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Utahns share home remedies to dishwashing phosphate ban


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A few months a new law went into effect that banned phosphates from dishwashing detergent in 17 states, including Utah. It may help the environment, but it's making it harder to get clean dishes.

"For the last month and a half my dishes just weren't getting clean," Lorinda Loveridge said.

When her dishes came out with a film on them, Loveridge's initial thought was that her dishwasher needed to be replaced.

"I think anybody would, for those of us who didn't know what was going on, especially if you didn't switch detergent," she said. "What else would you think it was?"

Marilyn Albertson, with the Utah State University Cooperative Extension Office, frequently gets calls from consumers wanting to know why their dishes are suddenly so dirty.

"It has changed the way people do dishes, and it has caused frustration out there," Albertson said.

After she explains that phosphates have been removed from the dishwasher detergent, Albertson asks the person if he or she has a water softener.

"Hard water makes it much more difficult to clean the dishes than soft water," she explained.

Albertson recommends a commercial rinse aid. Other home remedies include adding one-half to 1 teaspoon of baking soda, or you can try 1 teaspoon of white vinegar. If you still have trouble, Albertson has another recommendation.

"You can make a mix of a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of borax and put that in your detergent cup and then wash," she said.

Daisy Hodges has had good luck since she started adding vinegar at the beginning of the wash cycle.

"It swishes for about 30 seconds, and then I just dump some vinegar in," Hodges explained.

Now her dishes are coming out about as clean as they were with the old detergent.

"It's working good, except when I forget," she said. "Sometimes I forget, but it works good."

There doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all remedy. Albertson says you'll really just have to experiment to see what works for you.

CLICK HERE for more tips from the USU extension office.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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