Get outside, Family!

Get outside, Family!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dishwashers regurgitate on dishware

Finally paying cooks and diners back for years of crusted on leftovers First my mother said her dishwasher stopped working, and she washed her dishes by hand for weeks before ultimately buying a new one. Then my mother-in-law started having the same problem, blaming the white clumps in the bottom of the washer on the fact that she was using powdered dish detergent instead of liquid. Papa Zi is usually the first to spot trends and spin conspiracy theories, but neither he nor I connected the dots when the white film arrived on our dishes and glasses. We were just too glad to have another reason to kick Moaning Myrtle – our chest-vibratingly loud dishwasher and inspiration for the Harry Potter character – to the curb. But before we even had a chance to press our noses to the door of new, sublimely quiet, highly efficient models, we learned the truth. Turns out the detergent makers have changed their formulations to eliminate phosphate, and this has taken the kick out of many detergents. As of July, Pennsylvania and other states have begun requiring phosphate-free dish soap in order to reduce a major pollutant to streams, rivers and lakes.

A whohoo for cleaner water systems. The chemical sorcerers redesigning the detergents should be able to make do without phosphate since we clean things without it all the time. Apparently, the liquid phosphate-free products are working much better than the powdered ones. We have not found this to be the case, however, and are basically having to wash our dishes by hand before we put them in. To avoid this, I’m reusing dishes a lot, which is okay. Maybe things don’t need to be as shiny clean as we’ve learned they must be from dish soap commercials from these same manufacturers that urge us to find ourselves in our reflection in our plates. But I still don’t like serving the Little Zi’s on dishes and glasses covered in visible soap film and bits of last night’s dinner; that can’t be healthy for them. Maybe we need a new washer afterall…

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