Friday, February 25, 2011

Put your phosphates back in your dish detergent

Have you ever noticed that every time something gets environmental attention, my life gets less convenient in that area?

Low flow toilets don't flush. Curly-cue light bulbs break and turn into toxic waste. Recycling makes garbage day disgusting and complicated. And let's not even get in to my city's mayor and his bicycle fetish.

So when my dishes stopped coming out clean, I should have suspected some green do-gooder at work. But I did not. I started supplementing with my various cleaning tonics. Nothing was helping.

Side note: one thing that will restore the shine to your glasses is a cup of bleach (stop before drying) and then a cup of amonia (run the whole cycle). They will take my bleach from my cold dead hands.

Anyhow, it turns out that someone got the idea to take away phosphates. Thanks guys. David Suzuki, the perpetually irritating, has a variety of ineffective solutions.

But I'm not David Suzuki. I want my phosphates back.

Cue trip to the hardware store.

Ahhh, that's the stuff.

Your previous dishwashing detergent had about 9% phosphate. Now it's 0.5%. I add about a tbsp per cup of Cascade dish detergent. Don't use too much; it's not good for your metal.

Ahhhhh. Clean dishes at last.


  1. My Father has owned a roofing company in the lower mainland for around ten years. And he tells me that when phosphates were in detergent, he was using it as an industrial cleaner to remove moss from roof tops.

    (He uses something else today, called Rotban, and though I know its ingredients, I'm not about to reveal that. Needless to say it's another chemical compound. And powerful enough to burn holes in leather - but when diluted enough doesn't harm the roof.)


    I doubt many people are having problems getting their dishes clean, without phosphates, nor are they making trips to home depot to use harsher chemicals. Maybe you your dishwasher isn't doing the job it should be? Or maybe you're crazy? (Heh.)

    That said, David Suzuki the man isn't David Suzuki the symbol. I'm sure he enjoys his motorboat when he's hanging out on Quadra Island, which pollutes the wilderness he enjoys. (I'm sure he doesn't kayak, either, or save the wilderness or be in better shape.)

    All things in moderation, including moderation.

  2. I use bleach and washing soda to remove moss, together, in a paste.

    I am definitely crazy, but I'm not the only person who has had this problem. P&G has been getting lots of complaints, and Consumer Reports say that none of the new detergents have tested as well as the previous detergents did.

    DZ the man is a pain in the neck.

  3. Shame on you!
    I would hope that a parent of 3 young children would be more open to change for the sake of future generations. A good start is to look at what phosphates actually do to you and the environment. If you are okay with cancer, then please go right ahead and use dirty chemicals on you your family. Honestly, think of what you are choosing. Would you really rather have a sick family and environment or have be bothered by doing a little extra work around your home. Try thinking about the lives your parents or grandparents had and the how they did not have the convenience of a dish washer. I personally make my own dish detergent, laundry detergent and cleaning products. I choose to have a clean conscious when I tuck my kids into bed every night.
    You sound like a dynamic person who has great energy who should have no problem spending some extra time to preserve your children’s future.
    As for your POKE at Dr. David Suzuki - you really lost me. He has dedicated himself to science and the environment. You can make your selfish narrow minded anti environmental point without mentioning other people. I think you should mind your manners. The world is full enough of negative influences. I hope you get some counselling and change your “cup half empty” canter for the sake of own being and your children’s. Simply grow up and start taking responsibility for your own life and stop blaming others!

    1. "Do it for the children! "... Shame on yourself and stop being a damned sheep. Useful idiot slike you NEVER consider the unintended consequences of your action, just the immediate gratification of feeling superior, which you're not -- just a pompous ass is all. When government mandates inefficiencies in products such as detergents, it requires using MORE detergent or stronger alternative chemicals, washing longer using more energy, and using more water, moron! Pricks like you are disgustingly self-righteous and Suzuki is a hack entertainer. FU

  4. Hi Lou! It's nice to have you on board.

    What I do for the future generations around here is raise them up to be good, decent, G-d fearing people. What I don't do is protect them from phantom cancers or ginned up environmentalist scares (oh no! we'll have to work slightly harder to purify water!) or pretend that it affects me on a day-to-day basis whether Polar Bears or mosquitos survive.

    My family and their environment is very well, and appreciates your concern. They agree with me that being raised up to decent personhood is far more important than homemade dish detergent. But we all have our own priorities.

    You are a watermelon. Do you know what that is? It means you're green on the outside, but red on the inside. You're a bully, Lou, worthy of your ranting, bullying comment. Who knows what's best for StealthJew's family? Why, Lou does! And David Suzuki! So Lou and David Suzuki must go out and pass laws to ensure that poor, stupid, unwashed masses like StealthJew learn to see the costs and benefits in the appropriate, Lou-approved way. Worse still, Stealth Jew and her ilk are getting more and more suspicious of Lou's good faith, given that we've seen the trumpeting and collapse of the DDT scare, the Love Canal scare, the Save the Whales scare, the global cooling scare, and the over-population scare. Poor Lou. Too bad Stealth Jew isn't as willing to believe every green scare story that comes down the pike as she was when she was a wee tyke sitting in Quilchena School learning how the apes and tigers were going extinct because we litter.

    I know many people who have been acquainted with Dr. Suzuki in business and in person and none has ever had anything good to say about the man. I would not touch him with a ten foot pole held in my latex gloved fingers; I pity that you no longer have the option.

    I appreciate your suggestion of psychotherapy (or "counselling"), however, I already have a religion and must therefore decline to join yours.

    1. As a Registered Professional Engineer of long standing, I shudder at the good intentions, that poorly thought out or devoid of science, add to our lives. Removing phosphates from detergents is one of those...

  5. Lou, I find it ironic that you are coming here, onto someone elses blog, lecturing them about how much better you are because you make your own cleaning products and suggesting that StealthJew look into counseling and then in the next "breath" tell her to "Mind her manners".

  6. So now instead of phosphates we have "zeolite" that is a pollutant with unknown consequences, and at least where I live with hard water, dish-washing machines that do not work and 3 times the water to wash dishes.

    As far as I can tell the original phosphate problem stems from fertilizer runoff, which we still have, not detergents. Another stupid Green initiative that was ill-conceived.

    I will be heading to Lowe's tomorrow for some TSP, thank you very much.

  7. I just bought Arm & Hammer Washing Soda in hopes that I could make my own dish washer soap. Nope. They took the phosphates out of it. I didnt notice this until I got home. :-(

    I'll be returning it.

  8. I came back several months later to see if there is any update on the non-phosphate discussion. I gave up adding the tsp- it just did no good. I did then buy the box of dishwashing little packets and they contain bleach, which isn't great for the environment, I'm sure, but does a much better job cleaning the dishes. Also, my husband tried calling the consumer help line of the detergent maker and they have a recording on telling all callers it must be your filter- have a plumber check and change your dishwasher filter. That was a sign to us that the phosphate removal really is affecting lot and lots of us....

  9. phosphate dishwasher detergent is the perfect mix of soap and good old fashion cleaning know how. I don't know where I would be without it. I really like washing the dishes, but phosphate dishwasher detergent just makes my job so much easier.

  10. Great work, Stealth Jew!

    I find it interesting that only dishwasher soap sold to us at the grocery stores have the phosphates removed. Restaurants and cafeterias which use commercial dishwasher detergent still have the phosphates in it. Once again, it's you and I who have to "save the Earth" but if you're a business man you may still get "dangerously clean dishes"!

    Success to you, Stealth Jew!

  11. Thank you so much for posting this! I too have missed having phosphate dishwasher detergent. I never knew about this product, but I'm definitely going to use it. Why was it that phosphate detergent was removed in the first place? Thank you for your help.

  12. I stumbled on this looking into something totally different...but I now know why my stupid dishwasher doesn't work! I thought it was me...thank you for posting this!

  13. I am researching phosphates right now because both my parents decided to add phosphates into their dishwasher detergent (you can buy it at any hardware store). Now, a few years later - they both have cancer. She got thyroid and breast cancer and he got thyroid cancer and his mother whom he also made the soap for died of lung cancer a year ago (never smoked a day in her life). These are all healthy people who exercise, eat well, live life to the fullest and suddenly tumors are taking over their bodies! They live pretty green otherwise except for this silly phosphate thing they insist on using. Their oncologist looked into it and told them to stop using it. Phosphates are released into the air via steam and breathed in and this is the most dangerous form. Tumors have been proven to grow in both people and lab rats exposed to this regularly. We have the highest rate of cancer of all developed nations. We also have the most relaxed laws about contaminants in our environment. We are not being protected very well.

    I have been buying eco dishwasher detergent. Works PERFECT. I never need bleach, vinegar, etc or ammonia. (I won't allow ammonia in my house after seeing the damage it did while I was in the medical field). I love bleach but won't expose my family to it (chlorine that is) via steam air out of the dishwasher on a daily basis. A lot of the "green" companies already successfully found formulas that work just as well if not better. Also, when you buy them via amazon prime, they are a better price. I buy a six month supply at a time (one box lasts a month).

    1. Did you make that up in order to scare us into not using phosphates?

    2. Did your parents also have leather shoes? Did they also have electrical power? Perhaps they even had matching socks!!! You can find coincidences for anything.

      Sorry, but your oncologist is not very good at his job. You should consider finding someone more qualified. There is no proof of a link of phosphates to cancer, and your doctor scaring you with unfounded claims makes him a charlatan of the worst kind.

  14. Yeah my mom used tsp added to her dish washer and now she has a third
    eyeball in the middle of her forehead....but holy sht she can see my dad
    through walls now......COME you have any other
    family members you want to throw in your post....

  15. My glasses look horrible. Totally hazy, so I want to throw them out. BAH to the green people and their stupid ideas! Sick, sick, sick of being controlled by them!

  16. I've recently got a box of TriSodiumPhosphate at home depot (make sure you get the real McCoy in the red box) as I recently moved from my old house to a place that has a dishwasher now, and they were not coming out clean, at all. A very small amount does wondrous things, and it fixed the problem. Also, a very small amount in my laundry, about a teaspon per load, and once again my clothes are really clean, the way I remember they used to be. Phosphates are a part of nature, and not to be feared, and yes, commercial grade laundry detergents and dishwasher detergents do not have the phosphates removed. Restaurants and hotels simply expect products to safely and effectively clean. Customers expect clean sheets and clean dishes, do they not?

    I did a little research, and the way the legislation banning phosphates came about in laundry detergent all started with blaming phosphates in detergents for the algae blooms that were happening in one isolated corner of lake Michigan. Not a global pandemic crisis by any means, but nontheless something for the go green mongers and legislators to turn into an 'issue' and pass some laws for our 'own good'.

    A little further research shows that the algae blooms actually only happen in lakes, or water, that is already out of balance and unhealthy, and though phosphate plays a role, it is first required that amonia be present to start the process, and then, and ONLY then, if phosphate enters the equation will you have an algae bloom. Anyone who knows how to use google can find this information out for themselves. Also, professional and scientific data is available as to how algae bloom occurs, and is controllable in large aquariums, which will shed further light onto the chemistry and science of what actually happens regarding phosphates and algae, rather than the knee jerk, politically correct 'go green or else the planet is doomed' scare mongering that is typical in todays world.

    Again, phosphates occur in nature, we couldn't live without them, (check the ingredients on your box of Cherios breakfast cereal by the way) they are good to help clean things, and if they were so horrible, why are they still in commercial products?

    People like 'Lou' really scare me, because too often they end up in a position of power. I will continue to clean my laundry and dishes with phosphates and will not lose one iota of sleep over it.

  17. I am shampooing the carpet with a home RUG-Doctor and finding problems with their cleaner and Cascade. In the past, over 3 years ago, I rented a professional Rug-Doctor and used this solution: 1/4 cup Cascade Dishwasher detergent with bleach, 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 gallons of water. Presently, the carpet is spotting into an orange and rust and not cleaning well. The un-shampooed carpet before cleaning looks better than the patches where I have cleaned. I have rinsed, done straight vinegar and ammonia in the rinse water. I don't know if it is the home version of Rug doctor not working, or the cleaners which may be phosphate free. So are we to go to the hardware store and buy phosphate fertilizer? I have already put twenty hours into cleaning and 12 by 12 area.... more time than half the house in the past. To get the old Cascade Detergent solution with bleach what might you suggest?

    1. OK, lets start with the fundamentals.

      IN the "Detergent" tank you ran the CASCADE with Bleach. Correct?

      In the RINSE side of the tank you added the VINEGAR to break up the foaming action of the DETERGEANT.

      NOW, you are thinking that you need FERTILIZER?

      Well, the 3 main Components of the BAGS of GRANULAR fertilizer are labeled based on 3 compounds (N) for Nitrogen, (P) for PHos-PHORUS, and (K) for POTassium.

      These are DIFFERENT elements than Tri- Sodium- Phosphate. or T-S-P.

      TSP Reacts with water to create a REACTION with the MINERALS in HARD water , and to "Soften" that HARD water., This is how the "DETERGEANT" part of the formula works.

      By Softening the water, then the CLEANSER can remove the STAINS and particles sticking to the plates and Dishes.

      By Blending the RIGHT AMOUNT of SOFTENERs and SURFACTANTs, that is what the "New and Improved" formulas are., yet it is actually the removal of the "PHOSPHATE", that does hinder the ability of the OTHER chemistry to do an effective job.

      By adding a LITTLE BIT of TSP, you are putting back in what the GreenWash tribe have taken out.


      COLOURS get bleached out with any acid, so it is best to test in a small area , behind the door with ANY suggestion on the Internet.

      Your Results May VARY, depending on the Municipal Water Supply, the Severity of the Staining, and the Colour Fastness of the Carpet.

    2. PS. IF you are Adding VINEGAR (AN ACID) with A solution of TSP , the two will NEUTRALIZE each other , and give you UN-satisfactory results.

      The VINEGAR is only for cleaning small areas, and then to break up the sudsing action of the Phosphates.

      If you are experiencing RUST spots, then you are SOAKING the carpet too hard, and the NAILS underneath are RUSTING and giving the ORANGE spots. DRY THE AREA thoroughly. Let it REST of 1 Weak or 2. Then Tackle each Individual spot on its own.

    3. Love you Richard!! I love scientific explanations! I can really get the info into my memory! I have been struggling with very cold water (40-42F) HE machine with almost no adjustments and only basic memories of chem class from 30 years ago! Lots of detergent & icky perfume smell residues. Was seeing vinegar and "real TSP" and it just didn't ring true to put them in the same tub at the same time. XOXO

  18. I have had the same problems with dirty dishes you all are describing. It has been major frustration after another as I tried one "solution" after another to my dishwasher. Nothing worked like the old detergent used to. A few months ago I came across this article and decided to give it a try. I ordered Industrial Strength Cascade and I am so pleased with it. My dishes are finally clean again. Anyway, I thought I'd share this with all of you and maybe it will help you out as well. Good luck!