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.