It Works, it Really Works!

16 01 2012

As part of this blog, I want to tell you  occasionally about things I have found that I like, that actually work, etc…. Today is the scintillating subject of…dishwashing detergent!

When we moved into our new house 20 months ago I bought a new box of name brand dishwashing detergent, the same kind we had used for years with success. I ran the first load of dishes and then started to unload the dishwasher but, yuk…the dishes were disgusting! They were coated with a white gunk that was just awful! Believe me, this was not water spots, this was “let’s make a big batch of dirty water, spray it on some dishes, and then dry then and see what happens!”

My Hubby got on the internet and confirmed what we already knew: out water is about as “hard” as it gets, full of dissolved minerals. We were living life on the far edge of what dishwashing detergents can deal with. But we were living that life at out old house, too. We assumed something was wrong with the dishwasher but both of us were working full-time and we just couldn’t fit a repairman visit into our life. Thus began the six months we hand washed all of our dishes. Not a period of time my daughters relished.

So, as we all grumbled and washed, I wandered into Starbucks one day to get a treat and, as always, I pursued th headlines of the newspapers in the newspaper rack to pass the time while waiting. Low and behold, on the front page of the New York Times was an article about the abject failure of the new formula of my old pal name brand dish washing detergent. I rushed home and pulled up the article on-line. Apparently, in response to a large number of states banning  phosphates from various products including dishwashing detergents, name brand had changed their formula. Unfortunately, phosphates actually help get things clean. Also unfortunately, phosphates are harmful to things that live in water. According to the article, people across the nation were complaining about the new formula of the name brand. I had inadvertently purchased a box of it as we moved into the new house.

I pursued the comments people made on the article and, other than snorting at the people chastising the rest of us for getting upset about a few water spots (they must live without hard water. It wasn’t water spots folks, it was muck!)   I carefully took note of the three types of dishwashing detergent people mentioned the most as working well in the new, phosphate free world we were living in. One type was from Whole Foods. While I live in an area populated cheek to jowl with millions of people, we are apparently poor country hicks who wouldn’t know what to do in a Whole Foods store if they built one, so that was out. I am not traveling to the beach just to get dishwashing detergent.

The second type was available to us though mail order only. Again, the planning ahead that required was just a little too much for me. The third kind was available at Trader Joe’s. That I could do! Still a little out of my way but certainly would not require me to travel to another county.

I bought a box of Trader Joe’s brand of dishwashing detergent and brought it home. It took a day or two to fill the dishwasher and then, with a heavy heart and bated breath, I filled the cups with detergent and started the dishwasher right before bed. The next day, with Hubby there for support, I pulled a glass out and…pretty good! Some water spots, yes, but no muck! The dishes actually appeared to be CLEAN!

The box of name brand was chucked and we haven’t looked back. I have a back up box of my local store brand but I have to tell you, nothing worked as well in the mineral filled water we have here in So Cal as the Trader Joe’s brand. The other two brands probably work well also, but as I said they were too hard to get my hands on. Thanks Trader Joe’s!

If you would like to see the NY Times article, here is the link:




4 responses

5 10 2012
morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

Hmmm; could this be my problem too? Lately the dishwasher is leaving a gummy finish on the dishes. They just don’t feel clean. I called Miele tech support, and was advised to put 2 cups of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run it on the “sani-cycle.” great gobs of silt-like matter came out. But I’ll try the different detergent too.

6 10 2012
Woman in the Middle

I also use the rinse aid you put in the little dispenser in the dishwasher. Between the Trader Joe’s dishwashing detergent and the rinse aid I can actually use my dishwasher again. Hand washing everything for 6 months was not fun! But if you live where the water isn’t very hard maybe the vinegar rinse will fix your problem. Our water is so hard we practially drink boulders!

1 10 2012

Thank you for the very helpful info. I’ll pass this on to my daughter. She does have a Whole Foods near her in Orlando. Not sure about Trader Joe’s.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

1 10 2012
Woman in the Middle

Thank you for the return visit! I am interested in how well the Whole Foods brand works. I just went to Trader Joe’s and bought three boxes of dishwashing detergent. The word must be spreading because they used to only have three boxes on the shelf at a time. This time they must have had ten!

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