Earlier this month, several of my friends were ready to march into Best Buy and charge new dishwashers on their Visa cards. They were outraged! Without warning, their trusty dishwashers were turning out filmy drinking glasses that had to be re-washed and residue could be seen on plastic drinking glasses and plates. I was ready to do the same until I came across a very interesting news article.
It seems that environmental activists have been busy because now dishwasher detergent containing phosphates are illegal in at least sixteen states. That’s right. Illegal. Proctor & Gamble and other major detergent manufacturers decided to eliminate phosphates in all their dishwasher products. Unless you have a tidy stockpile of “old” detergent, you are in the same boat as the rest of us.
One woman said,
“The pots and pans were gray, the aluminum was starting to turn black, the glasses had fingerprints and lip prints still on them, and they were starting to get this powdery look to them,” Vernon says. “I’m like, oh, my goodness, my dishwasher must be dying; I better get a new dishwasher.”
I can relate. I’ve had to wash my glasses by hand, and God only knows what residue we’re eating because it can’t be seen as easily.
Some zealots with way too much time on their hands were even going store to store in search of the illegal substance, threatening retailers with fines up to $5000 a day for having the offending products on their shelves.
Am I doomed to filthy dishes forever?
You can try adding a 1/4 cup of vinegar to each dishwasher rinse cycle, but all that vinegar adds up quickly, is just another added expense, and you have to set a timer to know when to add it. You can run your dishwasher a second time, wasting water and electricity, or buy detergent with phosphates from a restaurant supply store. Some people swear by Lemi-Shine, and come to think of it, Spic-n-Span contains phosphates, last time I checked. Maybe half a teaspoon or so might give you clean dishes, which is all we really want anyway. A final option, one that I am trying out this week, is to add a tablespoon of trisodium phosphate to each load. This can be purchased in a hardware or home improvement store, until it gets out-lawed, too.
Considering that on January 1, over 700 laws went into effect in California alone, I think a little outrage is called for. There is no end in sight to restrictive laws being passed, and as I’ve taught my kids, “Every time a law is passed, someone, somewhere loses some freedom.” I wonder how many freedoms I’ve lost already this year without even knowing it? (Don’t get me started on incandescent light bulbs!)
End of my rare, semi-political rant.
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