Monday, March 5, 2012

I only dream of you, my beautiful

I am so, SO frustrated.

Because of my dishwasher, that's why.  Once upon a time, when it was new, it was a thing of beauty.  I was ever so pleased for ever so long about the state of my dishes.  And then.  Here we are now with me tearing my hair out.

Where did the love go,

So anyway, I did read about how a change in detergent formulas are probably to blame, now that they're all phosphate-free and everything, except I was using phosphate-free detergents ON PURPOSE up until a while ago when we decided to cut down on plastic receptacle purchases.  (Bottles, bags, you name it, we're trying to eliminate it.  There are some things that I just have to grit my teeth and buy, like bread.  Eric does not believe homemade bread makes a decent sandwich.  Oh, and in the bulk section sometimes.  PLEASE do not ask how I learned that baking soda does not work in my little cloth bags.)  Only now I realize that since like 2010, they've all been phosphate-free, so really, what was I doing?

[Insert primal scream here.  See?  Frustrated.]

I've been trying little tricks in my dishwasher, like spraying things down with white vinegar before running it, and adding a few drops of Dawn to the powder (which is in a plastic bottle, which I would rather not buy any more of).  And that sort of works.  It seems like the dishes on the bottom rack are great, but the ones on top are not.  And I'm really sick of having to rerun my dishes--such a waste of water and electricity.

So yesterday we had to make an emergency trip to Wal-Mart (gag) because Abby has a choir competition later this week and needed a pair of leggings to go under her skirt.  She waited to tell us until last night, so there you go.  Anyway, while I was there, I picked up a few more things for my homemade cleaner stash: Borax, washing soda, and a huge box of baking soda.

All are in cardboard, so all are easier to recycle than plastic.  That's a win.

So I mixed up a batch of homemade dishwasher detergent when I got home: 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of baking soda*.  And then I added 1 cup of the powdered dishwasher detergent I have in the cupboard just for shits and giggles.  (That is a phrase that needs to be tossed around more.  It's a joy to say.)  I put in two tablespoons and made sure the rinse agent thing was full of white vinegar, and then sprayed the silverware down with more vinegar just to be safe.

Bottom dishes were great, top ones were hit and miss.  But that's no worse than with just regular detergent, and maybe was even a little better.  Or maybe I'm just telling myself that so I don't take a sledgehammer to the whole operation.

Ran another load (well, I had a lot of dishes last night.  I spent my weekend making a double batch of enchiladas and a pot roast that I turned into barbecued sandwiches.  And somehow I ended up making three desserts), took the dishes out this morning.  Dishes clean on the bottom, not so much on the top.

Really not so much on the top this time.  Apparently roasted pork and barbecue sauce debris are hard to wash off.

So I've basically just come to the conclusion that instead of tossing my dishes into what used to be the most kick-ass dishwasher in the world and having everything come out clean and shiny and sparkly and perfect, I now need to rinse my dishes off really well before loading them into the dishwasher.  Which is where I'm at right now.  I'll run a load before I head to work, and tonight we'll see what the results are.

And I tell you this: There had better be some improvement.  Because I just can't live like this anymore.  

And yes, maybe March will be Trisha's Homemade Cleaner Blog Month.  I have no idea.  It's certainly where I'm at right now.  It's gone from "that's cool" to "clear obsession," if you want to know the truth.  I WILL SUCCEED!  Or go down fighting.  (Yep, still rereading The Hunger Games.  I'm in that mind frame.)

*DAMN IT, PEOPLE.  I just reread my detergent instructions and realized I was supposed to use 1 cup of washing soda, not baking soda, along with the cup of Borax.  So I added what I estimate to be a cup into the jar I'd already made.  This should be interesting... baking soda, washing soda, Borax and Cascade.  Well, what could go wrong?  That hasn't already, I mean.

Muse, Sing for Absolution.  Wow, there's some cheerful lyrics in this song: Our wrongs remain unrectified / and our souls won't be exhumed. Surprisingly, there's not a song out there about being frustrated with your dishwasher, so this one will have to do.

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