Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sick of Filmy Dishes?

Have you noticed that your dishes are coming out a little more looking like this?

My husband and I were about 2 days away from buying a new dishwasher even though our dishwasher is only 5 years old because I was sick of having dishes with a film on them.  Luckily, I'm an avid researcher {especially when it comes to spending money} and found that people were having a similar problem and that it probably wasn't our dishwasher, it was the detergent.

And then the NY Times posted this great article about a week after I figured this out.  Here are the nuts and bolts of the article:

  • Starting in July, 17 states have changed laws that do not allow dishwasher detergents containing large amounts of phosphates.

  • Phosphates help soften the water and lift debris from our dishes so they come out looking clean, not spotty.  However, phosphates are really bad for our lakes and waters.

So now, many of us are just noticing the filmy dishes coming out of our dishwasher as we run out of the phosphated loaded detergent.

So what's the solution?  It's definitely not more soap.  Here are a couple things I've tried that I find help.

  1. Lemi Shine- you put a scoop in with your detergent and it keeps your dishes sparkling and super clean.  It costs about $4.50 for the bottle at Target and you can probably get about 15 loads out of it.  I did try putting it in every other load, and this seemed to work just as well.  So you could probably stretch it to about 30 loads.

  2. Dishwasher Filter- Since I didn't like the idea of having to pay $4.50 per bottle of Lemi Shine for the rest of my life, I looked into getting a little under-the-sink water softener for our dishwasher.  It's only $70 and then all I have to do is replace the filter every so often.

Here's a quick before and after snap shot of me using these products.  My dishes are now squeaky clean!

I've also heard that you can run a load with a cup of vinegar, or put a scoop of country time lemonade in with your detergent to help.  But I didn't give these a try.

Have you experience filmy dishes?  If so, what have you done to fix it?


Janet said...

Have you ever tried Ecover dishwasher tablets? They are eco-friendly and AMAZING. No film, as I had had with other eco detergents.

texnyqueen said...

I alternate between eco-sense liquid detergent and method powder detergent in my dishwasher. It has been working up until recently. So before my mini vacation, I run an empty dishwasher with vinegar to clean it.

@thinkCara said...

Great post! This is very good to know. The lemonade mix probably works because of the citric acid. Citric acid is also the active ingredient in most dishwasher cleaners. The acid won't harm clear glass but it can etch damage into other dishes and glasses with images on them. I have also been told by a dishwasher repair guy that liquid detergent should be avoided because it puts build up on the heating element that will eventually flake off and stick on your dishes. It looks black and white sand and it crusts on just about everything. Powder detergent is the best. I might have to try the Lemi Shine.

Traveling Mama said...

Who would have thought?! Thanks for the tips!

Melissa said...

I just read a similar article after thinking I just had a crappy dishwasher! It was still a crappy dishwasher, but still my dishes are not looking so hot.

I tried Method dish detergent & it made matters worse. I've tried using a rinse aid & that helps, but only a little. I'm definitely going to try the lemishine solution, citric acid(because I surprisingly have that on hand) and switch to the powder detergent!

Thanks for the heads up!

Heather said...

Distilled White Vinegar is the way to go. You can buy it by the gallon for next to nothing and keep everything super squeaky shiny clean.

Because I am such a fan of this wonder liquid I would like to share with everyone a link I came a cross a while back listing all the awesome powers of vinegar:

KELLY said...

I'm with Heather distilled white vinegar is great, my grandma used it to clean everything from dishes to laundry, we forget that long ago they didn't have these new fad products but went with the old standby, and it worked for them it will work for us too!

Jennifer said...

Just wondering with the distilled vinegar, how do you use it? Do you run it empty or mix it with detergent?

debbie said...

I run a cup of vinegar every load now...a friend suggested it to me...I just pour it in the bottom of dishwasher right before turning like a charm...
I have a ????
I use the cascade tab pouches...should I switch back to powder? are these the same as using liquid?

Megan Dunford said...

I am the dishwasher at my house, unless I can trick my husband into doing it. :) However, my mom was having the same problem, she tried adding powdered water softener to her loads and her dishes have come out looking great now too! It probably does the same thing as the filter you are showing.
Thanks for the tips! Hopefully one day I'll have a dishwasher I can use them on. :)