Skip to comments.Environmentalists: Hands Off My Dishes!
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
Read the fine print on your package.
self ping for TSP & dishwasher
"We have used Cascade dishwashing powders for over 25 years in fact it is basically the only detergent we have ever used. Proctor and Gamble changed their tried and true formula to "phosphate free" and it is now USELESS and destructive to use!
The last two boxes we purchased are WORTHLESS and now CASCADE POWDER is the WORST PRODUCT WE HAVE EVER USED. It has RUINED SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WERE IN OUR DISHWASHER and coated ALL of our dishes, glasses, cups, silverware, aluminum cookware and non stick pans with a dingy, grimy white film! OUR DISHES NOW COME OUT DIRTIER THAN IF WE HAD NOT USED CASCADE AT ALL! In all of the years we have been using CASCADE we have NEVER had problems until now. My rinse aid is full. At first we thought our dishwasher was broken. I cannot continue to buy this product as it has ruined my dishes.
Proctor and Gamble's excuse for changing the formula was that they are required to be phosphate free by "state and local" laws. Be that as it may they should have created a product that WORKS before releasing it to the public!
I called to complain and P&G admitted that NOW their CASCADE powder DOES NOT WORK if you do not have perfect soft water! In order to clean my dishes I was told that I need to use their Cascade gell or their Cascade Complete! Consumers should not have to pay THREE TIMES AS MUCH JUST TO GET CLEAN DISHES!
CASCADE DISHWASHING powder is supposed to CLEAN dishes, not make them dirty!
If Proctor and Gamble is no longer capable of creating a CASCADE POWDER product/formula that CLEANS dishes instead of making them dirty and destroys them then P&G should stop selling CASCADE dishWASHING products all together and get out of the market!
Come on P&G stop blaming the consumer and reformulate the product. FIX the PROBLEM OR STOP SELLING CASCADE dishDIRTYING powder to unsuspecting consumers."
Again, AVOID ALL CASCADE Powders LIKE THE PLAGUE; they do not work and to top it off, they ruin your dishes, flatware, and pots and pans! The stuff is WORTHLESS.
Probably not a good idea considering the seal is made of wax.
I read a thread on this a month or so ago, and being as California’s also (surprisingly) off the list, just went and bought another brand that doesn’t tout itself as ‘phosphate free’.....got a bit of improvement.
Thanx for sharing......seriosly, though, regarding poor drainage - go to Walmart and buy their version of Alka Selter tabs - plop, plop, fizz and you're de-funked.
Is that powdered? Our plumber told us not to use powdered, due to the fact that it often doesn’t dissolve enough and can clog your sink trap.
We used to get our sink trap plugged, and it turns out the powder wasn't fully dissolving, hence the clogs.
This explains why I can only find boxes of phosphate-free "TSP" at the local stores.
I can't refute the pollution claim, but I can refute the idea that dishwasher detergent has any significant role in the pollution of the Bay.
“Now I just need to figure out how to re-configure the toilet flush to use hot water instead of cold. Thatll teach em!”
Good idea on another level too: Cold water makes the tank drip a lot in muggy weather (no A.C.) and warm fill water would stop that cold. Uh, maybe stop it “warm”?
My county banned Scott’s Weed and Feed - best fertilizer out there...
They do that out in California all the time, when the air nazis come out with the "spare the air" snitches.
Much less than half the dish dtergent goes through water treatment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,... lots and lots of suburbs, exurbs and rural areas with septics and leech fields.
Hot water toilets are common in Alaska.
Boy was I surprised when I sat down!
I think it keeps the pipes frm freezing.
NOT ONE OF THESE PACKAGES HAD PHOSPHATES!
See my post #25 regarding my conversation with an ACE employee.
Basically it this:
Phosphates are banned in consumer goods in my state (and 16 others), as such we have ‘phosphate free’ Tri-Sodium-Phosphate (meaning it's NOT TSP, just sold as such) and it's active ingredient is an acid - yes, and acid - just depends which acid by brand..
Take a LOOK at the label of your TSP, if it's old, go the the store and read the label of a new package of the same brand, in small print it just may say ‘Phosphate Free’...
Not fast enough. Still too expensive.
I looked at my dish washer soap and I couldn’t find any place that said what was in it. I’ll check other brands next time I shop.
I just poured white vinegar into the rinse aid box, seems to have solved the film problem.
Anyone interested, use coupon code GP9CZ to receive 5% off.
It's Finish Quantum Powerball (They have some other formulas, but this one seems to work the best)
yeah, well, you answer your own question. killing huge swathes of the bay doesn’t mean it will never return, it just means it takes a long time.
bed bugs were killed in ‘huge swathes’ too, but they slowly came back when the use of certain pesticides was banned.
when huge swathes of the chesapeake die, it isn’t really obvious from the surface. it is obvious to fisherman, and to anyone who knows what the chesapeake was like before it was decimated by pollution and by exploitive fishing/oyster harvesting. it was full of life.
comparing bay ecosystem to a some of the pests that bother humans is problematic. first, you simply can’t compare the amount of industrial and human waste that goes into the ocean to the relatively small amounts of poison that we use in and around our bodies and houses to get rid of pests. it’s an order of magnitude different in scale.
the problem isn’t that some of the life in the bay will survive, or just the strong species will make it, it’s that a healthy marine ecosystem that produces a large amount of healthy sea food that we like to eat is something we want to take care of, not poison or take for granted.
oysters are a great example. we want the bay to be full of them. oysters should be fat and free from carcinogens.the oysters have completely disappeared from certain parts of the bay. even though it hasn’t been harvested in decades, they’re still gone. point is, it can take decades, centuries, or even thousands of years for certain kinds of populations of sea creatures to recover from exploitation and pollution. some never recover.
It’s water soluble, and used in small amounts compared to the volume of water in the dishwasher. It rinses right off. I use it every time, but don’t exceed 1/4 teaspoon.
“My local ACE hardware store only sells TSP that is Phosphate free”
I’ve heard of this but not seen it. Yes, you have to be sure to get the “real deal”, at least while it’s still legal!
“Do I just toss it in the soap dispenser with the soap?”
I spread 1/4 teaspoon between the prewash and regular wash compartments before I close the compartment lid.
True points, and thanks for the insight.
I’m no marine specialist of any kind, of course, but am educated enough to know your description of the issue is a correct one.
I just feel we all have to be extremely careful when saying something we do that isn’t blatant is having “unintended consequences of large proportions.”
For example as some other posters stated, I’m sure there is some huge farm or another source of the issues that is government OK’d that is the true cause, not our home washing water... on that note, why isn’t that drainage water from our houses treated anyway? Can’t they distill it all or some process that would separate out any non-h20 before dumping it (I know I’m likely truly showing my ignorance now!).
Yes, it is powdered. I have been using Cascade powder for many years and never have had a problem.
You are welcome. I have used Restockit.com several times and have been quite pleased with their service.
Thanks to whoever suggested added TSP also. I'm going to stock up on a few boxes of that, just in case.
I see a big black market developing in this stuff. Someone on eBay is selling it by the case of 24 for around $75.00. For someone my age, who only uses the dishwasher once a week, that's a lifetime supply! With probably some left over for my kids to inherit.
My cascade w/phosphates arrived this morning! Talk about lightning fast and the delivery was free. I expected that it would take forever. Holy cow!
I’d be willing to bet THE major source of phosphate pollution (by far) in the bay is NOT household diswashers or washers, but rather farm fertilizer—which, I bet is not (effectively) regulated.
Well I’m bringing up this old thread from Jan 25 and it was very helpful to me. Thanks.
I’ve bought TSP and my dishes are sparkling.
Now while shopping for cereal, I notice that berry berry KIX lists Trisodium Phosphate as one of their ingrediants.
I just don’t get it. TSP isn’t safe for dishes and to go down the drain but you can add it to cereal and heaven knows what else?
A friend’s apartment was accidentally plumbed that way. The first couple of flushes were uneventful, but if there were several people over enjoying adult beverages, it would start steaming.