Dishwashers have got to be one of the greatest inventions of modern times. Seriously, I don’t know how we ever got by without them.
I love my dishwasher – especially the shiny, stainless steel interior.
Every time I empty my dishwasher, it looks like this.
Here is the arsenal I use to achieve this clean, shiny interior:
It’s a simple formula: Ecover dishwasher tablets (I’ve tried plenty of eco-friendly detergents and this is the best), plain white vinegar as the “rinse aid” and a dish rag to dry the door after each load gets emptied.
I’ve been using this formula for years, with no chemical build up and no scrubbing or special cleaning of the inside of my dishwasher – ever.
Not quite a year ago, we moved from our old home and rented it to some tenants – leaving behind an even better dishwasher than the one I have now. Man, I loved that thing. It is ultra-quiet, cleans like a champ, and was always clean and shiny inside and out.
So imagine my surprise when those tenants moved out and I opened up the dishwasher to find this:
I think I found the culprit. Looks like a major brand of dishwashing detergent (think the biggest household name) – the kind with little blue specks in it.
While major brands of dishwasher detergent have recently been forced (for environment reasons) to remove phosphates from their formulas, they still contain a boatload of chemicals listed as “fragrance”, “surfactants” and “cleaning agents” – chemicals that build up on surfaces of your dishwasher. In fact, Cascade and most major brands do not even list their ingredients on the box.
If your dishwashing detergent is leaving this kind of residue on your dishwasher, imagine what it leaves on your family’s plates, cups and utensils.
Despite all of these chemicals, the new formulas without the phosphates are struggling to get the right formula to get dishes clean, particularly in areas with hard water.
What I love about my greener dishwashing products is not only is the Ecover brand phosphate free (always has been – I think they have the “formula” down), it’s also biodegradable. And Ecover, unlike Cascade and almost every other major brand, actually lists all their ingredients on the box. On top of that, it really works.
The white vinegar is not only a fraction of the cost of traditional rinse aid, but it also acts as a water softener, improving the effectiveness of the detergent – naturally.
After scrubbing the inside of the door with Howard Naturals stainless steel cleaner, I ran two cycles of the washer with no dishes in it, just a large bowl of white vinegar in the bottom section. After that, I was able to get the dishwasher to look like this:
Back to it’s former glory. Just in time for the new tenants to move in. Let’s hope it fares better this time.