Thursday, August 19, 2010

Water woes

A few weeks ago, I griped online about our dishwasher. Our dishwasher was leaving white stuff on our dishes. The black utensils were a cloudy gray. The plates and cups had white film on them.

Of course, the dishwasher was just past its warranty period. What is up with appliances these days? I mentioned our dishwasher in a thread about, well, cruddy appliances that poop out much faster than our parents' appliances ever did. Heck, the dishwasher in our old house was harvest yellow, and it still worked fine when we moved. But our newer dishwasher was leaving white crud everywhere. And like most people, we didn't have a spare $700 or $800 lying around, just dying to be traded for a new dishwasher. Plus, the dishwasher was not even that old!

A couple days later, my phone rang. It was my neighbor Mandi. She cut to the chase. "Is your dishwasher leaving white stuff on your dishes?"

What, can Mandi read minds? No, wait, I posted that on Facebook. Mandi went on to say that they had the same problem. Their neighbors across the street had the same problem. Half of my neighborhood is pricing new dishwashers. But Mandi's husband had the presence of mind to make a few phone calls. Apparently, the water supply in our fair citiy is experiencing a glut of calcium. What causes a glut of calcium in the water? Is there a dinosaur molar in the aquifer? Heck if I know. But all that excess calcium was building up on our dishes, turning everything a cloudy gray.

Fortunately, Mandi said, there's a solution. Lemi Shine. I've never heard of Lemi Shine. Mandi hadn't, either. But for $3 and some change, you could buy a bottle at Wal-mart. Put it in your dishwasher detergent cup and run a full cycle in an empty dishwasher. Then load the dishwasher, put the Lemi Shine in the detergent cup, put your detergent in the pre-wash cup, and see what happens. Mandi happily reported that her dishes were sparkling again.

Well, a $3 bottle of Lemi Shine beats a trip to the appliance store for a new dishwasher. I ran up to Wal-mart, bought the purported miraculous powder, and gave it a try.

It worked. My gray utensils are black again. My dishes no longer look like someone threw a piece of chalk into the rinse cycle.

This news is too good to not share. I mentioned it to my neighbor last night, who fortunately has a water softener to get rid of the pesky calcium. But as he was walking back home, he saw another neighbor sporting a lovely pair of plastic gloves. "Don't say anything," she said. "I'm having to do dishes by hand because my dishwasher is broken."

He sent her our way. I sent her home with my bottle of Lemi Shine.

I almost don't want to share this, because I'm afraid that I'll go to Wal-mart and find the Lemi Shine shelf empty. But, as much as I'm sure the shareholders at Best Buy are lovely people, I don't want to contribute to the bottom line by allowing neighbors to buy new dishwashers they don't need. Lemi Shine. Try it. Enjoy the results. And use the money you'd spend on a new dishwasher to pay off those back-to-school expenses.