Sunday, February 5, 2012

use vinegar for spotted dishes

Over the last few months, nearly everyone with a dishwasher has noticed that their dishes and glassware have been coming out more spotted and cloudy than before. The cause for this problem was recently discovered. On July 1st, 2010, all dishwasher detergent manufacturers voluntarily eliminated phosphates from their products in response to 16 states in the United States banning phosphates from dishwasher detergents. Phosphates helped the cleaning process but were banned due to their negative effect on the environment. One of the ways the phosphates helped was to eliminate or reduce lime scale inside a dishwasher in hard water areas.

What is hard water? Hard water refers to the natural mineral content in water, comprised mostly of calcium, with some iron and manganese. Hardness is commonly measured in grains per gallon (gpg). Most detergent manufacturers say that any water with hardness greater than 10.5 gpg is considered very hard. In the City of Fort Scott our water has an average hardness of 12 gpg. Under typical conditions, the majority of these minerals will stay in solution. However, in the high heat of a dishwasher, boiling pot, coffee pot, etc. the minerals tend to come out of solution and deposit onto surfaces. The minerals are simply left behind as the water is evaporated. This is commonly called lime scale or hard water scale. This inconvenience is now more pronounced on our dishes because of the elimination of phosphates in the dishwasher detergents. The phosphates helps keep the minerals ‘bound up,’ or in solution, so that they are not easily deposited on dishes.

What can be done to help prevent this from occurring? It's easy and cheap... add 1 cup of Distilled White Vinegar to your rinse cycle and turn off the heat cycle of your dishwasher!!