It was reassuring to me to read THIS article this morning. It explained why I am not crazy and just imagining that my dishes are no longer coming out clean from my dishwasher.
The columnist was sharing how she has been annoyed by the way her dishes are coming out of her dishwasher. She accused her family members of inappropriately loading the dishes, topped off the sheeting action fluid and did everything else she could think of but after awhile, she realized that something more was going on.
I have to give a wry smile. The same thing has been going on in my house. I have been having to dip all my "clean" dishes, glassware and flatware in vinegar or an anti-lime solution to get rid of the "splashed in dirty milk and left to dry" appearance. You would not have enjoyed listening to me rant about having to do that re-do procedure to a full load of dishes last Saturday morning. Gail, poor thing, had the misfortune of calling me just as I was finishing up and got an earful about it from me. It took her a good ten minutes for her to finally calm me down!
Anyway, here's a short summary of what is up with all that:
The US gov. has decided that phosphates in our rivers causes algae bloom and that suffocates fish. That fact is true, however the amount of phosphates coming from dish washing detergent is something like 1.9%, while the rest of the phosphate comes from fertilizers and manures.
Seventeen states have now banned phosphate from dish washing detergents. Most folks use up their old formula detergent, buy a "new" (and NOT improved) version unwittingly and start noticing that their dishes aren't coming clean anymore.
Plumbers are called, and the truth is revealed. Worse, the fact that the phosphate that used to prevent food particles to from attaching themselves to dishes also used to keep the dishwasher motor free of build up.
The new formula will cause the dishwasher motors to burn out much more quickly than before.
And yes, the plumber must be paid for delivering this disheartening news that nothing is wrong with the dishwasher right now, and there is nothing the plumber can do to prevent the burn out in the future.
The article had multiple comments and included a few tips that I thought were worth passing along.
The first tip is to sprinkle a quarter teaspoon of the cleaner TSP in with the detergent. The P in TSP stands for phosphate, which, guess what? means that it is now banned in 17 states. Apparently it can still be bought on line, so it may pay to stock up or find a dealer in a non-banned state.
I never imagined I would someday be looking for ways to smuggle TSP into my home, but these are difficult times and one must do what one must do to survive.
The second more expensive option was to put a good squirt of lemon juice concentrate in with each load. I suppose a little plastic lemon on my counter wouldn't look too bad...
I had heard that Koolaid would also work (it didn't work for me) or Tang (didn't try that).
I have also tried putting vinegar in with little success.
If you don't live in a hard water area, or you do your dishes by hand, or you haven't needed to wash down walls with TSP before painting, this whole post probably sounds a bit crazy. Trust me...if you had been dealing with scummy dishes for the last few months, you would understand how crazy making this situation really is.
And as long as I am venting a bit...why on earth can't dishwasher detergent manufacturer and dishwasher designers come up with a formula and setting for washing fine old china with metallic edges. I just read that century old family china is now being ditched all over the place because the current generation is unwilling for the most part to take on hand washing their great great grandmother's china.
One article stated that a fine china table settings for twelve with all the service pieces are routinely being priced at between $300 and $400 and are having no takers.
Come on scientists! Get to work on solving this chemical problem so old china patterns can be enjoyed regularly once again without needing to roll up sleeves to do the dishes after a lovely dinner party.