Friday, October 29, 2010

White, chalky film appearing on washed dishes around Pinellas County

Pinellas County residents have been noticing a white, chalky film appearing on their dishwashers.

  • pinellas county, dishwashers
  • pinellas county, dishwashers
By Jonathan Petramala, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, October 28, 2010 2010/10/28

Pinellas County residents have been noticing a white, chalky film appearing on dishes in their dishwashers.
"I bought a new dishwasher, a new hot water heater, and my dishes are still covered in this white film," homeowner Paul Toth said.
"We have to get out the Dawn, fill up the sink, get out the scrubby pad and literally sit here and do it the old fashioned way," Toth said.  "I'm one of those guys, you don't like to do things twice if you don't have to. It's almost gotten to the point where I'm going 'Why we are using the dishwasher anymore because it's not working?'"
At appliances stores like APSCO on East Bay in Clearwater, salesman Bobby McDearmon is hearing many of the same complaints.
"It's unbelievable. Somebody buys a nice, top of the line dish washer, something with a stainless steel interior and then a couple of months later they're in here yelling and screaming because it's not performing properly," McDearmon said.
His store has started giving away free samples of a product called 'Lemi-Shine' with every new dishwasher they sell.
"We actually got ahold of the company that makes it so we can give it out as a free sample, just because we know the hard water is so bad with the types of soap that are available to us today," McDearmon said.
While the water in Pinellas County does have a lot of minerals in it, the county's utilities director Robert Powell says the water isn't completely to blame.
"Looking at all the data, there hasn't been any significant change in the water that we're delivering to customers since 2002. The big change that has occurred has been on the detergent side of the picture," Powell said.
Powell said in response to states banning detergents with phosphates in them, companies have lowered the amount of phosphate in the detergents we buy. Phosphates help keep dishes spotless, but when they drain into waterways they can cause an overgrowth of vegetation that can kill wildlife.
Powell said the minerals that cause the white, chalky film on the dishes are not harmful to consumers.
"It's an aesthetic issue, not a health issue at all," Powell said.
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Is anyone here thinking?
Anita Stewart wrote:WOW! Blame it on the dishwashers or the detergent, that is just too easy. But really now, who is drinking this water? You, your kids, your pets? I hope not. It is easy to take samples of this and get it tested at a lab to see what chemicals, toxins or minerals or a combination of those things are causing this. If it is toxins, still sure you want to use this water without boiling it? Think, people! Anita Stewart Candidate for Hillsborough County Soil and Water Seat 5
It's the water!!
2010-10-28 23:21:00
Report this post Lori wrote:It has to be the water. We installed a water softner and problem solved.
2010-10-28 23:15:00
Report this post sue wrote:I don't use Cascade and I have the white film. It's the water.
2010-10-28 21:23:00
Report this post Duster wrote:Mr. Powell, understand that it is an aesthetic condition, but when you go out to eat, or clean your dishes at home, do you want this condition? Then please investigate and FIX IT!!
Not just in Pinelles but Pasco and Hillsbroug
2010-10-28 20:45:00
Report this post C wrote:Well now i know what the issues I am not sure how to fix it unless they put the phosphate back. I am so over GREEN. I am Anti Green. Some one is getting rich while we get stuck with crap on our plates and things that run through the dishwasher. I hope some one comes up with a solution for this soon.
I have the issue too..
2010-10-28 19:51:00
Report this post Echo wrote:but seriously? over reaction much? Mass poisoning of Fl? Your dishes are "ruined" because it has a residue? I once a week skip the dish washer, and HAND WASH with water and vinegar and a little soap and it all comes right off. Golly gee.'s ruined right?
Spend a thousand for a water softener or do like I do.
2010-10-28 16:55:00
Report this post Mr. Hanky wrote:Don't look at them.
Spots on the dishes? Let me ask my wife.
2010-10-28 16:50:00
Report this post Mr. Hanky wrote:She says to clean the filters and use vinegar. Wait. She says if you use the vinegar it will make your racks rust faster and they aren't cheap to replace.
Glad I'm Not Alone Here
2010-10-28 16:42:00
Report this post Pat wrote:This has been happening to me for the past few months. White film all over everything. But, didn't start doing this until this summer...maybe since July. Before then...I had no spots on my dishes. Now I'm rewashing them by hand. Very frustrating.
white chalk on dishes
2010-10-28 16:21:00
Report this post Loretta wrote:It happens to me when I use a cheaper detergent. The only one that cleans the dishes for me is Cascade Complete. It even cleans the dishes that have gone gray.
No help !
2010-10-28 16:05:00
Report this post Kim wrote:I have had my dishwasher repair man at my house 3 times in the last 3 months and even started looking at new dishwashers. Amazes me that he would not know about this problem.
Want hard water
2010-10-28 15:38:00
Report this post mss wrote:Think of the people that live in rural parts of the state like my friends that have well water as there primary source of water they clean there tub twice a week and in between that cleaning time it turns BRIGHT ORANGE and then to RUST COLOR cause of the minerals in the water NATURALLY so STOP spending money on new appliances its not the appliances fault nor the water company's its just FLORIDA
"Eco Friendly" Detergent
2010-10-28 15:34:00
Report this post StPetePilot wrote:Bottom Line: DON'T use it! It is crap and you might as well was your dishes with flour-water paste. Phoshphates are a perfectly natural substance. In fact 25% of the entire world supply comes out of the ground just east of us.
They're lying
2010-10-28 15:13:00
Report this post Steve wrote:I am having the same proble but it is with my ice maker. I cleaned out 10 gallons of water after installing a new filter. The other one was 3 weeks old. I have let ice melt in a glass and it leaves the chalk mess in the bottom. So it is the water system itself. They just don't want to pay for all the stuff that is gettng messed up.
water softner
2010-10-28 15:02:00
Report this post KB wrote:We had a water softner added that needs no salt. They come out and change the tank every month. My dishes are spotless. It's the best thing we ever did.
OMG! I thought it was just ours!
2010-10-28 14:49:00
Report this post Laura wrote:Wow, and here I thought our dishwasher was the problem (or putting too much dish detergent in). I've only noticed this problem for a few months. Our dishwasher is I want to say like, 10-12 years old. We've lived in our house 5 years now - now this might make my argument to hubby to buy a new dishwasher even harder! lol
My pots and pans
2010-10-28 14:39:00
Terri wrote:are also ruined from it! and it has just started a few months ago!
Film on dishes
2010-10-28 14:38:00
Report this post ME wrote: We have had this for years - it only seems to be the glasses. We have soft water,new hot water heater. Thats not problem. The problem is they have removed the phosphate from all brands of dishwashing soaps. I cannot put my company glasses in dswshr-its most embarassing.
2010-10-28 14:38:00
Report this post Terri wrote:it's not only cascade, it's every kind! It's the water. I think the health department should be called. I'm scared we're being poisoned with chemicals! This is not gooD!
2010-10-28 14:32:00
Report this post mss wrote:the water department's job is to keep our water safe to drink not for cosmetic purposes
2010-10-28 14:31:00
Report this post Terri wrote:I've had this dishwasher for 9 years and I have had no problems until a few months ago! THERE'S SOMETHING GOING ON! NOW I AM CONVINCED OF IT!
White chalky stuff on dishes
2010-10-28 14:30:00
Report this post Terri wrote:We have had it too for months. It started all of a sudden. I thought it was the cheap detergent I was buying so I started buying the expensive powdered stuff and still have it. I don't like having it on the dishesafraid we're getting poisoned from chemicals! I DON'T BELIEVE THE EXPLANATION. I THINK AN INDEPENDENT STUDY IS IN ORDER!
2010-10-28 14:29:00
Report this post mss wrote:Ok people here is the problem most of Florida Sits on top a HUGE CALCIUM DEPOSITE CALLED LIMESTONE and MOST of OUR WATER COMES FROM THE AQUEFERS below the groung so the water comes up through that and takes the CALCIUM and IRON and other things with it so deal with it
White residue
2010-10-28 14:28:00
Report this post Ruta wrote:Use WHITE VINEGAR. Had the problem like everyone a few weeks ago and my daughter suggested white vinegar. I through in more than a half cup in the last wash or rinse and it worked. Now, last week the white stuff is back. I believe Cascade has changed their formula. I plan on calling them, looking for this lemi- wash stuff and continue to use the white vinegar; it is great in the clothes washer
2010-10-28 14:26:00
Report this post Synde75 wrote:It's the water! Just put tap water on your car windows at night and in the morning you have white spots and streaks where the water was!
Just returned Cascade to Sam's Club
2010-10-28 14:18:00
Report this post Sue wrote:Had bought a huge box of powdered Cascade and with in 1 week the white film appeared. I cld Famous Tate & was told my less than yr old Maytag was not the problem its the detergent w/o phosphates. I purchased the LemiShine & Finish Gel at Walmart now we'll see what happens here in New Port Richey.
My solution
2010-10-28 14:07:00
katia wrote:I had the same problem months ago in Tampa. White vinegar was the solution. Start from 0. Fill up the sink with 50/50 water and vinegar, no soap. Soak your dishes for a few minutes and run a sponge on your dishes before rinsing, remember NO soap. The vinegar dissolves the soap scum in a few minutes and rinsing with clean water washes the vinegar out of your dishes. Place 1 or 2 cups of vinegar in t
2010-10-28 13:48:00
Report this post JB wrote:I had the same thing happen and I thought it was the generic dishwasher soap I bought, WinnDixie brand. Now I can't seem to get rid of the white stuff.
Dishwasher Water Problem
2010-10-28 13:14:00
Report this post Dan wrote:I'm an Major Appliance Technician 15 years. Cheapest product to use is Tang Orange Drink it works! The #1 problem after water quality is customer puts too much soap in Dishwasher,and never use soap that's not for Dishwasher or you will have a Kitchen full of SUDS!!!
film on dishes
2010-10-28 13:10:00
Report this post cheri wrote:we have been using Lemi-shine for yearsit helps but you do have to make sure the water in the dishwasher is hot enough and nothing is blocking the rinse cycle. Our water actually sucks donw here. You think with all the technology today that they could come up with a better system. No wonder people by so much bottled water.
White Residue on Dishes
2010-10-28 12:54:00
Report this post M wrote:I thought this was a product issue. I quit using "Finish" dry packs with Dawn as it almost ruined my dishwasher with globby white stuff. I have been manually "pre-rinsing" my dishes with "Lime a Way" and use American Fare Dishwasher Gel and my dishes come out great. However, I would love to be able to skip the "pre-rinsing" step so I am going to look for LemiShine.
easy fix
2010-10-28 12:47:00
Report this post Mr. Dave wrote:I solved this problem by adding a water softener. No more spots on my dishes!
Hot Water Heater?
2010-10-28 12:29:00
Report this post bb wrote:No need to heat hot water. Think of the environment!
lemi shine
2010-10-28 12:26:00
Report this post acidrayne wrote:This stuff used to work great at first but now I've noticed it only does half the job it used to.I have also ran my cycle a couple times with those dish washer cleaners and still no change. Now I put a good size drop of Ajax liquid dish soap in with my powdered detergent. No more residue!
Chalky film
2010-10-28 12:07:00
Report this post David F wrote:I started using Amway Legacy of Clean dishwasher powder, and soon I had clean, spot free dishes. This stuff is highly concentrated, and does a great job. The same goes for Amway SA 8 laundry detergent. A little goes a long way, and the film is gone.
2010-10-28 11:47:00
Report this post Mongo wrote:Had the same problem in New Port Richey. 13 months ago bought a new Kiction Aide. 2 months ago dishes were chalky. Ran Vinegar through the unit. Switched to Finish Gell from Cascade. This cleared up the problem but it seems to be coming back
Cascade Tablets are the problem
2010-10-28 11:39:00
Report this post Don wrote:My dishwasher,after using these tablets for over a year, got to a point where it wouldn"t clean dishes anymore and had chalky residue. I flushed out the dishwasher with a caustic toilet bowel cleaner first, then I flushed with White Vinegar then with fresh water. I switched back to liquid dishwasher cleaner and rinse aid, now the problem is gone! Don"t use Tablets!
happens to me too....
2010-10-28 11:30:00
Report this post A wrote:I live in Hillsborough and have been experiencing this for the past few months. I have lived in the same place for almost 2 years and no problems..I have changed dishwashing liquids which made no differnce, my dishes are all ruined.
Chalky film on dishes
2010-10-28 11:29:00
Report this post Mary Lou wrote:Well, to set the record straight, this happened to me also and it was the Cascade. I called Cascade, filed a claim, seeing as I bought a new dishwasher because I thought it was that, and they sent me envelopes to send back some of the dishes and silverware and also the box of cascade. I put the claim if for $398.00 and I did receive a check from them for that amount to cover the cost of damages.
white chalky film
2010-10-28 11:17:00
Report this post Pam wrote:We also have this problem. it has been going on for months now. was using the cascaede tablets and was doing fine then this film started appearing on the dishes i cleaned the dishwasher and it still was happening they say its the detergent im using but it was fine since last christmas when i started using the cascade and didnot buy anymore until this problem arised as i changed detergent and the
film on dishes
2010-10-28 11:16:00
Report this post ep wrote:maybe it is time for the health dept. to get involved.i have the same problem and live in north pasco co.
2010-10-28 10:56:00
Report this post Kathy wrote:OK People, I experienced this same issue several months ago. Not only were my dishes coated with a chalky residue, my dishwasher sounded like a jet airplane when taking off. My sister said it was the Cascade. SO I switched to a gel pak and no more noise or white film. I threw out a whole new box of Cascade. Talk about pi88ed off!
Water softener
2010-10-28 10:53:00
Report this post Randy1 wrote:So true once I added a water softener to my house my problem ended. Up until that point I used CLR (calcium lime rust remover) by added it to my dishwasher cycle. Its safe and also works great in the shower and sinks.
White chalky film on dishes
2010-10-28 10:53:00
Report this post Sherilyn Toscano wrote:I cleaned my dishwasher using "Glisten" which I purchased online ; you need to do this once a month. Then I soaked all of affected dishes in white vinegar & rinsed & washed everything in the dishwasher using "Ecover" automatic dishwasher tablets which I purchased at Nature's Food Patch. I have been doing this for 2 mo. & have no further problems with the white chalky film.
Water Softeners
2010-10-28 10:47:00
Report this post garyinclw wrote:My salt exchange water softener really works to solve this problem. However, you can pay WAY too much if you do not ask around. Lots of hucksters out there. I had mine installed 6-7 years ago by an independent plumber for about $600 - the parts are about $500 now from a plumbing supply and should take about 3-4 hours for a plumber to install. I have the Fleck 5600 valve and have had no problems wha
2010-10-28 10:45:00
Randy1 wrote:Run a cup or two of CLR through a cycle two clean dishwasher. Then about a shot glass once a week for maintenance. Huge difference. You can run the dishes through with the wash cycle with CLR (they will be rinsed clean)It removes the build up already on them and the washer. Try it.
Water quality
2010-10-28 10:32:00
Report this post More govt. lies wrote:I've been using the same Shaklee non-phosphate, non-toxic dishwasher detergent for the past five years. Dishes sparkling clean and safe. Now, in the past few months, nothing at my end has changed but I'm getting a film on my glasses and dishes. Had water softener and dishwasher checked, nothing wrong with the appliances. Called water dept. only to be told it's the fault of detergents but my use
Obviously there *has* been a change in the water
2010-10-28 10:30:00
Report this post 727guy wrote:Something changed. Our dishes used to come out spotless and virtually overnight we started ending up with a chalky film. This was during the use of an existing supply of DAWN gelpaks. Did they change the formulation in their product by sneaking into our house and replacing product we had already bought? Moreover, I've noticed an aftertaste in our drinking water lately. It's become almost unbearab
Chalky residue in Hillsborough also
2010-10-28 10:30:00
Report this post sh wrote:I have the same chalky residue with my dishes in Hillsborough County as well. Almost bought a new dishwasher. Was told by Sears clerk to try Lemishine (Target and Walmart have it). Put in one slot and dishwashing liquid in other slot - works great!!
Pasco also
2010-10-28 10:26:00
Report this post coach wrote:Same problem in Port Richey
I don't have a problem - don't use the drying element.
2010-10-28 10:23:00
Report this post pulimaster wrote:My dishes come out great,and I live in St. Petersburg. But I have my drying element switched off (energy saver switch), which saves electricity and reduces the heat the dishwasher throws into the house. When the load is done, there is very little water left on the dishes. I just open the dishwasher door and pull the racks out, and let them air dry which does not take long. Saves money and the d
glad I'm not alone
2010-10-28 10:21:00
Report this post Kathleen wrote:what a relief to know that I am not alone!! Thinking it was the dishwasher! Will definitely look for the lemi-shine at Publix TODAY!
water softner remove hardwater
2010-10-28 10:19:00
Report this post Free-Flow Plumbing wrote:I have had customers with similar problems in other counties including pinellas county. The best solution to the chalky residue is caused by hard water which is very common in our area. The installation of a basic water softner system will eliminate hard water build up on dishes and plumbing fixtures thru out the whole house and can be installed for less than a $1,000.00
2010-10-28 10:14:00
Report this post rickr wrote:Before you use muriatic acid, look it up on Google. It is listed as one of the most dangerous chemicals you can use. It is hydrochloric acid in its worst form.
Water Quality
2010-10-28 10:09:00
Report this post wilbur wrote:Lime is not fit for human consumption and over time can cause stones in your body..........
2010-10-28 09:52:00
Report this post G wrote:I have had the same problem and so has my sister and she just got a new water softner. If you put all the nasty dishes with the white film on them and run them in the dishwasher with vinegar it will clean all the film off. Scrubbing by hand won't get it off. I had been using Cascade and so does everyone that I know that is having this problem. Switch to the Finish GELPACS and your dishes will be sp
Dish Washers
2010-10-28 09:50:00
Report this post Judy wrote:If you are using Cascade, you are probably experiencing the same thing I am. Go to on the internet and read all the complaints from all over the country about their "new, improved dishwasher detergent" that has recently come out.
White film on dishes
2010-10-28 09:46:00
Report this post John wrote:We had the same problem used lemi shine along with detergent as directed. Found a cheaper solution Finish dishwash. Tablet type dishwash and removes film
Chalky film on dishes and glasses
2010-10-28 09:39:00
Report this post Vicki wrote:White vinegar is the answer. It's cheap and non-toxic. Use in your dishwasher as a rinse instead of JetDry, etc. Dishes and glasses come out spotless. Water is very hard in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Have always had this problem in the 15 years I have lived in both counties.
2010-10-28 09:39:00
Report this post Calli wrote:I though it was just me! This article may say it is only an aesthetic problem, but I'm not sold. I'm tired of having to pre-scrub my dishes, but I want them CLEAN. I just can NOT eat off of chalky plates, silverware, or glasses. Guess I'll be asking Santa for a water softener system this year. :(
Chalky film
2010-10-28 09:32:00
Report this post Kay wrote:I too have noticed a chalky film on my dishes however I only notice it when I use the Phosphate free dishwahing liquid
Chalky film on dishes & dishwasher
2010-10-28 09:31:00
Report this post Nancy wrote:I'm glad to find out I'm not alone. My dishes and glasses looked like the picture above. Worse of all the inside of my four-year-old Whirlpool was caked with hard white deposit. I had been using Member's Mark dishwasher detergent for a couple of years. It took 2 weeks and 4 "experts" to chip and vacuum the stuff out. The drain area was the worse and the hardest. A friend tipped me off to Lemi-S
white on dishes
2010-10-28 09:29:00
Report this post KKinPasco wrote:I don't have a dishwasher either and the only way to keep the spots away is to hand wash and dry.And I really want a Dishwasher!
Lousy Water
2010-10-28 09:29:00
Report this post Peggy wrote:This started just a few months ago, The Times had a better article...I complained to the county, they responded with giving me a phone number to the city...there is a definite change in our water...why don't we know what it is? Answers would be better!
2010-10-28 09:25:00
Report this post David wrote:Acid is the secret. Dishwasher Magic, LemiShine, Vinegar, or a little Muratic Acid from the pool store. The minerals are various calicum compounds that disolve in acid. But be careful too little will not clean, too much will damage your dishwasher.
I am in Hillsborough having the same problem
2010-10-28 09:24:00
Report this post MIchelle wrote:I too have been having the same problem for about 2 months. I am so glad to see this article. I thought I was going crazy.. The film is awful. I threw a way a colanda because it looked like a health hazard. Didn't want that white stuff in my food.
Dishwasher Magic
2010-10-28 09:22:00
Report this post David wrote:I had this problem in the past, minerals in the water precipitate when heated. The plate out on many of the internal components of your dishwasher reducing it's ability to rinse cleanly. You can purchase a product at the grocery store to clean yor dishwasher. Works great.
white film
2010-10-28 09:18:00
Report this post Debbie wrote:I appreciated this report. There is some normal anxiety expected when people are worried about water, since it is essential to stay alive. Thank you. PS I also appreciate thorough and honest reporting on world and political issues.
Dishwasher chalky film
2010-10-28 09:10:00
Report this post Bob wrote:I've steadily noticed an increase over the past year of a white film on my "clean" dishes. I threw away my glasses thinking they were worn/scratched but the new ones now look the same. Not only has been dishwasher been affected but my clothes washer seems to take forever to fill due to mineral build-up in the water lines and I have had to rip out my shower facets and replace. Would a water softe
chalky film
2010-10-28 09:09:00
Report this post pm wrote:I live in Hillsborough county and started having this same problem a few months ago. Drives me crazy because I have to handwash the glasses and silverware and use a scrubbie to get the white film off. I will try the Lemi Shine, if I can find it.
lemi shine
2010-10-28 09:00:00
Report this post Dan wrote:I've been using lemi shine for years. You can get it at Publix and Walmart but it's very hard to find. I had to get a case off the lemishine website once. It really works and my glasses are spotless again.
Lemi Shine
2010-10-28 08:59:00
Report this post Melissa wrote:Lemi Shine does wonders. I have found it at Publix and Walmart. It is near the Jet Dry products. For a small bottle of crystals it runs in the 3-4 dollar range
white chalky film on dishes
2010-10-28 08:57:00
Report this post pj wrote:I am a caregiver for my husband. Due to his ill health I need to have my dishes go through the anti-bacterial cycle. The dishes are #1, not clean and #2 have the white chalky film as well. I think the "Green" people have really gone to far with their ideas. I would like to see the statistics on the amount of wildlife that is killed due to the phosphate in the waterways.
me too
2010-10-28 08:52:00
Report this post jackie wrote:My dishes have been coming out the same way as these people for at least a year. My glass cups are terrible. I don't want to use them when company comes over because they look so bad. I tell my family they're clean but they don't even want to use them. I'm going to try this Lemi Shine. Where can I get some? anyone know?
total bunk!
2010-10-28 08:50:00
Report this post RBinStPete wrote:I have no dishwasher and have the same thing. When the water heats up, the "minerals" separate from the water and adhere to the dishes. I have a small pot that is covered in this white stuff from boiling water in it.


Dustin said...

Everyone can get Lemi Shine samples at if they are combating hard water.

Tom said...

Same problem in Maryland. Our dishes started getting the film this summer. We're being told it's the lack of phosphates in detergent (state environmental laws). If you ask me, this is environmentalism run amuck . . .

Anita Stewart said...

Dustin, what is in that chemical? Adding chemicals to possibly more chemicals is going to create even more toxicity.

This is the first thing that needs to be done...
Tom, citizens like you in MD and the people of Pinellas County, FL need to get together, collect funds and do regular sampling and testing of your water. For your own safety and that of your fellow citizens and families.

Kris said...

I received a letter from Pinellas County Utilities - They said they were switching whatever they use to disinfect the water and that we might notice a change in the water. I haven't seen film but I certainly noticed the water tastes horrible! I filter my water and at first, I thought the filter was old so I bought a new one. Nope. It is the water.

CitriClean said...

This might be a problem with your detergent and your water, not your machine. Many state governments have recently passed laws that changed the ingredients in dishwasher detergents. Consequently, the detergents don't work very well in hard water. The dishes aren't dirty but they have hard water deposits on them (mostly calcium and magnesium). I created a product to solve this problem. It's all-natural, contains no phosphates, and it works great. It will make your dishes AND dishwasher look like new again. It's a powder. You add 1-2 tablespoons per wash cycle and you use much less of your normal detergent. So your cost per wash does not increase. CitriClean pays for itself!