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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Your dishwasher is not broken

Photo credit: www.pinterest.com

A little household break in this wild run-up to the mid-terms...

The EPA cannot stop meddling, and even though the phosphates were eliminated from your detergents over four years ago, I am still doing battle with our dishwasher. Glassware doesn’t come out bright and clean but often has a dull haze. Occasionally, particles stick to the dishes. I have known for several years that it’s not the dishwasher. From Mona Charon at theSpokesman-Review blog: 

Our dishwashers are fine. The reason our dishes are dirty is that the environmentalists have succeeded in banning phosphates from dishwashing soap.

There are interim and ongoing remedies. None of them are energy efficient or what the green environmentalists would approve of.

PROBLEM: My dishwasher repairman suggested the All-In-One Finish detergent along with a super rinse. It’s better than the regular products. But half the time, when the wash cycle is finished, lots of soapsuds remain.

A SOLUTION: Close the door and run the “Rinse and Hold” cycle one or two times until the soap is gone. Open the door to let the dishes dry.

PROBLEM: Glassware comes out of the wash cycle with a haze; dishes have bits of food stuck to them.

A SOLUTION: Empty the dishwasher and run a complete wash cycle with no detergent. Close the detergent tray so you can hear when it flips open. When it does, open the door (slowly to interrupt the water flying all over the place) and dump in one cup of white distilled vinegar. Close the door to resume the cycle, and check in on the proceedings after several minutes. If the water is very soapy, it’s because the vinegar is breaking up caked detergent and grease in the dishwasher mechanisms. Repeat wash cycles with vinegar until the water runs clear in mid-cycle. 

ANOTHER SOLUTION: Buy Tri-sodium phosphate by the bag at your local hardware store. Add it into the wash cycle at the same as the detergent is released, or add a pinch into the soap compartment. (Disclaimer: This is not intended to be legal advice.)

ANOTHER SOLUTION: Use disposable paper plates. More trash, of course. Plastic plates and utensils would be even worse.

ANOTHER SOLUTION: Find detergents with higher phosphate content. It used to be easy to buy commercial products on the web. But most of the vendors have started asking for identification to prove you are ordering the product for commercial use. 

Restaurants are exempt from all this nonsense, which rather proves the obvious: Reducing or eliminating phosphates from detergents result in dishes that are not clean. The EPA was worried about negligible, and in some cases, hypothetical damage to the environment by phosphate run-off, but they won’t be happy until we cast our dishwashers into the landfills of history. In the meantime, the EPA rules are counter-productive, resulting in more water and electricity consumption and yet more dirty dishes.

Another phosphate resource, ActiveRain, is here.

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