I use a dishwasher. Firstly I am going to defend myself here. Because we cook from scratch and I am raising a more ravenous than usual family, the dirty dishes we produce are of nightmare proportions!!!
We tried to manage with hand washing for a few months after our last dishwasher died but I found it depressing. I felt chained to the kitchen sink and wasn't achieving anything other than producing food for the family. I didn't have time to get into the garden or mend or knit or anything creative. And dish washing and folding clothes are my least favourite jobs. Or maybe cleaning the shower is.... hang on, maybe it's washing the floors...... actually, could be dusting ......
Anyway, I digress.
We did a lot of research and bought a dishwasher that uses very little water and electricity. We also made sure the appliance was from a reputable company in the hopes that it will last for many years. It works beautifully! I used to make my own dishwasher powder but I have discovered that I can get away with just throwing bi-carb into this machine! Total laziness, I know, but the dishes come out sparkling clean. There's none of the cloudiness I have experienced before. I find, even with the dishwasher, that I still have plenty of dishes to hand wash. Things that need to be scrubbed, all my wooden spoons and chopping boards, jars, bottles etc.
We have found though, that over time the dishwasher itself has become dirty. Now, I have cleaned it with my own cleaners and it looked clean enough but I worried about the pipe parts that I can't see. And I noticed it was becoming dirty more quickly each time. The last thing I want to do is make my family ill by washing our dishes in a germ filled environment.
So in desperation, I went out and bought one of those cleaners. It comes in a plastic bottle with a wax cap over it. You remove the lid and pop it in the empty dishwasher and run a hot wash. The heat melts the wax and the cleaner comes out and does it's stuff.
Well, the dishwasher came up sparkling clean. It did the job. But........ oh the smell! Belle was holding her breath to come near it to put her dishes in because she claimed she couldn't breathe and I know what she means. The first couple of loads we did, even the dishes had a smell. And we're eating off them! Some might claim it was a 'fresh, clean smell' but not us. All we could smell was chemical yukkiness! What sort of residue is on our dishes? Even our bathroom smelt of this cleaner and it's down the hall and around the corner. We have become very aware of false odours because we don't use anything perfumed anymore. I can't stand walking down the washing powder aisle in the supermarket and we can smell washing powder on second hand clothes until they've been washed about three times!
Now, I actually want to use chemicals on the dishwasher. I'd probably like to do it about every six months. But I've decided I don't want to use a commercial cleaner. I know nothing about chemicals but there must be something out there that is less harmful or invasive. You know, something like cloudy ammonia or bleach or something.
PLEASE! If you know anything about chemicals and can tell me something that I could use instead of these strong products, something that is less damaging to health and environment, I would be most appreciative.
Anyone got any tips?