Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In what universe is this considered clean?

I don’t know if everyone has noticed (I’m not sure how you can fail to notice, actually), but dishwashers are no longer cleaning dishes.  Why?  Because some boneheaded politicians have decided to be everyone’s mom and ban phosphates from dishwasher detergents because they are thought to contaminate the water supply.  Not a bad idea, you think?  Well, they banned these when there is no commercially viable substitute available for phosphates.  New Mexico has not banned phosphates, but what company in their right mind will continue making, selling, and distributing two versions of the product?  It’s not a profitable strategy.  So now it’s virtually impossible to find a dishwasher detergent that actually cleans here in Albuquerque. 




Disgusting.  I used to wash my dishes on the normal setting with only the cleanser portion of the dispenser filled (no prewash needed).  Now I have to pre-rinse (never needed to do that before), completely fill both receptacles AND use the heavy setting.  And my dishes are still filthy.  So I have to wash all glassware by hand now, which uses far more water (and time!) than the dishwasher.  Net effect: at least twice as much detergent (more contaminants in the water and twice as much money spent), far more water used, and more energy, since the dishwasher runs longer and hotter on the heavy setting.  This is an environmental improvement?

You can still buy aluminum phosphate at Home Depot and Lowes.  So you’d better believe that we’re going to be concocting our own dishwasher detergent.  And we’re certainly not the only ones resorting to this.  Surely our home-brewed concoctions can’t be safer than the commercially-prepared cleaners made by chemists. 

I propose that anyone elected into office be required to take (and pass!) basic economics.  Any student worth her salt could discuss unintended consequences, and could probably list many of the consequences of this particular action.  But until then, ignorant but well-meaning (the worst combination) people will continue to be elected into office.  So I’m now off to research dishwasher detergents.  If you have any recommendations of detergents that still clean, please let me know.  And I hope that the politicians toasting themselves for this brilliant political move have to hand wash their own champagne glasses (although I seriously doubt it).