Dishwashers + hard water = icky glassware

I hate, hate, hate it when my drinking glasses aren't spotless. I also hate to wash dishes by hand. If I have a perfectly lovely dishwasher in my kitchen (and I'm not talking about Gus), there is no reason why I shouldn't expect it to give me clean glassware. Am I right?

I've tried different dishwasher detergents - Kroger store brand that's a Cascade knock-off, Cascade (powder, gel, & ActionPacs), Finish Powerball Tabs (shouldn't I win something, if it's called Powerball??)...but we have really hard water here, and the deposits on the glassware are atrocious. The rest of the dishes are clean - I have no complaints there.

So far, my favorite dishwasher detergent is the Cascade Gel w/ bleach (call me crazy, but a slight scent of bleach just says "clean" to me and I feel like it gets rid of all the germs) and the Cascade Complete ActionPacs (It's just so easy to toss them in!). However, I hate the price of the ActionPacs!! Yikes! They're just dishes - it shouldn't cost a fortune to clean them!

I definitely needed to address the "dirty" glasses, so I went where we all go for advice on matters of the home. Pinterest! There are several Pins that seem to be popular for eliminating water spots, but the most popular one (and easiest!) was to put a cup of white vinegar in the top rack. Sounds easy enough. I have a cup, I have a dishwasher w/ a top rack, and I have white vinegar - and spotty glasses. Great! I don't even need to go to the store!

So here are two glasses that I took out of the cabinet. I have no idea what is inside the one. And apparently, whoever unloaded the dishwasher didn't check the glasses before putting them away. (But again, I say, if you've just washed the glasses in the dishwasher, you shouldn't have to check to see if they're clean!!!)

Since I had a  load of dishes, I popped these two glasses in the dishwasher as well. Then I added the white vinegar, in a bowl, to the top rack. I used Cascade Gel for washing.

A couple of hours later, I unloaded the dishwasher, and this is what I found:

The glass with just a few mild water spots was pretty clean.

The other glass looks better, but not enough that I would want to drink out of it. But I'll let that pass for now because who knows how long the glass was dirty. The vinegar might be promising, but I'm not convinced.

Then I decided to wash all of my glasses by hand to make sure they were absolutely clean. Then I had planned to put them in the dishwasher with the Cascade gel and a bowl of white vinegar on the top shelf. But Gus, being the ever-helpful husband that he is, started the dishwasher with a Cascade ActionPak (Mediterranean Lavender - hate the scent, but they were free from my in-laws, so I'm using them!) and no vinegar. So I didn't put the bowl of white vinegar in the dishwasher until the rinse cycle.

This is what I got...

The glass that was rinsed with vinegar in the dishwasher is definitely comparable to the handwashed glass!

I wondered whether or not there would be a vinegar odor since the dishwasher uses such hot water and the steam wafts out of it into the room, but I really only noticed a slight odor. Which was good, because I don't particularly care for the smell of vinegar.

Gallon of vinegar ($3.00) = 16 loads of dishes = $.19/load - it's a bargain!!

Now another issue - lipgloss!! Nothing I've tried in the dishwasher gets lipgloss off the glass rims. Argh!! I always have to wipe it off either before or after washing. So annoying!!

Now I'm thinking about making my own dishwashing detergent to see if it works as well (or better) and costs less...

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