Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Environmentalists: Hands Off My Dishes!
Townhall.com ^ | January 25, 2011 | Mona Charen

Posted on 01/25/2011 6:41:58 AM PST by Kaslin

I began noticing the white coating, dull film, and simply unclean dishes a few weeks ago. Naturally, I suspected that other members of my clan were failing to place dishes on the racks of the dishwasher properly. "If the water can't reach it, it won't get clean," I lectured (not, ahem, for the first time), ostentatiously removing a small bowl that had been slipped under a larger one, no doubt by a person who clings to the discredited idea that dishwashers should be loaded to the gills. And those little separators in the utensil caddy -- they are there for a reason, gentlemen!

But the crisis persisted. And, as the days passed, it became clear that the matter was beyond poor placement. Bits of spaghetti, stiff and stubborn, stuck like stalactites to bowls. The walls and doors of the machine emerged waxy and coated from each wash, in contrast to the gleaming surfaces of the past. Between the tines of forks, ugly bits of hardened remains resembled something you'd see on "NCIS" -- if not quite repellent, then certainly unwelcome from what should have been a disinfected, pristine dishwasher!

I switched brands of dishwashing liquid. No change. Topped off the rinse aid reservoir. No change. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the thought of buying a new machine flitted through my consciousness. Sparkling, squeaky-clean dishes are a necessary part of our quality of life! But our dishwasher is only three years old.

And then I learned that I don't have a personal problem. I have a political problem. Jonathan V. Last of The Weekly Standard explains that, all across the nation, innocent Americans are grappling with the identical scourge. Our dishwashers are fine. The reason our dishes are dirty is that the environmentalists have succeeded in banning phosphates from dishwashing soap.

Until recently, dishwashing soap contained about 8 percent elemental phosphorus. That's the magic element that "strips food and grease off dirty dishes and breaks down calcium-based stains." It also prevents food from reattaching to the dishes.

Or used to. As of July 2010, the nation's detergent manufacturers, bowing to laws regulating phosphorus in 17 states, reconfigured the formula for all dishwashing soap to contain less than 0.5 percent phosphorus. It's taken till now for most of us to notice, as we used up the old (the wonderful old) soap and unwittingly made the switch.

Environmentalists argue that phosphorus winds up in our lakes and streams, causing algae blooms, which in turn reduce the oxygen available for other life. They admit that the amount of phosphorus coming from dishwasher soap is small, but, according to Jani Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the Department of Ecology in Washington State, "Anything we can do is good."

Well, hang on. According to a 2003 Minnesota study, only 1.9 percent of the phosphorus in that state came from dishwashing detergent. And even The New York Times acknowledges that fertilizer and manure are the big culprits, with dishwashing soap contributing only "a fraction" of phosphates in the water.

Besides, removing phosphorus has other environmental consequences. People may run their dishwashers twice (guilty), causing more greenhouse gases to be created, or they may hand-wash their dishes using more hot water than machines do (there are studies that show that hand-washers tend to run the hot water too long -- really).

This stealth attack on our dishes happened with little public debate. If there really is a serious problem with phosphates in our rivers and streams (and from my quick inquiries, it seems to vary considerably around the nation), then voters should be offered alternatives. We can reduce our use of lawn fertilizers, for example. I'd prefer a yellow lawn to grimy dishes if it came to that.

But I need to be convinced. Remember those compact fluorescent light bulbs that were supposed to save billions of kilowatts of energy? California was an early adopter and is spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize the sale of the bulbs (the rest of us will see incandescent bulbs disappear from shelves by 2014). But now it seems the CFL bulbs don't last 9.4 years -- more like 6.3. They don't work well when they're cold. They're very expensive. They cast a garish light. And if they break, you have to don a Hazmat suit to dispose of them. Meanwhile, LED lights are coming on fast, making the whole CFL thing seem as fresh as pet rocks.

In other words, environmentalists may not know what they're talking about. In any case, something as intimate and critical as the cleanliness of our dishes ought not to be decided through stealth or back-room deals. Arise! A cascade of complaints -- to the companies and to governments -- is our best hope


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: dishes; tsp
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-89 next last

1 posted on 01/25/2011 6:42:01 AM PST by Kaslin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
"Anything we can do is good."

And we will...............

2 posted on 01/25/2011 6:45:32 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

A quarter teaspoon of TSP (trisodium phosphate), available at your hardware store, works wonders. It’s still legal to buy, for now.


3 posted on 01/25/2011 6:46:53 AM PST by poindexter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Maybe P&G can't put it in, but YOU sure as hell can!...................

4 posted on 01/25/2011 6:48:05 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
From the article:

In other words, environmentalists may DO not know what they're talking about.

Fixed for accuracy.

5 posted on 01/25/2011 6:48:05 AM PST by JRios1968 (This is me, in a nutshell: "Let me out of here...I'm trapped in a nutshell!!!!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

We noticed something similar lately as well. We just went back to hand washing. This will become a problem when kids enter the picture, but at this point, the little lady and I like to thumb our nose at the enviro-whackos and run the hot water for too long each time.

Now I just need to figure out how to re-configure the toilet flush to use hot water instead of cold. That’ll teach em!


6 posted on 01/25/2011 6:48:19 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rarestia

Disconnect the hot water line from under the sink, install a T, reconnect the sink and run the new line off the T over to the toilet.


7 posted on 01/25/2011 6:50:50 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. D.E. +12 .....( History is a process, not an event ))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

From a June 2010 USA Today Article:

States instituting the rule include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, reports the Associated Press.

...

As a result of the ban, some familiar brands such as Cascade and Colgate-Palmolive are offering dish soaps with few or no phosphates.


8 posted on 01/25/2011 6:51:03 AM PST by InterceptPoint
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Environmentalists and the libturds won’t be happy until we are forced back into a pre-industrial revolution society. But even then I would bet they’d still bitch about using wood for heat . . .


9 posted on 01/25/2011 6:52:16 AM PST by rhubarbk
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: poindexter

We started using that thanks to freepers posting about it. Yippee, the dishes are clean again. I’m going to stock up on it before it dissapears too.


10 posted on 01/25/2011 6:52:29 AM PST by Varda
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: poindexter
I have TSP but read the warnings and I didn't use it. So it is safe?
11 posted on 01/25/2011 6:55:19 AM PST by ladyvet ( I would rather have Incitatus then the asses that are in congress today.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: rarestia

LOL, Let me know when you figure it out, I’ll join you.


12 posted on 01/25/2011 6:55:44 AM PST by Individual Rights in NJ (Infidel Inside)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: poindexter

I came across an article similar to this last time I was at my parents’ and brought some TSP home with me to try. The article included accounts of people having repairmen come out to fix their “broken” machines.

Adding a little bit of that stuff does work. I thought my dishes and flatware were looking grungy due to age but they’re shiny and happy now.


13 posted on 01/25/2011 6:59:25 AM PST by Nickname
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: bert

My toilet is on a different side of my bathroom from the sink. However, that gives me an idea for my shower. Thanks, Bert!


14 posted on 01/25/2011 6:59:31 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

we buy TSP from lowes and dishwasher soap from the “dollar” stores and do a “mix”.. it works.. and will until the E nuts catch on.. TSP is powder or liquid... takes a bit to get the “mix” right...
thanks for your info and keep the faith..


15 posted on 01/25/2011 7:00:04 AM PST by rusureitflies? (OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD! There, I said it. Prove me wrong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Individual Rights in NJ

At least the wife won’t be complaining about peeing on the seat! I can just say, “Well honey, how do you know it’s not hot water splashing up from the flush?”


16 posted on 01/25/2011 7:00:20 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: rarestia; bert

Bert in #7 answered your question but it made me think of a place I used to work. The bathroom was on an outside wall so it was hooked up to the hot water line instead of the cold. Let me tell you, if someone was running hot water some where else you would sweat your little tushie off when you sat down. Quite shocking the first time.


17 posted on 01/25/2011 7:00:28 AM PST by momto6
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: poindexter
You might check the fine print - My local ACE hardware store only sells TSP that is ‘Phosphate free’ (this is NOT a joke!)
18 posted on 01/25/2011 7:02:33 AM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ladyvet

I don’t even use 1/4 tsp. and it helps. I just dab the tip of a wet spoon that’s going into the washer in it and let it run with that.


19 posted on 01/25/2011 7:02:57 AM PST by Nickname
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: InterceptPoint

I haven’t noticed a problem with my dishes but then Texas is not on your list. I’ll go check my dishwasher soap.


20 posted on 01/25/2011 7:06:19 AM PST by Ditter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: rarestia

Note: We were forced to introduce low volume flush toilets two years ago but the powers that be didn’t increase the slope of the main piping system. The flushing action has been acceptable but not great.

For the last year I have been pouring 5 gallons of boiling water down the drain every week followed 10 minutes later by 4 or 5 flushes. That seemed to clean out any deposits that the low flow rate didn’t carry away.


21 posted on 01/25/2011 7:08:53 AM PST by WellyP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Nickname
Thanks, I'll give it a try. I also thought it was my dishwasher or the kids weren’t rinsing their plates.
22 posted on 01/25/2011 7:12:04 AM PST by ladyvet ( I would rather have Incitatus then the asses that are in congress today.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

A teaspoon of lime juice will cut the old deposits that have built up. 1/2 tsp after will keep everything clean.


23 posted on 01/25/2011 7:15:36 AM PST by TarponTom (They called it golf because all the other four letter words were used)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
We solved our isshy glassware issue with:
Finish Glass Magic (we buy it at our Ace Hardware store). It's - (get ready to have your mind blown eco-freaks) 20% phosphates!

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Finish-Glass-Dishwasher-Performance-Booster/dp/B000UCI09G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295967813&sr=8-1

We use the following mixture:
1 lb. Finish Glass Magic mixed with 1 1/2 lb. Cascade Complete. Mix well.

To use:
We add 1oz. of mix to detergent compartment plus we add 1/2oz. of Finish Glass Magic to the tub.

Works great.

BTW: Phosphates are ONLY outlawed in HOME products - Cascade makes a terrific COMMERCIAL product that has phosphates. Alas, we cannot purchase it locally, shipping is expensive.

We ARE very happy with our solution.

24 posted on 01/25/2011 7:15:36 AM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Leo Farnsworth

So they sell you ‘phosphate’ with no phosphate in it??

Unbelievable..


25 posted on 01/25/2011 7:18:21 AM PST by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2
Yes. Exactly.

I asked one of the Ace employees I trust about TSP without phosphate, he replied: ‘Oh, your WANT phosphate. TSP doesn't have any, but I think I can order some for you.’

Current TSP concoctions use acid to replace the phosphate.

26 posted on 01/25/2011 7:25:34 AM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Sam’s Club sells a no-name brand (in a green bottle) that has the normal level of phosphates in it.

Or at least it doesn’t say that it is phosphate-free and when I switched from Cascade to this no-name brand my dishes were clean again. Night and day difference.


27 posted on 01/25/2011 7:27:51 AM PST by kidd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Just use paper products or plasticware and throw everything away.

That will solve the dishwasher problem (but probably not what enviromentalists envisioned).


28 posted on 01/25/2011 7:28:54 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (There's a strange odor coming from the White House. Smells like BO.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
environmentalists may not know what they're talking about.

More like DO NOT know what they're talking about!

29 posted on 01/25/2011 7:35:17 AM PST by kcvl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kidd

I remember also when washing detergent contained phosphates and your whites got whiter and the entire laundry cleaner. Things changed and now you have to add other products to get them clean and bright


30 posted on 01/25/2011 7:35:35 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
Believe it or not, environmental agency guidelines require use of phosphate-containing soap when cleaning laboratory glassware and water quality sampling equipment. This is the product most commonly used:


31 posted on 01/25/2011 7:36:13 AM PST by CedarDave (What is DADT? Obama's response when inquiries are made about his birth certificate.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

From someone I know who is working on a PhD in biology in the fauna of the Cheaspeake Bay waters, I got to say that non point source phosphate pollution in that watershed is now the number one pollutant in the region, right behind it is the point source phosphate from agriculture...

Between suburban lawn fertilizer and phosphates from the prior concoction of dishwater detergent, it was killing huge swathes of the Cheasapeake Bay.

Took scientists over 20 years of research to come to widely tested and accepted conclusions about phosphate and nitrogen levels in the Bay.

To the point, if you like to eat seafood caught off American shores, the easiest way for average Americans to maintain water quality in the tributaries and nurseries for seafood is to avoid phosphates in the kitchen and the yard.

I’ve switched over to colored glass in the kitchen, if you can’t see the spots it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of food and beverage.

Regards,


32 posted on 01/25/2011 7:36:18 AM PST by JerseyHighlander (p.s. The word 'bloggers' is not in the freerepublic spellcheck dictionary?!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
In other words, environmentalists may not know what they're talking about.

Oh, I think they know what they are talking about. They're just hoping WE don't know what they are talking about.

33 posted on 01/25/2011 7:37:19 AM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: poindexter

I noticed the film and grubby dishes too. And the 1/4tsp. of TSP makes a world of difference.

We’re scrapers here because we have a septic tank, so they’re not excessively dirty when we put them in the dishwasher. There was no excuse for how lousy job the reformulated stuff was doing other than for the absence of TSP.

So I put it back in.


34 posted on 01/25/2011 7:37:47 AM PST by Kieri (The Conservatrarian)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Leo Farnsworth

Interesting;

I used FINISH the last few weeks and just threw out half the box. I honestly assessed it at the worst cleaner I’ve ever seen attempt to clean!

The packet didn’t dissolve and they didn’t make anything clean at all.

I’ve gone back to the Cascade packets and they don’t work like they used to so now I’ll be adding in the phosphate from the hardware store.


35 posted on 01/25/2011 7:39:21 AM PST by Individual Rights in NJ (Infidel Inside)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: rarestia
Now I just need to figure out how to re-configure the toilet flush to use hot water instead of cold.

You DON'T want to do that. Trust me.

My husband accidentally plumbed our toilet that way once. The hot water will eventually melt the wax ring and...I'll be honest...the "steam effect" makes an extended stay on the toilet a very fragrant experience. And it makes your butt sweat.

36 posted on 01/25/2011 7:40:33 AM PST by Kieri (The Conservatrarian)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

That’s freakin’ crazy, I’ve been dealing with the same thing, and our glass have a white film all over them, they look terrible, anybody else notice this?


37 posted on 01/25/2011 7:42:01 AM PST by Scythian
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Added TSP as a keyword.

I bought some for Mrs R2 in December after reading up on it.

Advice: BE VERY CAREFUL HOW YOU USE IT. 1/4 teaspoon is all you need. But use it.


38 posted on 01/25/2011 7:48:15 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (Yes, as a matter of fact, what you do in your bedroom IS my business.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Wow. The first useful thing that Mona Charen has written in quite a while! The fact that it’s merely about detergent should not detract from its contribution, however minute.


39 posted on 01/25/2011 7:50:45 AM PST by SC_Pete
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kieri

Oh God! I didn’t even think of that.


40 posted on 01/25/2011 7:51:07 AM PST by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Leo Farnsworth

You can still get the real stuff at Lowes or HD, last I checked.


41 posted on 01/25/2011 7:54:07 AM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
You can still buy the real stuff on-line. It is used by commercial institutions and restaurants. It does have phosphate.

Cascade with phosphate here

42 posted on 01/25/2011 8:03:57 AM PST by Blennos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

Some people claim you can buy the phosphates and add them back in—I haven’t tried that yet. However, there IS a product you can add that will make the dishes come out as clean as they used to in the good old days. Lemi-Shine is a powder that someone suggested on one of the blogs discussing this. Put regular detergent in one side of the little detergent dispenser, and this Lemi Shine powder in the other. Works like a dream.


43 posted on 01/25/2011 8:22:54 AM PST by MizSterious ("Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -JFK)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: JerseyHighlander
I’ve switched over to colored glass in the kitchen, if you can’t see the spots it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of food and beverage.

I will do my part by not fertilizing my lawn. Keep your damn regulations out of my dishwasher.
44 posted on 01/25/2011 8:24:53 AM PST by TalonDJ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: JerseyHighlander
While you correctly note that non-point sources are the number one source of phosphate in the Bay, I think you have it backwards regarding which source that dishwasher detergent falls into.

Point sources include those sources that have known and permitted phosphate discharges. These include industrial sources and waste water treatment plants. Urban area water is generally sourced to water treatment plants, thus nearly all dishwasher phosphates would be a point source (not a non-point source).

Non-point sources are from runoff. Non-point sources include agriculture, erosion, wildlife poo, etc.

(see http://www.water-research.net/phosphate.htm)

45 posted on 01/25/2011 8:28:35 AM PST by kidd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin
I think Charen is overwrought here. Maybe she senses that her annoyance over her less-than-sparkling dishes is a bit silly, in the overall scheme of things. So she overcompensates by trying to be arch.

Otoh my annoyance with her could stem from her being one of the most shrill, anti-Palin snobs in so-called conservative circles.

Well at least she admits that phosphates entering the groundwater can be a problem in promoting algae bloom. This is certainly true in my area, where our lakes and streams are fairly shallow and placid. We used to enjoy swimming in our beautiful ponds; now it is disgusting to even try to wade in them. And the algae kills off our fish.

I am as right-wing as you can get (and unlike Charen, I love Sarah Palin). But there is a role for government in protecting our waters.

Obviously it is preferable to conservatives, like me, that regulations be passed legislatively, and after plenty of opportunity for public input and debate -- not by faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats who think they know best.

But Charen doesn't say how these state laws were passed, as far as I could see in this article.

46 posted on 01/25/2011 8:29:29 AM PST by shhrubbery!
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kaslin

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/search?s=dishes&ok=Search&q=quick&m=any&o=time&SX=4d3efc56242fef645c125ffc98b168680bb0437f


47 posted on 01/25/2011 8:34:03 AM PST by SeeSac
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Individual Rights in NJ
OOPS! You did not check out the link.

Finish makes lots of products - including the ‘packs’ you used. I used to use those packs as well, but without phosphates they are junk.

Check out the link, make the concoction and your dishes and glasses will shine!

48 posted on 01/25/2011 8:34:47 AM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: steve86
Not in 17 states, such as Montana where I live.

It's illegal to sell.

49 posted on 01/25/2011 8:35:22 AM PST by Leo Farnsworth (I'm not really Leo Farnsworth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: poindexter
A quarter teaspoon of TSP (trisodium phosphate), available at your hardware store, works wonders.

Do I just toss it in the soap dispenser with the soap? The first one or the second? Or does it matter?

50 posted on 01/25/2011 8:37:58 AM PST by nina0113
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-89 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson