On Giants' Shoulders

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Vinegar Solution

It looks like I may have found a low tech solution to a high tech problem. We have this dishwasher that has been the bane of my existence ever since we bought it 5 years ago. Unlike the other dishwashers we've had it frequently left food deposits on the glasses and mugs that were placed in the top rack. It didn't do it every time, but nothing seemed to prevent it. We tried being sure that there were no corn kernels, grains of rice, pieces of pasta on the dishes, yet still the spray arm seemed to manage to get clogged pretty frequently and even when it wasn't clogged (I was rinsing it out after every load) there were still food particles on the glassware.

I tried using Jet Dry. I tried changing dishwasher detergents. I tried gel packs, liquids, tablets. Nothing worked. It was at the point where even nearly pre-washing the dishes (and what's the point of a dishwasher if you have to wash the dishes before putting them in it) wouldn't guarantee that it didn't happen again.

This week I got desperate. I'd tried running vinegar through the dishwasher when it was empty and while that might work for one load, it wasn't working consistently. This week I tried instead filling the rinse dispenser with vinegar before each load. I have now run 6 loads of dishes through the machine and there's been no deposits on the glasses. I think I may have found the solution.

Now the up side of this is that if this continues to work, a gallon of vinegar is cheaper than a small container of Jet Dry (which wasn't working all that well anyway). Since I'd already figured out that baking soda works better for cleaning my stove than Soft Scrub, I'm beginning to wonder if green isn't only better for the environment, but better for my pocketbook as well.

This probably seems like a small annoyance to most people, but if you only knew how much of my time in the past few years has been spent re-washing dishes and listening to the complaints of people when a glass or a piece of flatware didn't come clean, but did end up in the cupboard (I plead nearsightedness for that) you'd know that if this solution works it's going to really improve the quality of life around here.


At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Liz,

I am glad to hear of this trick. I have had a similar problem with my dishwasher and found that the product Cascade Complete seemed to do the trick. It cleared out whatever was clogging the water spray and breaks down any food left on the dishes. It costs more, but gosh, it works. I was shocked. I am going to try the vinegar too.

Rachel, a mom in Texas

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Liz said...

I'm currently using Cascade with the vinegar. Cascade Complete was better than some detergents, but our local store didn't carry it and what I had on hand when I started the vinegar treatment was simply regular Cascade. One added benefit is that I now can run the dishwasher on normal cycle which saves electricity and hot water instead of the heavy duty cycle. So I'm saving money and effort. Pretty good for an old fashioned solution.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Kitchen Madonna said...

Vinegar is ab-fab. The white stuff to clean and the apple cider for your insides. Love it. Cheap and charming.


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