt, not water treatment salts.

He’s suggesting a pricy alternative to vinegar. (con)
Most dishwashers operate at a significantly higher temperature than Anova cooks at thus they have increased accumulation of visible salts, often called limestone, so treated water could be your solution.

In my experience the best dishwashing compounds contain those specialized salts in varying amounts according to region, but they are not applicable for your Anova.

It you live in a very hard water area that salt accumulation is going to be throughout your home wherever you use water. You might be better off using a whole house treatment system rather than something just for your Anova. Besides you will use a lot less detergent for laundry and ware washing use plus your skin and hair will feel a lot better after bathing.

My preferred approach to getting clean service ware from a mechanical dishwasher is to inject a wetting agent in the final rinse water which prevents the salts suspended in the water from adhering to surfaces. In most very hard water areas, like across the North American prairies, one still has to de-lime on a regular schedule.

I would like to test the Bosch product for cost effectiveness, thanks for the lead.

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As an alternative to cleaning the unit you could perhaps just try using distilled water. This is really only a reasonable option if you have a cheap source of distilled water of course…my wife has a water distiller so distilled water is cheap for us. If hard water were an issue for me I think using distilled water would be feasible approach to avoid the need for cleaning completely, and I’d just keep reusing the water. (I don’t bother to do this because the water where I live is soft.).

Distilled water has its own dangers. Water is the universal solvent. It does not like being pure… it will work hard at trying to dissolve anything it contacts.

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I’m not sure, according to Jack Peters, materials scientist and engineer at UC Berkley, tap water is usually a bit faster at being detrimental to metals, when compared to distilled water, due to those other components dissolved in the water, particularly chlorine

(I don’t have access to enough distilled water unfortunately so I can’t try this out)

I don’t mind if the water would “work hard” on dissolving the dishwasher salt if it causes them to produce less lime residue :slight_smile:

So if there is no fear of effecting the Anova device and the food is protected by the food grade level plastic vacuum bags I suppose putting in a couple of spoons won’t be to costly in the long run…

what do you think ?

I personally only add a pinch of citric acid, that will make sure that the pot and the anova will not have limestone deposits.
If your water is really hard and you sous vide vegetables like beetroot you need to use high temperatures, these two will make most of the solved calcium to deposit all over.
I’ve found the citric acid to be the cheep and easy way. Was using distilled water for a while as well, but this is easier.


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Hi @Botond_Barabas - A pinch of citric acid does seem like a simple and inexpensive approach! @Amir_Hanan personally I think I’d give this a try before anything else and see how things go.

This thread really makes me appreciate the soft water we have where I live! I’ve been using my Anova for over 7 months now and it still looks new. At least this is one worry I don’t have to deal with…now if I can just stop the deer that sneaks into my yard at night to eat the leaves off my tomato plants! :slight_smile:

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Good thread. And the recommendation is also good.

Hi Botond,

I have always used Citric Acid instead of vinegar for descaling the circulator. I always vac seal so this is generally my only necessary clean.