04 May 2011

Phosphate Free - And Still Clean

When we moved into our house, we were warned that our dishwasher may leave a white residue on our dishes. The builder assured us that this was not a problem with our dishwasher but with the fact that Utah no longer allows dishwasher detergents with phosphates to be sold in the state.* I began asking around to find out what sorts of products people were using to get rid of this white film that was ugly but harmless. One friend recommended Lemishine. I in turn recommended it to somebody else without actually trying it myself. I was planning on buying some Lemishine, but before doing so I did a little research on what else could help.

One recommendation was getting a soft-water filtration system. This is a reasonable long-term solution, but several people commented that even though they had soft water, they were still dealing with the residue.

Several other people recommended pouring 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher with each wash. I tried it that day with a full cup, and it worked wonders. My glasses and silverware came out clean and shiny. But I was reluctant to use an entire cup with every washload. I've actually discovered that I can get away with using only 1/3 cup. We bought a large container of white vinegar, and rather than keeping it in the pantry, I keep it under the sink with the dishwasher detergent. Before I wash each load, I pour a little white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher.

You may be wondering if the dishes come out smelling like vinegar. No, they do not. You may be wondering what type of dishwasher detergent I am using. It's Finish powder. You may be wondering if I also use a rinse aid in my dishwasher. Currently, no.

So there you have it. You can very affordably have clean dishes, even if dishwasher detergents with phosphates are not sold in your state.

*For some reason, you can buy dishwasher detergents with phosphates that are meant to be used commercially, but you cannot buy them for home use. This is ridiculous, and I could go on and on about the problems with lobbyists. If phosphates are so bad for our lakes and rivers (p.s., they are), then how come restaurants can deposit them into the sewer system but households cannot? Argh.


Heather said...

I agree with the vinegar trick, though I would kept fogetting to add it. The Finish Powerball Tabs work AMAZINGLY too...

Jenny said...


Angela Noelle of SK said...

Vinegar is amazing stuff.

Also, dishwashers...amazing things. Oh, to have one.../pine

Jessica Leigh said...

I 3rd the vinegar! I just wish the rest of my family would catch the vision! ;)