Skip to comments.Dishes Still Dirty? Blame Phosphate-Free Detergent
Posted on 12/23/2010 9:45:22 AM PST by lacrew
Is your dishwasher not working the way it used to? Earlier this year, with little fanfare, detergent makers reworked their formulas.
This was supposed to be good for waterways. But it turned a simple chore into a frustrating mystery for many people across the country.
A couple of months ago, Sandra Young from Vernon, Fla., started to notice that something was seriously amiss with her dishes.
"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."
Young's not alone. Many people across the country are tearing out their hair over stained flatware, filmy glasses and ruined dishes.
Sue Wright from Austin, Texas, says for months her cups and glasses have been coming out of her year-old dishwasher covered with black specks. She called three repairmen to her kitchen, but her dishes were still dirty.
"I looked at a plumber's rear end for about two months this summer sticking out from under my sink," Wright says. "I was just totally frustrated. I couldn't figure out what was going wrong."
Finally, after months of aggravation and expense, Wright found out the real reason for her speckled cups: This summer, detergent makers took phosphates out of their detergents.
Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.
But dirty and damaged dishes are turning many people into skeptics, including Wright.
"I'm angry at the people who decided that phosphate was growing algae. I'm not sure that I believe that," Wright adds.
Sandra Young was so mad that she called Procter & Gamble, which makes Cascade, to complain. But when she did, a company representative told her to be more careful about which pans she puts into her dishwasher.
"He said, 'Well, if you're really having that hard of a problem, maybe you should wash your dishes by hand.' Which I thought was kind of strange for an automatic dishwashing company."
Susan Baba from Procter & Gamble says the company had no choice. It just wasn't feasible to make detergent with phosphates for some states and without them for others.
"You know, this isn't really a huge environmental win," she says.
That's because phosphates are wonder ingredients. They not only strip food and grease from dishes but also prevent crud from getting reattached during the wash. So she says without phosphates, people have to wash or rinse their dishes before they put them in the dishwasher, which wastes water. Or they run their dishwasher twice, which wastes electricity.
Dennis Griesing of the American Cleaning Institute, a trade group, says it could take time, but phosphate-free detergents will improve. That's what happened with laundry detergents after phosphates were removed from them years ago. He says these inconveniences are part of a bigger trend.
"We're going though a very significant readjustment in our lives to accommodate our ecological needs," Griesing says.
But not everyone is willing to adjust. Sandra Young figured out a way to undo the phosphate ban at least in her own kitchen.
She bought some trisodium phosphate at a hardware store and started mixing her own formula.
"It seems to be working pretty good," Young says.
Other people have given up on their machines altogether and are washing dishes by hand. But some are switching to other brands and making peace with phosphate-free detergents.
Stupid libs don’t even know where phosphates come from. Most I’ve seen come from bird droppings near rivers. How do they plan on getting it out of the eco system when that’s where it comes from?
Notice how far down you have to go to see WHY they did this.
We have coped by washing the dishes by hand.
I will go to Home Depot tomorrow!
Prices will sky-rocket on pre-ban Cascade.
I usually add 1-2 tablespoons of TSP to the soap dispenser in our dishwasher for a full load. How much could depend on the softness of your water, as our well goes through an osmosis type softener. The TSP makes a huge difference.
Just looked at a generic brand of phosphate containing powdered dishwasher shop. All kinds of “do not swallow” warning labels on it. I think the dishwasher is fine.
Landowner permits and duck stamps.
Daffy family Motto: *If it's brown it's down... if it flies it dies*
>>>>>>>>>>>> Is it really safe to add your own tsp to a dishwasher? It is toxic if swalloed, and is sold as a paint cleaner. I realize the dishwasher rinses but still.<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Easy solution...add one quarter cup vinegar to dishwasher... works wonders...NO TSPs
There’s TSP and then there’s TSP. Home Depot sells a brand called “TSP” but it does not contain TSP. You have the read the label to ensure it does contain TSP. Best place to get it is at paint stores.
There’s a great book out about the cholera epidemic in London during the 1850’s. Then too, they’re also killing us with malaria due to the DDT ban. Songbirds sing while women and children die.
Any thoughts on if that is save for human consumption, so to speak? Whether traces of tsp left on your dishes is ok?
I’ll get some today. I’ll start by adding a half teaspoon per load and see how that does. It has to be a small amount, because the pre packaged detergent gel packs are so small.
Guys, Americans focus on harsh chemicals to clean everything. The stuff your clothes detergent/softener/dryer sheet/dry cleaning chemicals has NEXT TO (and ENTERING) your skin and bloodstream could well give you cancer, Lou Gherig’s (sp?), and a host of chronic illnesses.
I lived in a European country that didn’t allow harsh chemicals or bleaches (I do not agree with such top-heavy gov’t control but just mentioning how I was forced to learn this healthy fact), and I learned the secret of how to wash clothes (and dishes) really, really well without harsh chemicals.
It’s HOT water! Very, very hot water. Sometimes BOILING. Most European made machines will do this. It’s your healthy alternative to the kinds of chemicals that you do not want in your body, through either your dishes OR your clothing. Our skin takes everything in that’s on it. So I am talking about stain-free laundry that your baby can chew on (my son DOES like to chew his shirt sleeves and I am so OK with it!), and a clean glass with no residual chem taste when you fill it with water.
Focus on a little clean, safe soap and tons of HOT HOT water.
Will this also help in laundry detergent?
How do I get this crud off my hands?
I wash my dishes in battery acid.
As far as I know, it just replaces the phosphate that was previously a part of the dishwasher soap and rinses off just fine - no problems here. We use it for extra dirty laundry also, maybe a quarter cup per load - hope that helps.
We noticed that the dishes weren’t as clean at our house too. At first we blamed the dishwasher. Now we know better.
Great......now I won’t be able to buy TSP anymore. I use it for everything. People will go to the hardware store and drive the price up 3 fold and then the EPA will ban it out right.
This Eco-Fecal freak sh!t is way out of hand.
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