Skip to comments.Finally! A cure for white film on dishes (EPA caused the problem!)
Posted on 08/18/2011 5:45:07 PM PDT by TSgt
Have you noticed a white film on your dishes in recent months? As we first reported earlier this year, the reason is a new environmental law.
Most manufacturers have reformulated their dishwasher detergents after laws limiting phosphates went into effect last year.
Julie Schimpf of Ft Thomas, Kentucky showed me how bad her dishes looked. Julie said "there's this frosty, filmy look on the top and bottom and it won't go away. I'm finding the same film here on the edges of my plates."
Our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine have heard many of the same complaints, from homeowners everywhere who are finding glasses and plates coated in white film.
Jim Nanni of Consumer Reports said "some readers wrote to us, complaining about film and buildup on their dishware."
So Consumer Reports started investigating. They ran the same set of dishes 20 times with the same detergent to simulate more than a month of dishwashing.
Film built up more with some detergents. With Method Smarty Dish, which the magazine said otherwise is a very good cleaner, the glassware turned milky white after 20 washes. The dishes washed in Whole Foods' "365" also developed a milky coating.
Top Performing Detergent
After hundreds of washes, the magazine found one detergent that it says can prevent the problem.
It's Cascade Complete All-in-1 ActionPacs, from Cincinnati's Procter and Gamble. The packets -- not the powder version--- topped Consumer Reports' cleaning tests. Even with very hard water, the Cascade Pacs did not leave a white residue behind.
Some other cures, reported by homeowners nationwide: Add a tiny amount of white vinegar to the wash, or buy a product called Lemi Shine, sold at Walmart and Target, that you add to the load to reduce hard water stains.
Either of those, however, take a bit more effort. As always, don't waste your money.
Go to Home Depot or Lowes or a paint store. Buy a 4 pound box of TSP. Put a teaspoon in with your powdered dish detergent.
Buy plenty. The *Green Loonies* will go bat shit crazy when they figure out you can put the phosphates back into the detergent.
I could never get the soap scum film off my bathroom shower curtain by washing. Added TSP to the load and the darn thing looks brand new.
I’ve never had a problem with the film, but I put distilled white vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser instead of the expensive rinse agents.
Why not just eliminate the department? Every state now has an EPA, so there's no need to run this unconstitutional bureau any more.
Just where in our Constitution does it say anything about dish washing liquid? When will this insanity stop?
I guess it pays to listen to my wife, this is the stuff she insists we buy, I'd go for the cheap stuff but I gotta admit, she knows what she is doing. Now I gotta go tell her about it.
I switched to Cascade with grease fighting power of Dawn action pacs.
This product doesn’t leave any film. Purchased at Walmart.
A poster recommended purchasing the commercial version of dishwashing products.
I got my wife a box of commercial Cascade from the GFS, and she immediately noticed a marked improvement.
I have also been told that the critters in our septic like phosphates!
I can’t believe it - actually I can. Thank you EPA for my dirty looking supposedly clean dishes. I have had the white film for close to a year. It gets so thick after a number of cycles that I have to scrub it off with a scotchbrite pad. I thought our dishwasher was going bad - now I know it is not.
Shut down the EPA.
I’ve been using Lemi Shine for months. It’s the only thing that cleans my dishes. But now that it’s getting all this press, I’m afraid the EPA will find a reason to ban it, too.
Is TSP a brand name or is that an abbreviation for a chemical? Also, does it get rid of the soap scum in a shower?
I use that, too, but add Lemi Shine. The cascade product does NOT get the dishes as clean as I like them.
i used cascade for years, then all of a sudden i got this white film, changed to finish and the dishes sparkle...don’t know what the difference is, but there is a big one
Sodium Hexametaphosphate solves that problem
By the way, this problem affects your laundry detergents as well as dishwasher detergents. Much of it is now worthless for cleaning thanks to this stupid and completely unnecessary law. America is dirtier and less happy as a result.
Thanks, Right Wing Assault! I will definitely get some and give it a try!
I wonder why TSP is in the paint dept?
Tri Sodium Phosphate TSP
The dishwasher was actually ruining my dishes. The finish was actually washing off of them. I stopped using the dishwasher. Doing dishes by hand with antibacteria dish washing liquid like Dawn. The dishwasher, after setting without use” will no longer operate. No loss.
TSP (TriSodiumPhosphate) is NOT the correct additive. It forms a precipitate ... basically dust in the water.
The correct additive is STPP (Sodium TriPolyPhosphate), which does not form a precipitate.
TSP could prematurely wear parts in your dishwasher.
It’s easy to get confused ... STPP ... TSP.
TSP is used in third world countries because of cost not superior results vs STTP.
Hold on Pardner. Remember how automatic dishwashing detergent powder boxes have a disclaimer “use within 3 months” or somesuch? Phosphates (same as TSP does) breakdown over time, or at least exposure to air. TSP and STPP works great for dishes and laundry, don’t get me wrong, though laying in a 25 pound bag might be a waste of money. Somebody smarter than me needs to figure out whether the stuff breaks down chemically or is unstable, or simply from being exposed to atmosphere.
Thank you, woofer2425! I am going to Home Depot next week to pick up some items and just added it to my list. (no one likes dirty dishes or soap scum!)
Trisodium phospate (TSP) and I don't know about the soap scum in the shower. TSP is for putting in the detergent, not as a scum remover so I doubt it.
Unfortunately the last time I was at Home Defect, the TSP was “Phosphate Free” now.
Dept. of Edu., Dept of Energy, EPA, Dept. of Funny Walks (thanks Monty Python), these are all the result of Republicans trying to buy DemocRat votes. How’s that working out for you now you bunch of knuckle dragging Neanderthals affectionately known as the elitist Republican establishment? So smart, they just plain stupid.
All well and good until you get a box of phosphate-free TSP.
Really - there is such a thing as “TSP” that contains no phosphates.
If you have a water softener, the soap scum in the shower fairly goes away completely. If not, CLR is the stuff you want. Spray down, let set for a good while, it will wipe right off. Smelly stuff, works great.
Make sure you get the real TSP - not the TSP-free TSP.
No, I’m not kidding.
The new rules don’t apply to commercial products. I bought cascade with phosphates like the good old days from restockit.com. Bought 4 large boxes that should last a year.
The EPA hasn’t banned phosphate. What they have done is to tell water treatment facilities they could no longer discharge water with a phosphate concentration over a certain level. Phosphate bans have come from states who are unwilling or inable to modify their treatment facilities to meet the federal disharge standards. High phosphate concentrations and the eutrophication that is a result are very damaging to water quality (for human and agriclultural use) and to fresh and salt water fisheries.
A teaspoon of TSP per dish load will take care of that problem.
I think it's meant to be used for cleaning paint off concrete floors, etc. I got mine at Lowe's.
If you have a paint brush that is rock solid with paint, you can put it in a container of very hot TSP/water solution and it will soften the paint and let you scrape a lot of it off. Several treatments can rescue a good brush.
It’s also good for washing stuff before you paint, but you have to make sure you wipe off any scum left behind.
They’re also the reason that Consumer Reports doesn’t bother with top-loading washing machines any more: the swatches they wash come out as dirty as they go in. Thanks to regulations, washing machines don’t actually clean anything.
LOL. I've seen it. We have become such an Orwellian society.
NO!!! Do NOT use "Lemi Shine!
It's great for glassware, but if you have anything with a ceramic print, it will RUIN it! It says so right on the label, and they aren't kidding! I had coffee cups with pictures and logos on them, and now they are all plain white after only one wash with that vile substance!!!
I found a better solution, undoubtedly already referred to in this thread: Get some TSP (the real stuff, not a substitute!) from the paint department at the hardware store and add a half-teaspoon to the soap. It will replace the phosphates they took out of the detergent. Buy pounds of the stuff before they outlaw it. Don't bother looking for it at Lowes or Wal-Mart.
Tri Sodium PHOSPHATE. That’s what TSP means.
Oh, THANK YOU!!! I had stopped even using my dishwasher and started handwashing again!
I have no clue how long the stuff remains potent and viable. I bought a 4 pound box for $10 and store it in a 1/2 gallon Ball canning jar. Which is how I store most stuff like that.
I just got it from Lowes.
I use vinegar, too. A couple of bucks for a big gallon, keeps the dishwasher gunk-free and the dishes sparkle.
Probably, but I'd talk to someone more knowledgeable about chemicals before I used it that way. It's pretty potent stuff. Used for cleaning siding and decks before painting.
I have been pretty satisfied with one of the soap scum bathroom sprays like Tilex. Clorox makes a pretty good one called Green Works which actually does a very good job on soap scum and is pretty benign, doesn't fry your lungs. You just need to use it on a reasonably regular basis. I have fiberglass showers and tubs, it works well on them.
I got mine at Home Depot, paint department (you have to know to go t the paint department!). It is hygroscopic, meaning it will suck water out of the air and ruin it, so I have mine sealed in big ziplock bags with Silica Gel.
I just got it online from Lowes.
Generic detergent plus vinegar and our dishes are fine, and at a fraction of the cost of the expensive stuff with or without phosphates. We also use vinegar in the washing machine instead of fabric softener. It doesn’t gunk anything up (actually keeps things running more smoothly), it’s cheaper than softener, and it helps with static cling.
Yep..TSP will do the trick.I have about 8 lbs of it. That will last me a lifetime. It replaces the phosphate that Uncle Sam is making manufacturers remove from cleaning products.
Yep. I just discovered that a month or two back - what a difference! Be careful, though - there’s a “green” TSP that is worthless.
“...laundry detergents as well as dishwasher detergents. Much of it is now worthless”
I dunno. Selling detergent that doesn’t wash is about as good as it gets...right up there with being paid not to farm by the Dept of Agriculture...being forced to buy health “insurance” that provides scrap for benefits...The Feds and the corporatists about have us all over a barrel.