Monday, November 15, 2010

Undercover Dishwashing

After almost 5 months of grimy icky disgusting dishes coming out of the dishwasher (hand-washing the particularly grievous ones before putting them away), we finally have sparkling clean dishes!

The problem started earlier this year when our state banned detergents with phosphates in them (Cascade). "Oh, no problem... all detergents are the same, right?"

NO!! All of our dishes on the top rack had this sandy ick on them. I rubbed my hand over a freshly washed glass and it scraped my knuckles!

Over the course of the next five months, we tried everything. Vinegar in the JetDry area, homemade detergent, liquid detergent, water softener, increasing the water heater temperature, unclogging every nozzle in the danged contraption, cleaning every trap, and finally we just got a new dishwasher. The old one was older than I am, so I didn't mind upgrading that at the landlord's expense (he agreed). Nothing doing. Cloudy glasses, sandy plates, and grody dull grimy silverware.

Last Friday, out of the clear blue, we scored some contraband. For some reason the grocery store (which hitherto had not been selling the banned goods) had pulled out a secret stash of phosphate-laden Cascade. No kidding.

After paying, we smuggled out a stack of the boxes, hoping the Green Police wouldn't catch us. First batch of dishes washed... NO!!! They were 80% better than before, but still there were sandy flecks in my glasses and on the plates.

In one last-ditch effort before resigning myself to hand-washing forever, we added a scant 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to the detergent. An hour and a half later I opened the dishwasher to survey the results. My expectations were low.

Ta da!!! Sparkling, clean, shiny, looks-like-hand-washed dishes!

I hear there's actually a band of renegade housewives who go across state lines once a month to stock up on Cascade for their neighborhoods. I think I'll try Seventh Generation next time, instead, but for now it's nice to have something that works.

Bonus joy:

My two favorite musicals are finally going on tour!! And they're both going to be within driving distance of me!! I hope you can share in the joy, too... check here and here for tour dates and cities of Les Miserables and Wicked. Of course I'll have to pawn off half of my belongings to be able to afford two tickets, but it's time to downsize anyway, right?

1 comment:

Marie said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/13/your-money/13shortcuts.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=your-money&src=me

Here's the link..I have really cut down on my laundry soap too, and with having eight kiddos, I cannot believe how long it's lasted!

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