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How the colour or pattern on plates and dishes can fade over time in a dishwasher


Patterns which have been added to the surface of the china after it is glazed (on-glaze patterns) are dull or faded.

This is most noticeable when comparing with new china of the same type or with the undamaged pattern.

This is not a fault with your dishwasher and no service visit will be able to resolve this issue

Please see the information below on how to avoid having this problem with your dishwasher.

Usually the result of:

Very soft water
Detergent overdosing
Aggressive detergents

Cause & Prevention


Fading of patterns is caused by the removal of metal ions from the coloured area and this is very often a result of very soft water.

Part of the detergent is designed to remove calcium ions from the water (builders) but if there are few ions present, such as is the case in soft water areas, then this can cause the metal ions to be removed from the coloured pattern.


The fading is irreversible and there is no treatment or any way to restore the pattern


Buy good quality "dishwasher safe" china.

Ensure that the water is not too soft. Check with your local water authority that the water is suitable.

Do not add salt to the machine if the tap water is 10 degrees clarke and a phosphated detergent is used then do not use salt in the dishwasher softener system.

Use a good quality detergent, we recommend Fairy Active Bursts and make sure that a commercial dishwashing powder is not being used.



  How You Can Get Help With Dishwasher Problems

To offer support in helping people to determine the cause of dishwasher problems please use the dishwasher support forum.

It’s fast, free, easy and normally someone will pick up on the post that can assist you often with a few experts chipping in if needed. Just register if you don’t have an account, we don’t mail you, send you spam or any of that stuff.

Post up your question and give images if you possibly can and the guys in the forums will do the rest for you and try to identify the problem you have.

Cost you nothing, might save you some embarrassment or worse, a charge for a service visit that wasn’t needed.

  Photographs Of Damage

If you can post photographs of the damage or problem you are having this can be really helpful in allowing the dishwasher technicians to see what the problem is.

The guys have the knowledge to assist with most problems but the more information you give them, the better they can help you.

I think hard tablets and dishwasher powders are abrasive and as result the patterns on plates and china get abraded. The use of "softer" detergent like Fairy Platinum or other Fairy tablets seems to avoid this problem.

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