Saving The Environment Might Mean Going White
This year 16 states banned high levels of phosphates in household cleaners. Most of us likely never noticed the difference, except in our dishwashers. Many people started noticing a thick chalky substance on silverware, glasses, and even plastic containers. This meant an uptick in appliance repair service calls, complaints to municipal water suppliers, and even purchases of new dishwashers – when it was all just the dishwasher detergent.
Historically, phosphates have been used in dishwasher detergent to counteract hard water minerals. When this compound is removed, calcium, magnesium, and manganese are allowed to stick to the surface of the dishes. Unfortunately, however, phosphates are problematic to the environment, acting like a fertilizer that spurs algae and aquatic weed growth. That algae depletes the water of oxygen, making it impossible for fish and other aquatic animals to survive. In some places, public beaches have even been closed because of the “green slime”.
So, what can you do? Well, like some folks, you could try to buy the old “contraband” detergent online, but we don’t think that’s a good solution. Others have found that using 20 Mule Team Borax or vinegar in the dishwasher reduces spotting. If you’re using powder detergent, you might try switching to gel or tablets. Another satisfactory solution is to invest in a water softener for your home or business. This appliance will remove the hard water minerals before they reach your dishwasher – or your shower doors, or faucets, or any other surface! Additionally, the soft water will make all your cleaners more effective and allow you to use smaller amounts of them.
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