Don't Waste Your Money: White film on your dishes? Here's why - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: White film on your dishes? Here's why

Updated:

By John Matarese - bio |email

(WTOL) - Millions of people are noticing something different about their dishes lately. They're just not getting as clean as they used to get, after a wash cycle in the dishwasher.

Is the problem your dishwasher? Your water? Turns out it may be something else.

Frosty coating

Julie Schimpf has been at wit's end the past few months. No matter how much the busy mom runs her dishwasher, no matter how much detergent or rise aid she uses, her dishes are still coming out dirty.

"Right around the first of November, I noticed the dishes had this milky, frosty look left on them, a film," said Schimpf.

It's especially bad on her drinking glasses. "There's this frosty, filmy look on the top and bottom and it won't go away," she said.

The white film even shows up on her stoneware and china, especially on the edges of her plates.

Schimpf thought she might need to buy a new dishwasher. "Our dishwasher is about 8 years old. I thought maybe there was something wrong with it."

What has changed

The good news: Her dishwasher, and probably yours, is fine.

The bad news: There's no simple solution to this problem now affecting millions of homeowners.

The reason: Cascade, Finish, and other detergent brands changed their formulas in September 2010. That removed an ingredient called phosphates that prevents hard water buildup.

"Phosphates would uniquely bond molecules in hard water like calcium and magnesium. It bonds to those items and removes them from wash water," said Dr. Ed Hunter, an adjunct Chemistry professor at Cincinnati's Xavier University.

Dr Hunter says detergent makers have voluntarily removed phosphates after several states banned them for harming wildlife in rivers.

But Dr. Hunter admits there's a downside to going green. "Without phosphates there could be spotting and film inside our dishes and glasses."

Some possible solutions

So what can you do? Procter and Gamble, maker of top selling Cascade, would not speak on camera.

But in a statement, P&G suggests you:

  • Use a rinse aid.
  • Try Cascade "Action Pacs," which soften the water, preventing hard water buildup.
  • Occasionally add white vinegar to the wash cycle.

Online blogs, meantime, suggest trying some store brand detergents, that still contain phosphates for now.

And still others suggest buying a rinse aid called Lemi Shine , that works similarly to vinegar, but smells better. It is sold at Walmart, Amazon , and other retailers.

Julie is going to try all those suggestions, because she's had it with glassware that looks like it was washed with milk.

Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.

By now, we've all heard of Groupons. You may have used one, or have friends who swear by how much money they save with these deals. 

It seems everyone is finding great Groupon coupons to restaurants, stores and salon services. 

But its rapid growth is also revealing something else, some downsides you need to know about.

Valentine's Day Oops!

It wasn't a very romantic Valentine's Day for Groupon this year. The popular coupon site made headlines when it had to apologize for a half price FTD flower deal, after it turned out FTD's regular prices were lower than the Groupon deals. 

But that was just one of several glitches in the most successful internet business since Facebook. Jason Krueger of Deerfield Township, Ohio, told me of another potential downside you need to watch for: coupon limitations.

Watch for Limitations

Jason jumped on the daily Groupon deal for a local szechuan restaurant: if offered $25 worth of sushi for just $15. 

But he says when he and wife were seated, "we were immediately asked 'Are you using the Groupon tonight?' And that kinda threw me off." 

Jason tells me as soon as he said yes, the waiter told him he could order only full price items, none of the dinner specials on the menu. 

Jason told me "he proceeded to take the specials menu and cross off the prices, and write higher prices, which was getting even stranger." 

The restaurant manager did not want to be interviewed, but told me he simply can't afford to put a Groupon discount on top of already discounted dinners. He said he would lose too much money on that.

Beware Date Limits

Bev Riley told me a few months ago about another common downside of Groupon and similar sites like Restaurant.com: Often you can't use them on weekends. 

Bev said, "the certificate didn't say anything about Sunday to Thursday, but when I got to the restaurant Friday night it stated they did not accept the certificate Friday or Saturday night."

Business Owners Respond

Many business owners say they have to place limits, because Groupon deals are costly for them. The owner of a Portland, Oregon coffee shop recently blogged that a Groupon cost her $8,000, and made it impossible for her to meet payroll. 

The consumer website "Redeeming Riches," warns of downsides with all daily coupon sites.

  • It says read the fine print.
  • In many cases you can't use the certificates on weekends.
  • You often can't use them on alcohol, tax, or tip.
  • They often come with expiration dates, many times in just 6 months.

Groupon: Refunds Available

Groupon responds to the criticism by customers saying most groupon users and business owners are extremely happy with the deals. 

And it says it gives members refunds if they are unsatisfied. 

If you read the fine print, and know some potential downsides, Groupon can give you some super deals, and that way you don't waste your money.

By now, we've all heard of Groupons. You may have used one, or have friends who swear by how much money they save with these deals. 

It seems everyone is finding great Groupon coupons to restaurants, stores and salon services. 

But its rapid growth is also revealing something else, some downsides you need to know about.

Valentine's Day Oops!

It wasn't a very romantic Valentine's Day for Groupon this year. The popular coupon site made headlines when it had to apologize for a half price FTD flower deal, after it turned out FTD's regular prices were lower than the Groupon deals. 

But that was just one of several glitches in the most successful internet business since Facebook. Jason Krueger of Deerfield Township, Ohio, told me of another potential downside you need to watch for: coupon limitations.

Watch for Limitations

Jason jumped on the daily Groupon deal for a local szechuan restaurant: if offered $25 worth of sushi for just $15. 

But he says when he and wife were seated, "we were immediately asked 'Are you using the Groupon tonight?' And that kinda threw me off." 

Jason tells me as soon as he said yes, the waiter told him he could order only full price items, none of the dinner specials on the menu. 

Jason told me "he proceeded to take the specials menu and cross off the prices, and write higher prices, which was getting even stranger." 

The restaurant manager did not want to be interviewed, but told me he simply can't afford to put a Groupon discount on top of already discounted dinners. He said he would lose too much money on that.

Beware Date Limits

Bev Riley told me a few months ago about another common downside of Groupon and similar sites like Restaurant.com: Often you can't use them on weekends. 

Bev said, "the certificate didn't say anything about Sunday to Thursday, but when I got to the restaurant Friday night it stated they did not accept the certificate Friday or Saturday night."

Business Owners Respond

Many business owners say they have to place limits, because Groupon deals are costly for them. The owner of a Portland, Oregon coffee shop recently blogged that a Groupon cost her $8,000, and made it impossible for her to meet payroll. 

The consumer website "Redeeming Riches," warns of downsides with all daily coupon sites.

  • It says read the fine print.
  • In many cases you can't use the certificates on weekends.
  • You often can't use them on alcohol, tax, or tip.
  • They often come with expiration dates, many times in just 6 months.

Groupon: Refunds Available

Groupon responds to the criticism by customers saying most groupon users and business owners are extremely happy with the deals. 

And it says it gives members refunds if they are unsatisfied. 

If you read the fine print, and know some potential downsides, Groupon can give you some super deals, and that way you don't waste your money.