Friday, 31 August 2012

EEeeew! The Smell!

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?


Calidore said...

I tried your dishwasher powder and gave up. In my dishwasher it didn't seem to get the dishes clean - so horrors - I have gone back to the commercial stuff. Eventually the dishwasher will die - then I will be able to wash dishes. I will confess I am one of the strange people who enjoy the whole soapy hot water thing. ; - ) My dishwasher was starting to smell too so I scrubbed the inside and then sat a cup of vinegar (I use the cheap stuff) in the top rack and ran the dishwasher on a normal cycle. It came up clean and no smells. Worth a try. Hope this works for you. Ohh and I tried the commercial dishwasher cleaners once too - Belle is right - the smell is revolting.

Kim said...

Easy fix for that one , Linda. Vinegar. We did the same thing as you and bought a cleaner tainted everything it touched and the dishes had the smell for ages. Now we just use vinegar..i just put it on a hot cycle with normal household vinegar and it comes up sparkling.
So glad you use a dishwasher .... some people say if I am doing all this other green stuff I should wash by hand - but I couldn't do all the other stuff without the dishwasher!
I buy 'enviroclean ' from the health food shop, it is a dishwashing powder, since using that I haven't had very much build up at all and it makes me feel less guilty.
Anyway try the vinegar, easy peasy.

purplepear said...

The vinegar sounds like a good idea. Maybe use some that's been infused with orange peel for an extra hit.

livingsimplyfree said...

I have the opposite problem, I find myself defending not using a dishwasher when one is available. I'm told all the time how a dishwasher uses less water than hand washing, but I didn't grow up with one and can never got used to having it on the few occasions I did have one. So don't beat yourself up about using it. You may be saving more than I am by hand washing.

Busy mum of 3 said...

Don't feel guilty about having a dishwasher, I love my dishwasher to bits for exactly the reason you mentioned, cooking and baking from scratch uses an enormous amount of "wash-er-up-ables", and I know for a fact (being the lazy bones that I am ) that I wouldn't cook half of what I do if I didn't own one.

We've talked about moving closer to the ocean from time to time, with houses being so expensive by the beach I've always said I don't care what state the house or the kitchen is in as long as it has a dishwasher, or I can at least put one in straight away!!

One must have their priorities right.

I use ALDI dishwasher tablets, they are far cheaper than others, and I've never had a dirty dishwasher, I've always wondered why people needed to buy them.

Hope you find a solution.

Linn said...

Hi Linda,

I know what you mean about becoming sensitive to perfumed smells as that has happened to ur family since going a'naturelle. I used bicarbonate in our old dishwasher and hubby thinks that's what probably stuffed up the machine as we couldn't get it very clean so since buying our new machine I am using Ecostore dishwasher tablets and find them to be quite good. It contains no phosphates, synthetic dyes or perfumes. By the way, we tried going without a dishwasher as well but it was just way too time consuming and with lot's of people in the house I think that the dishwasher is more hygienic as it gets to a high temperature. (well that's my excuse anyway!). We are now using Ecostore for hand washing and for doing the laundry. I did try making my own washing powder but I found that the whites weren't white anymore. So hope that might help.

Linda said...

I found this method on the internet a while ago and it works great for me. Buy store brand powdered unsweetened lemonade drink mix packets, and put the powder in the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher. Start the empty dishwasher on a regular wash, and when full of hot water, pour about a cup of white vinegar into the bottom part. This method cleans and whitens the inside of the dishwasher, after it turns dingy from my hard, well water, and it smells fresh too! These lemonade packets are only about 15 cents each, and are mostly citric acid. Good luck!

Linda said...

I forgot to say, I use 2 packets at a time.

Energiser Bunny said...

We use a dishwasher as well, though a few things get hand-washed as you said. I've tried a few different tablet for the dishwasher, including the eco one, but it didn't clean. I've wanted something else as we're also on tank water and so careful about what we put down the sink. so I'll try the bicarb and see.

Thanks for the tip,

Linda said...

Sorry everyone, I did reply individually but blogger shut me out somehow. Thanks for all your suggestions. I will try Linda's idea of the lemonade packet because the word 'acid' sounds so heavy duty and in btwn I will use the vinegar. Sandy, I think bi-carb works for me just coz our dishwasher is so good. If yours isn't as effective it will probably leave your dishes cloudy.

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