You may have noticed in the past few months that your dishes just aren’t getting that clean anymore. They often come out of a fresh cycle covered in a white reside or little black flecks. And it’s happened enough for you to think there’s something wrong with your dishwasher, maybe you’ve even considered replacing it. Well here’s the good news- unless you’re sporting an ancient dishwasher, there’s nothing wrong with it. So what’s causing this mess? Your dishsoap.
Most dishwashing detergents contain phosphates, an element which significantly aids in the cleaning of grime and grit off your dishes. However, recent environmental studies show that such phosphates have proven harmful to our natural habitats. Phosphates promote the grown of algae and various aquatic weeds in bodies of water. Too much algea residence can significantly reduce the oxygen levels required for a healthy aquatic ecosystem.
Given this finding, sixteen U.S. states put out a mandate in mid 2010 which required detergent manufacturers to reduce phosphate contents to 0.5% or less. Since most of these manufacturers distribute their products nation wide, it’s cheaper for them to adjust their formula across the board. This means that even though Texas has yet to mandate this new phosphate law, many of the detergents we buy have already complied.
The absense of these phosphates are what’s causing the left over residue from your dishwasher cycle to stick on your dishes. So what can you do?
Some detergent manufacturers are adapting to this problem by utilizing enzymes in their new formulas. While this has incurred some costs and increased the price of dishwasher soap, it does reduce the amount of grime left on your dishes. We recommend using Finish Quantum Tabs, which perfected their enzyme based formula early on.
Using a citric acid based cleaner can also help fix the residue problem. Try Finish Jet Dry, which breaks down mineral build-up and remove it from your dishwasher.
If there’s another dishwasher soap you’ve found helpful, we’d love to hear about it!