I was on the telephone with my mom recently, complaining about the horrible state of my dishes. They were covered in chalky white deposits every time I pulled them out of the dishwasher. The glasses and silverware were spotted, and it was getting so bad that you couldn't tell if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty.
I've lived with well water in the past, and here in Indy we are on city water. But I have to say, the water here is very hard. It makes cleaning my glass shower doors a real aerobic workout. But this was different. Sure, my three-year old dishwasher is not my favorite, but it's never been this bad.
Well, guess what? My mom recently saw a program on television where they were complaining about this same problem. Reporters called some of the major detergent manufacturers like Proctor and Gamble and asked "What's up with that?" When questioned, the truth was revealed. Detergent makers have recently removed phosphates from their products due to the EPA and environmental hazards to our waterways. It was done with very little consumer fanfare, and a lot of folks thought they were buying the same formulas they'd purchased in the past.
I checked my box, and in very tiny print, I saw the confirmation.
What does this mean? Well, phosphates made the dishes slippery so that soap scum and hard water deposits could not stick on your dishes. Without phosphates, they accumulate. It doesn't really matter what rinse aid you use, as I'd tried Jet Dry and the detergents with rinse aids built in, to no avail. So, now our waterways may be safer, but we're working twice as hard to make our dishes clean.
Then, a coworker recommended a product called Lemi Shine. I found mine at the local Meijer's grocery store. Add the Lemi Shine to the pre-wash compartment, add detergent to the main wash compartment, and your dishes come out sparkling and chalk-free every time!
And here's the proof! My knives, side by side:
The one on the left that's shiny was washed with Lemi Shine, the one on the right with my phosphate free detergent and rinse aid.
It's really dramatic when you see my glasses!
The glass on the left is a "clean" glass pulled from the dishwasher, washed with phosphate free detergent and rinse aid. The glass on the right was washed with the same detergent and Lemi Shine. BIG DIFFERENCE! We no longer have to guess if the dishes are clean or dirty, and the horrible chalky feeling from the dishes, silverware, and glassware is gone. Hooray!
Of course, you could also hand wash all of your dishes, and then rinse them all with a vinegar solution. But really, that's a lot of work, and my poor hands cannot take that much abuse in the winter!
If you've had the same problem, now you know that you are not alone. I'm not getting paid for this endorsement, but maybe I should be! ha ha! Hope this makes your life a little easier, as it has mine. (Oh, and by the way, this product IS phosphate free as well!)
Happy Friday, friends!