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November 17, 2001 - 7:39 a.m.

Minerals

I made an amazing discovery yesterday.

The town I live in has fantastically hard water. It comes from municipal wells, or will until next year when they have to switch to getting water from the river. The EPA has lowered the allowable level of radioactivity in municipal water supplies. And I was hoping the radiation would keep cancer growth in me at bay. The deck’s stacked against me in that regard. Ah well.

Last winter I remodeled my kitchen and carved out a space for a nice new Maytag dishwasher. I got tired of hand washing dishes. There wasn’t ever a dishwasher in this kitchen so I had to cut a space in the 8 foot sink base cabinet to fit it in.

I love it. But the incredibly hard water makes it a challenge… as in how much detergent to use. I think I got a little overzealous in the beginning and used too much, because my glasses started going from clear to frosty. Oops, I think I etched the glass.

My Intended just got a brand new dishwasher installed. The installer was quite an expert on dishwashers (and an old hand at trying to seduce the woman of the house… a fringe benefit. Didn’t work there.) He told her that one teaspoon of detergent was all that was needed. One teaspoon. I was filling the cups half full! And if there’s rust in the water (like what comes from my antique plumbing) putting Tang in the dishwasher will take the deposits off. The citric acid is what does it I guess.

So, I immediately backed off to one teaspoon, and my dishes still get as clean. And my glasses are getting frostier. The carafe from my coffeemaker is the most severe victim. It’s getting really disgusting. I was tempted to just replace it.

So on a whim, I got the trusty Lime-Away out and poured some in the carafe, and swished it around with the paper towel.

The glass became clear again.

Lo and behold what I was seeing was not chemical etching, but mineral deposits! Simple chemistry! I picked out the worst glass I had, wiped it with the Lime-Away stuff, and it’s clear again too!

Like they say on the commercials: “It’s simply amazing!”







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