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Slimy Dishes

December 3, 2009

Have you ever noticed that when you run your dishwasher, the entire kitchen smells like a giant swimming pool?  I used to love that smell because of the fact that it reminded me of summer and sunshine.  Recently, I got to thinking that if my kitchen smells like a swimming pool, then that means it smells like lots of chemicals.  That made me think, ew!  Those are dishes that I’m going to put my food on and eat off of.  I’m going to put the silverware and glasses in my mouth, and I have just covered them in who knows how many toxic chemicals. 

I also have always disliked the fact that dishwasher detergents leave a residue.  If you haven’t noticed, try it sometime.  When your dishes are still wet, pick one up.  I bet you it is slimy.  I learned this because I always rinse my glasses before I use them, and when I do so, I can feel the residue rinse off.  I started to wonder if I’m the only person who ever noticed this, so I did some research.  It seems that people go through a lot of trouble to get their dishes clean.  In a blog that I was reading, I found that one person washes all of her glasses in CLR before she puts them in the dishwasher.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of using the dishwasher if you have to hand-wash them first?  Another person I read about took apart their entire dishwasher!  Other remedies were including some vinegar in the dishwasher and using less soap.  What a hassle!

I’ve also heard that dishwasher detergent is one of the most toxic common household products. The EPA provides a website for kids, and on their site, they explain that dishwasher detergent has been found to irritate the skin or even cause burns.  Am I the only person that finds it kind of backwards that we are washing our eating utensils with chemicals that are so strong they can burn the skin?  It’s obvious that all of the residue doesn’t get washed off, so we are pretty much eating at least some of those chemicals.  I know that it’s probably not that much because we don’t hear about people dying from dishwasher detergent poisoning, but it really worries me because after a while, wouldn’t the exposure build up?

With my recent conversion to non-toxic products, I’ve found a dishwasher detergent that has eased all of my concerns.  When the dishwasher is running, my kitchen is filled with the scent of lemons.  I fill the detergent receptical about a third to half way full, and  I don’t put anything in the prewash area.  I’ve been using my current bottle of detergent since the end of August, and it is only about halfway gone.  My dishes no longer have a slimy film on them; I don’t have to wash my glasses before using them, and all of my dishes are still sparkling clean.

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