Puke green

Green products, even if they cost a smidgen more, can be justified, provided they at least meet the baseline standards for the genre. Most of the time, they succeed. Sometimes they miss by a little:

[“Green” brand name is] not, however, getting the contract for trash bags: in two successive boxes, the little plastic welds, which are supposed to keep the drawstrings in place, didn’t.

And sometimes the fail is epic:

I’ve been rerunning my dishwasher loads twice since I bought this crappy soap, they just weren’t coming out clean after one cycle. This morning was the worst, my glassware was caked in grease and the plates were coated in slime. I pulled the innards of the dishwasher apart and found gunked up grease clogging the screens and filters and a white crystallized stain covering the bottom of the unit around the drain. I had to scrub everything, made the husband check the lines for clogs and then I took a look at the detergent. It was phosphate free, which means it doesn’t actually clean a damn thing.

Incidentally, this is the sort of thing you’ll be getting next year in Washington state, whether you like it or not.

The instructions for this stuff apparently have the temerity to suggest that you hand-wash the dishes before loading the machine, which I need hardly point out defeats the whole purpose of having the machine in the first place.

I don’t own a dishwasher myself; I do this particular task by hand. But it would almost be worth it to buy one just to boycott this brand.



  1. fillyjonk »

    3 June 2009 · 11:23 am

    Perhaps this is the modern version of “build a better mousetrap…” – building a dishwasher that can STILL wash dishes even with crappy soap. I wonder if anyone’s working on that.

    I read that Oregonians (I think that was the test-case state for the phosphate-free dish detergent?) were smuggling in cases of the old-fashioned kind. Which makes me wonder: would I become what is technically a criminal just to avoid having to hand-wash dishes?

  2. CGHill »

    3 June 2009 · 11:31 am

    As I understand it, the scheme originated in two counties at opposite ends of Washington, and will go statewide next year.

  3. McGehee »

    3 June 2009 · 11:59 am

    Spokane supermarkets have been losing business to stores over the border in Idaho since their pilot program began. Pressure on Boise to comply with dictates from Olympia in 3… 2… 1…

    With a hearty “farg you” from Boise a nanosecond later, I’m trusting.

  4. David »

    3 June 2009 · 3:14 pm

    Almost everything we buy is organic and green in some way, but I never use the dishwasher. I should probably remove it and install an aquarium or indoor compost bin (joke).

  5. Lisa Paul »

    3 June 2009 · 4:31 pm

    I’ve been using phosphate-free dishwashing detergent for years without a problem. And I never bother with pre-washing.

    Maybe the issue is what’s on the plates. If you are eating slabs of greasy barbecue slathered with lard then trying to put plates with an inch thick paste of animal fats into the washer, well, I’m not sure a truck load of phosphates can cut through that.

  6. CGHill »

    3 June 2009 · 6:28 pm

    An inch-thick paste of animal fats? The cook saves that for future frying needs. :)

  7. Lisa Paul »

    3 June 2009 · 7:07 pm

    I’m just going by what the writer said were “gunked up grease” clogging everything. I’ve had my dishwasher for more than ten years and there’s no grease build up. What the hell kind o dirty plates are being put in that machine?

  8. CGHill »

    3 June 2009 · 7:23 pm

    I dunno. Last time I had a machine was when I lived in the CrappiFlats™ six years ago, and it never gave me any grief despite the fact that I didn’t scrape worth a hoot and I was, to be out front about it, stingy with the Electrasol.

    One of her commenters suggests that the powder version, as distinguished from the gel, might work better. I’ve never played with gels of this sort, so I have no anecdotes to relate.

  9. sya »

    3 June 2009 · 9:15 pm

    At home, I use my dishwasher as a cabinet to store extra dishes. As for glassware in lab, you pretty much have to clean everything by hand before putting it into the dishwasher (much to the grumbling exasperation of undergrad drudges).

  10. CGHill »

    3 June 2009 · 9:23 pm

    If I get to the point where I keep my kitchen up to laboratory standards — well, never mind, this isn’t happening. You could eat off the floor, maybe, if you finished in five seconds.

  11. Lisa Paul »

    3 June 2009 · 9:26 pm

    You know, as we go along in life, we find that most things are harder than they would appear. But a few things are easier. Like dishes. I’d read where adding a few capfuls of white wine vinegar to a dish drainer of water and rinsing dirty plates in them BEFORE putting them in the dishwasher would make them come out extra clean. On the days my husband was dong the dishes (rare) I discovered that he was merely dipping dishes in the vinegar water, rinsing and calling them done, hang the dishwasher. Surprise. They were completely clean. I do insist on a few swipes with a Scrubbie just for forms sake now. But really, the most crap, phosphate-free dishwashing detergent in the world is going to do the job just fine.

    Unless you are allowing that aforementioned one inch grease build up. Or holding dishes for a week or two before washing them.

  12. McGehee »

    4 June 2009 · 9:55 am

    I believe the question, though, is whether the state has the authority (which is the government equivalent of “right,” but since governments don’t have “rights” I don’t use that word in discussing governments — hence, “authority”) to require people to use it.

  13. Old Grouch »

    4 June 2009 · 5:51 pm

    Water temperature.

    Too many folks dial down their water heater (in the interests of “economy” and “protecting the children”), unaware that mechanical dishwashers like their water HOT. (And though most dishwashers include a superheater, some don’t give it enough time to deal with low inlet temps.)

  14. CGHill »

    4 June 2009 · 6:12 pm

    In that case, should I ever install one of these contraptions, I’ll kick the water-heater thermostat up a notch from its current 120°. (Although it seems plenty hot already, believe me.)

  15. McGehee »

    5 June 2009 · 5:20 pm

    Too many folks dial down their water heater

    I do the opposite — like most people I regulate the actual faucet temperature by adding cold water. The less water from the heater tank it takes to give me the desired temperature, the less fuel it takes to heat the additional water let into the tank to replace what I use.

    At least, that’s my thinking.

  16. Dan B »

    5 June 2009 · 11:51 pm

    The dog is the pre-washer at my house. The bleach in the dish soap sanitizes the doggy germs. No phosphates, no problem; except the dog has been getting fatter lately.

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