My dishwasher woes are behind me

March 2, 2010

Everything was going fine until the past six months or so.  Slowly and then very obviously the glasses, dishes, utensils, even the pots and pans were getting filmier and filmier.  If we happened to run out of rinse agent the results were horrendous leaving a white film over everything that required elbow grease and vinegar to remove.  And our glasses were catching soap residue and not getting rinsed thoroughly.  I had to hand rinse each glass, sometimes even rewash it, after removing it from the dishwasher.

The culprit?  Hard water.  It leaves deposits on everything and clogs up the little spraying holes in the dishwasher so things don’t get rinsed well – double whammy.

Then one day at Target I and came upon something called Lemi Shine.lemishine-introduction-flat

It is a dishwashing detergent additive.  The packaging doesn’t claim green virtues, but had a pretty impressive picture of a filmy wine glass becoming clear.  The packaging didn’t seem especially green, but I looked more closely.  In teeny tiny print it says “Made with: real fruit acids, natural citrus oils, fragrance”  OK – I could live without the fragrance (smells like lemonade mix), but the rest is good.  Also in teeny tiny print are the words: “septic system friendly”.  Now that’s important for my particular situation.  Plus, there is also a little "Phosphate Free” emblem, the clincher.  And then to make things a little better the container is made of #2 plastic.

Now, as I said the packaging doesn’t scream “green” – but this is apparently a green company.  It is called Envirocon and despite their name they don’t really announce their greeness loudly – it is more understated.  They say they aim to sustain the environment, but not much is said about how accept:

Products that support sustainability, like ours, save you money over time through their multiuse, multipurpose abilities.  Products committed to sustainability generally cost less due to less energy inputs and packaging inputs, thus saving you, our beloved customer $$.  Multiuse, multipurpose, less costly, now that makes cents!. 

Their products – and there are 6 – seem to be green.  And, to their credit, they post the MSDS – material safety data sheet – for each product.  For the Lemi Shine it says not to induce vomiting and to drink one or two glasses of water if ingested.  Hmmm, scary. But then says in “notes to physician” to “treat symptomatically” so that doesn’t sound so bad.  A bit later when it discusses more industrial use it says

This product does not contain any hazardous materials with occupational exposure limits established by the region specific regulatory bodies.

That was reassuring. 

Here and there on the website are mention of green aspects of their products.  Over all it is a sustained soft sell.

But I deem it green!

Oh – and by the way – IT WORKS!  The dishes look great, the pots and pans are shiny again, and the utensils feels nice and smooth and look pretty.  When we ran out of Lemi Shine the quality deteriorated immediately.  Yesterday my husband bought two containers.  And this morning I sighed audibly with pleasure as I pulled my favorite spoon, all shiny and smooth, from the dishwasher.



  1. lemishine is ok but its just citric acid lemon peel and such we all have hard water and calcium buildup thats a given you wanna find the good stuff go to appliance parts copmany and ask the experts what to use they have dozenz of products to handle hard water. phospates are what the manufactures have removed from dw cleaner no comes the milky dishes…

    • I have no problem with it being just citric acid – although – as an update – it’s pretty harsh on some paints on the ceramics and glassware.

  2. A recent issue of Cooks Illustrated had a reader tip that said just to use white vinegar.


    • just plain vinegar as a rinse agent works 1/2 way decent – but we’ve got industrial strength hard water (and no softener – not interested in the salt and all) – this works better.


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