I had completely given up. I was frustrated beyond belief and felt helpless and hopeless. You see, we have a well and our well water is hard. Hard as in staining the toilets and tubs hard. The only way I've been able to remove the calcium and mineral deposits in the toilet has been to use a pumice stone and even then, it's hard work and quickly leads to the decision that I don't mind the stains so much after all (but, alas, I do).
What has reeaaaally gotten to me, though, is that over the last couple years (we've been here going on six) the hard water has rendered our dishwasher useless. The deposits have covered the heating element in the bottom of the dishwasher, making it difficult for the element to get the water to the right temperature to activate the dishwasher cycle. This makes the cycle much longer than it's supposed to be, thus wasting electricity and likely having adverse affects on the dishwasher itself.
What has reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaally gotten to me even more is that deposits have formed on my stoneware (everyday) dishes and drinking glasses. Also, since the dishwasher is messed up, food hasn't been getting washed off, it's been baking onto the dishes, staining them. This leaves our dishes not only looking frosty from calcium, but looking unwashed as well. Did I mention they feel rough and dirty? It's just lovely. Especially when you have people over.
We've tried everything we could think of. Jamey soaked and chipped away at the heating element. I bought special dishwasher detergent. We tried running the dishwasher with vinegar in it. Jamey used concoctions he read about. Nothing. Worked. What we really need is a water softener. And then a new dishwasher. And then new plates and glasses. None of which we have money for (or want to spend money on). This is what I thought.
About two weeks ago, I lost it (once again). What in the world is the point of putting dishes in the dishwasher if they don't get clean?!! Tell me! See? There is no point. So, I started boycotting the dishwasher and decided that I was just going to wash all our dishes by hand. I pretended it was like when we first got married when we had to wash all the dishes by hand. But that's hard to do when right beside your right leg lies a dishwasher. A dishwasher that you're furious with, nonetheless.
AND! Washing all our dishes made my hands hurt. No, I'm not just a wimp. I'm a wimp who knows one day I'm going to deal with some heavy duty arthritis in my hands. It crops up now and then and I have to back off whatever I'm doing. Hand-washing dishes was not going to be an option.
Am I making this story too long? Sometimes I think I make stories too long. I think this is because I type whatever flows out of my head and my head holds all the details of the long version of a story, so that's what flows out and it's hard to hold my head back and convince it that some people might not like the long version and may want me to get. to. the. point.
Back online I went in search for the magic cure for all my dishwasher, dishes and drinking glass woes. And you know what? I found it.
I am so very pleased to introduce to you Lemi Shine...
This, my friends, is an amazing product. It's all natural- made of citric acid. It's a powder and you put it in your dishwasher where you put your normal dishwasher detergent. For the first cycle, we used only Lemi Shine. Jamey and I could not believe the results. ALL the dishes were clean. ALL the white residue was GONE. ALL the dishes felt SMOOTH. We just stood in the kitchen caressing our dishes. The drinking glasses showed great improvement and over the next several cycles have lost ALL their frostiness. After the first cycle and ever since, we've been using about 2 tablespoons of Lemi Shine in the main detergent compartment and filling the rest of it up with our regular detergent.
It seems so ridiculous that something as simple as clean dishes could make a person happy, but it has. You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning? You know something good will happen that day or happened the day before, but you can't quite put your finger on it right away? That's how I felt the morning after we used Lemi Shine. All of a sudden it hit me- no more embarrassingly dirty and ugly dishes! No more washing dishes by hand! No more having to explain to guests that our dishes have been washed even though they don't look it. No more need to replace the dishes- or the dishwasher!
This stuff has cleaned the inside of the dishwasher good AND the deposits are slowly coming off the heating element. I also soaked the bottom of our plastic (calcium-encrusted) water pitcher in 1 tablespoon of Lemi Shine and about an inch of water. After a couple hours, all the deposits washed right out and the container looks as good as new. With the same technique, I've cleaned water-ring stains out of several glass vases. If you don't know what I'm talking about here, you don't have hard water and you can count yourself lucky. My next project is to clean our toilets and put some Lemi Shine in the bowls to soak overnight. If it works, I'm going to kiss the container of Lemi Shine. Oh yes, I will.
SO. If you live out in the country (or not) and deal with hard water that is making you crazy, I wholeheartedly recommend Lemi Shine.
The Lemi Shine folks have no idea who I am. I wrote this little review because I am smitten with their product. You can search for a store that carries it and read all about it (including some warnings for certain surfaces) on their website or you can buy Lemi Shine off Amazon (click on picture to left- I got two 12 ounce bottles for the price listed) using Swagbucks.
May you, your dishes and dishwasher live happily ever after.
UPDATE! Dustin from Lemi Shine commented below on how you can get a FREE sample of Lemi Shine by going here and requesting one. Thanks, Dustin and Lemi Shine!