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W221 & Audio Moderator
2013 S550
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
No, this isn't a commercial or SPAM. It isn't a discussion on the pros and cons of the EPA, big government, or environmentalism. It's a solution to a nagging problem that has cropped up in the past 6 months or so.

Those of you who have hard water may have noticed that your dishes just don't come clean in the dishwasher any more. White film builds up on glassware and plastic. The dishwasher interior gets filmy, requiring frequent cleanings; the plastic part of the tub is filmy, as is the stainless steel portion, which is also streaky. My highly polished stainless steel flatware is streaky, and sometimes just doesn't come clean. Dishes are streaky, and often not all the food comes off, requiring scrubbing and re-washing. It was so bad that my wife and I were looking into replacing our dishwasher.

You're probably aware that the problem is because detergent manufacturers have removed virtually all phosphate from dishwasher detergent. It is because 17 states have forbidden the use of phosphate in dishwasher detergent, since July 1, 2010. Take a look at what you have; where it used to be 8% phosphate, it is likely labeled "phosphate free." The detergent manufacturers decided it was too expensive to make two formulas, so they took it out for all of us. If you have soft water, no problem. But for the 70% of the country having hard water, big problem.

The solution - the easiest I have seen anywhere - is to add a squirt of lemon juice to your load (I used approx. 1 TBSP from a 32 oz. bottle).

The phosphate-free products I used were Finish (formerly Electrasol) Powerball tabs, or the Finish Quantum Powerball tabs. While they look similar, they are different compositions. The Finish Quantum tabs contain enzymes, which some folks may prefer. Other brands may work just as well - I'm not advocating a specific product. Those mentioned are what I had on hand. But the BIG difference comes with the lemon juice.

Dishwasher cleaners are mainly some form of citric acid. So is lemon juice. I happened to use ReaLemon from concentrate, but any brand should do. In only one load, my stainless flatware came clean, and months of streakiness is almost gone. My dishes came clean, and so did the glassware (I deliberately chose the worst one, a glass I was ready to throw out). My coffee pot's plastic parts are nearly free of the annoying white film. And, I was about to clean the dishwasher again, using a commercial cleaner - but its plastic and stainless tub also came clean, and the stainless tub bottom is streak-free. The citric acid in the lemon juice did its job.

Other solutions - adding a chemical called STPP (Sodium Tripolyphosphate, which is exactly the component removed from the detergent, but which is available at some commercial suppliers) works well, but keeping it on hand can be a challenge - and you won't want to keep it where small children might ingest it. Using bleach ruins some cooking utensils, especially aluminum. Some folks report success adding vinegar to the load - I haven't tried it, but vinegar is also acidic, and may work as well as lemon juice. And while the old phosphate formulas are available in 50-lb bags from restaurant supply houses (restaurants can still use phosphate), the stuff goes bad after a year; the chemicals deteriorate, and you get the streaks and a lot of sand in your dishwasher.

Washing fine china having metallic decoration applied over the glaze is never a good idea for the dishwasher. I would especially avoid this using an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. But everyday stuff should do just fine.

And I can report that adding lemon juice works great!
 

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worst mod in BW history
ML CLK Iridescent Hyundai Accent lol,GoPed Freightshaker & Volvo semi's, c'mawn?
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Damn dude, you're right. I was poised to yank out our Maytag that has served us perfectly and silently for 10 years. We do 90% sink washing because unlike you, we are not lazy and nothing promotes clean fingernails like getting in there with the Chore-Boy.

Just stirring shit up with the lazy comment, bud.

I've used STPP to strip glossy walls (and several layers of my epidermis) prior to painting. But, as a former paint chip nibbler, I'm all in favor of bidding a long awaited farewell to the Dows, DuPonts and Eastmans.
 

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'99 ML430, '12 Silverado
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Damn, you guys have just solved a mystery for me. Even though we soften our extremely hard water, all of a sudden, towards the end of last summer, our dishes started coming out of our (very expensive high end Bosch) dishwasher with a white film on them. My first thought was that the detergent was reacting with an old aluminum pizza pan and causing the deposits, so I stopped putting the pizza pan in the dishwasher. Eventually, it happened again (probably at a time when the softener salt was running low), so I tried putting about a half cup of vinegar in the dishwasher. That kept any new film from forming, but didn't get rid of all of the old film. Evern since, even though I've been more diligent about keeping the softener filled, there is still a bit of streakiness happening from time to time. I've cautioned hubby about using too much detergent (the biggest films seem to come from the times he fills and runs the dishwasher, and I really hate to ask him NOT to do that! ;) ).

I will try lemon juice and compare the results to vinegar.
 

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worst mod in BW history
ML CLK Iridescent Hyundai Accent lol,GoPed Freightshaker & Volvo semi's, c'mawn?
Joined
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27,762 Posts
Damn, you guys have just solved a mystery for me. Even though we soften our extremely hard water, all of a sudden, towards the end of last summer, our dishes started coming out of our (very expensive high end Bosch) dishwasher with a white film on them. My first thought was that the detergent was reacting with an old aluminum pizza pan and causing the deposits, so I stopped putting the pizza pan in the dishwasher. Eventually, it happened again (probably at a time when the softener salt was running low), so I tried putting about a half cup of vinegar in the dishwasher. That kept any new film from forming, but didn't get rid of all of the old film. Evern since, even though I've been more diligent about keeping the softener filled, there is still a bit of streakiness happening from time to time. I've cautioned hubby about using too much detergent (the biggest films seem to come from the times he fills and runs the dishwasher, and I really hate to ask him NOT to do that! ;) ).

I will try lemon juice and compare the results to vinegar.
That's God throwing the hate on you.. If you were heterosexual, female fairies would float into your house and clean everything with a Dyson Ball
 

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'99 ML430, '12 Silverado
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That's God throwing the hate on you.. If you were heterosexual, female fairies would float into your house and clean everything with a Dyson Ball
Hmmmn......last time I checked, I *was* a heterosexual. I'm pretty sure that hasn't changed lately. Maybe I should go check hubby's pants again just to confirm he hasn't done something untoward while I wasn't paying attention.

Now I want to know when my fairies with their little balls are going to arrive!
 

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'81 300GD Cabrio, '78 450 SEL 6.9 Rocketship, Rover HSE
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My dishwasher is 5 months pregnant and on strike. I don't think the EPA had anything to do with my particular problem. But one can never be 100% certain.
 

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Outstanding Contributor - Always Remembered, RIP
Zotye Auto 1.5T T600 2016
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High percentage of banned posters in that thread ... I was wise to not post there :D

but srsly, tell me about deathrattle guy, is that a previous ID for dope? ?
Yes
 

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vintage
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AFAIK, all dishwashers sold in the UK (certainly all those I've bought, plus family and friends) have built-in water-softeners. All those I've had in the U.S. have not. Never understood why that is.:confused: In London the water is full of calcium and the salt container needs frequent filling - where my ex came from in Cornwall, the water is so soft that no salt is required at all.

But with reference to the OP, I imagine application of a little of many of the organic acids would do the trick - I'd go with the cheapest and least smelly. Tartaric from home wine maker suppliers??
 

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Surely A Large Human
MB Regretmobile
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I've only ever seen this problem when the Jet Dry container was empty. I certainly wouldn't advocate putting an untreated organic substance into a dishwasher if there's no assurance it won't make things worse (like not completely dissolving / building up elsewhere). Maybe you need a better detergent.
 

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'99 ML430, '12 Silverado
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It's quite likely only an issue if you have hard water. If you live in a city, you probably don't. My well water tests at 33 on the hardness scale (over 10 is considered "hard").
 
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