My Hard Water Woes

Living in the Hill Country or any place that has hard water, you know about the constant battle with keeping things film-free. Up until a few months, I was losing the battle.

My dishwasher was caked with mineral build-up and the detergent dispenser wouldn't even close anymore. I sat one evening for nearly 30 minutes, painstakingly scraping the crud out of the hinge contraption trying to get the latch to take again, with no luck.

Then a passing remark by an older neighbor changed my life. And I'm not being overly dramatic here. She's 87 years old and we were mutually complaining about the quality of our well water. I mentioned that my less than one year old dishwasher was getting so gunked up I'd need to replace it soon. And we even have a water conditioning system. My glasses were so disgusting that the kids were embarrassed and starting to think twice about having friends over. Then this kind, older woman uttered two words that changed the course of my stemware saga.

The two words were: Lemi Shine

You can buy it at Target and Wal Mart (look in the dishwashing detergent section) and you can even buy 5-gal buckets of it direct from the manufacturer. I don't get any kick back for writing about this product, other then to hopefully help out some other reader who hasn't run across this miracle product and is about to drop kick her dishwasher out the back door. I will today save you several hundred dollars in destroyed appliances.

After only a week, my dishwasher was restored to its like-new condition. My glasses and dishes were gleaming. After the very first wash, I pulled out a glass and wanted to throw a party. I literally made my husband, daughter and son stop what they were doing and come into the kitchen to see the dishes. They were as thrilled as I was...ok, maybe not quite as thrilled, but they were smiling and shaking their heads and as shocked as I was with the transformation.

The glasses weren't pristine, that took a few more cycles through the wash, but they were night and day in their appearance. It meant we could stop handwashing them with a vinegar rinse and start having people over again.

Last night, I flushed my toilet and sprinkled Lemi Shine into the bowl. I let it sit for about an hour and then scrubbed, the orange stain wasn't completely gone but it was considerably lighter. I put Lemi Shine in the bottom of my coffee pot and ran a cycle of water through. I put Lemi Sine in a big ZipLoc bag, added water, put my shower head into the bag, zipped it up and let it sit overnight.

In the morning, I had a fresh, clean coffee pot and I took a shower without water shooting every which way. It had cleared the holes that were filled with gunk.

Because I was so hopped up last night on getting every last mineral deposit out of my house, I did more research on the internet and found that I could sprinkle a little Lemi Shine in the softener area of the laundry when I was washing whites. I haven't tried this yet -- but I plan to -- I'm actually looking forward to doing laundry.

And I discovered that you can clean the crud out of your hair -- no, don't use Lemi Shine in your hair, you'll be sorry -- mix 2-3 oz. of distilled vinegar with a couple of cups of water and use it as a final rinse. The pioneer woman website swore that the vinegar wouldn't smell, but I had my daughter and husband do the sniff test and my daughter thought my hair smelled weird and my husband, flat out said, "Vinegar." So next time, I'll do a rinse with vinegar and then do a really quick rinse with just water.

My hair, by the way, was really soft and bouncy when it dried. I haven't had it feel that way since our vacation to California.