The fact is, I tend to shut off world events as soon as I walk away from the computer. There are much bigger things to worry about. (Okay, that’s a total lie.)
Still, why do I buy that expensive spot-free stuff considering my water glasses keep coming out with a gray, smooth film that requires a pick axe to remove?
In fact, the scum is so gross, I hate to drink from our glasses, which is a bad thing when you are living in the desert and are prone to dehydration. Sure, I rewash them by hand, which takes about five minutes a glass, but eventually the dishwasher strikes back.
It wasn’t always so bad. In Chicago we could solve the problem by putting just a little less detergent in the dishwasher. In California, we had fewer problems perhaps because our surface water was so full of chlorine, it helped keep the dishes cleaner.
But in Arizona, in which tap water always leaves a hard film as it evaporates, the problem is out of control. (Of course, we drink only filtered and bottled water since that film causes kidney stones even faster than melamine-laced Chinese milk.)
Which brings me to my happy discovery. A few days ago, when my mom was watching Lael, I apologized for the sorry state of our glasses. Nothing makes a son cringe more than watching his mom suspiciously eye your water glass as if it was coated in goat pee.
Thanks goodness, mom, who lives about two miles away, has the same problem. Still, her glasses look better than ours because she only needs to use the dishwasher twice a year.
Rather than beat me up, mom and I started discussing solutions. At some point, she mentioned that an acquaintance used to put Kool Aid, presumably the add-your-own-sugar variety, in the dishwasher.
Hmmm. Since I already suspected that the scum on the dishes was caused by calcium carbonate and/or alkaline waters, I wondered what would happen if I soaked the glass in lemon juice. I couldn’t find any in the fridge, but I did find some lime juice.
I poured the lime juice in the glass and swirled it around like a fine Bordeaux. Mom helpfully pointed out that I kept spilling some of the greenish liquid out on the cutting board as I swished it around.
But something amazing happened. The scum immediately disappeared. Ah, the wonders of science.
Suddenly, I envisioned soaking all our glasses (and silverware and dishes) in buckets of lime juice. Alas, lime as well as lemon juice are kind of expensive. Not to mention, the whole process seemed clunky.
With these thoughts shoving the elections from my mind, I bought a gallon jug of white vinegar. Yeah, I don’t like the smell either, but it does stink less than politics. That, and the stuff is cheap and acidic, so I figured what the heck.
Finally ready for my science experiment, I put the usual (bleach-free) dish detergent in the closable compartment, but nothing in the open, pre-wash compartment. Instead, I poured a random amount of vinegar onto the floor of the dishwasher. (I’m guessing a dumped in about an eighth of a bottle.)
A couple hours later, I checked on our glasses. Unbelievable! They were nearly spotless. In fact, the glasses looked practically new.
Now I plan to experiment. What’s the right combination of vinegar and dishwasher liquid? Can I use less vinegar once all our glasses are clear again? Is it possible to just use environmentally-friendly vinegar and forgo expensive dishwashing products altogether?
Maybe I need to do some double blind scientific studies. Regardless, I’m suddenly enjoying my glass of water much more and caring less about the trillions of tax dollars being dumped down the toilet.
NOTE: Do not mix vinegar with bleach-based dishwashing liquids. Doing so will create a decidedly unhealthy chlorine gas.