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That good old-fashioned dishwasher flavor
Posted: 26 October 2012 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]
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So I’ve started to notice this year that my silicone spatulas and brushes are carrying a dishwasher taste—I’m not sure if it is the rinse aid or detergent. I really noticed it when I made a risotto and could not eat it because I detected a faint but distinctive dishwasher flavor. Gross!

The spatulas in question are around 10 years old. I don’t know if this is an issue of age, or if my taste has become more sensitive, or if it is that I have a different dishwasher now. At any rate, I really would rather not have to add one more thing to my hand washing list!

Has anyone else encountered this problem and found a solution to it? I would be interested in any recommendations for new spatulas or detergent (I use cascade complete) or even washing procedures. Thanks!

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Posted: 26 October 2012 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I also use Cascade Complete, but haven’t noticed any off tastes, even for objects that didn’t try completely.  I’d be more inclined to blame the rinse aid, since it’s added during the last cycle and is not itself rinsed away. I’m rather lackadaisical about refilling the rinse aid reservoir in my dishwasher, since I haven’t noticed any drying difference between using it and not.

I did have to throw away a metal spatula a few weeks ago because dish water was accumulating in the hollow plastic handle and became foul after a few weeks. Perhaps you have something similar occurring in the nooks of the utensils in question.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Matthew, you’ve hit upon one of my pet peeves!

This happens to everything plastic that I put in the DW- tupperware, silicone, plastic cutting boards, everything.  I think I posted a few years back that there was no joy in licking a silicone spatula, because it tastes like the dishwasher.  The bowl/parts to my food processor also have this problem, it is yet another thing that must be washed by hand.

My dishwasher is a bosch, not the most expensive one but should be good enough.  I also use Cascade complete packets.  I do not use any additional rinse aid and I do clean out my filter regularly (I shoot for once a week).  The Bosch machines do not have a food disposal (in order to remain quiet) so they do need cleaning.  Occaisionally, I even put a little bleach in the drain water in order to sterilize the S curve trap, where there is always water.  This makes the diswasher leak in the following cycle (anything alkaline- bleach, soap, etc. does this), but I prepare for it and still do it. 

I did use the Cascade packets that come in an unscented option for a while, and there was an improvement, but they didn’t clean as well and now they are not available locally.  It does appear to me to be due to the scenting of the detergent, because it changes when I change scent options.

Patrincia posted a long time ago that she didn’t think that Pampered Chef brands of spatulas retained odors, I haven’t tried them to see if they are any different.  I have spatulas from a bunch of different manufacturers and they all do the same thing.  Call me obsessive, but I reserve spatulas for specific uses and hand wash.  I have one for bread, one for chocolate, one for vanilla/light flavors, and several more that are reserved for savory (pesto, etc.)  And when it comes to strong flavors like chili peppers or raw garlic, I don’t let them touch anything that retains odors- only glass and metal (plus one reserved cutting board). 

I baked deep choc passion cupcakes once in silicone cupcake pans that had run through the dishwasher only once, and I had to throw them all away, they were strongly flavored by that dishwasher smell/taste, so silicone pans are out for me.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Have you considered running an extra short rinse cycle with no dishwasher detergent?

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Posted: 29 October 2012 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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@Charles T, would that be to rinse out the s trap?  How often?

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Posted: 29 October 2012 11:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Julie - 30 October 2012 01:57 AM

@Charles T, would that be to rinse out the s trap?  How often?


No, I was just curious as to whether the off flavors became imbued in the items themselves, or were a substance that was coating the items in the dishwasher.  Most dishwashers have a fast wash or rinse cycle that could be run without detergent after the items have already been washed once.

I realize that this might not be a long-term solution, because you probably don’t want to incur the added expense of essentially washing things twice, but it would be an interesting data point. If you used the powder or gel instead of the packets, does reducing the amount of detergent help?  Is your water hot enough?  Water softness?

Of course, this just might be the downside to your sensitive palate that usually works to your advantage. You might detect the same flavors in my dishes that I can’t perceive.

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Posted: 30 October 2012 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What a great idea!  Going to try it on my next DW load smile

I definitely have a sensitive palate.  I once went to a gathering where one of the activities was a blind tasting of colas to see how many could detect the difference between pepsi and coke.  Even though I had two glasses of wine (plus food) prior to the “test”, I was the only one who did it.  I was a little surprised as I always just thought I was more finicky by nature, never realized that it was due to hard wiring. smile

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Posted: 30 October 2012 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Julie - 30 October 2012 12:47 PM

I was a little surprised as I always just thought I was more finicky by nature, never realized that it was due to hard wiring.


You’re probably a supertaster.

Your Coke/Pepsi story reminds me of when Coke first opened a plant in the Soviet Union, where Pepsi had had a presence for decades.  At the grand opening celebration, President Gorbachev was given a sample of Coke to taste and he exclaimed, “It tastes just like Pepsi!”  Oh, the social awkwardness.  It’s one of those things we all know, but aren’t supposed to say.

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Posted: 01 November 2012 01:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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ah…... I have to say .... I do not think I am a super taster..but I can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.  If I must have cola, I prefer Pepsi.

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Posted: 01 November 2012 03:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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CRenee - 01 November 2012 04:24 AM

ah…... I have to say .... I do not think I am a super taster..but I can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.  If I must have cola, I prefer Pepsi.

Have you ever done a blind taste test?  Most people think they can tell the difference, but when put to the test, they can’t.

Down South, “Coke” is a generic name for a soft drink.  When I ask a waiter for a Coke and he asks “Is Pepsi OK?”, I’m a little annoyed because I consider them interchangeable.  It’s like, “we’re out of water, can I bring you water instead?” I actually don’t have any idea whether I could tell the difference or not.

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Posted: 01 November 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Back to the extra rinse option:  I just started rinsing the glass mason jars that I use for my sourdough starter (rinsing them after they’ve run through the DW).  Learned that my starter doesn’t really smell like dish soap in the first few hours after feeding, that was the dish soap residue in the jar!  I can’t wait to see what else a quick rinse can change!

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Posted: 02 November 2012 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks Julie and Charles for your thoughts on this vexing problem. Don’t think mine has a short rinse option, but will certainly check.

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Posted: 02 November 2012 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Matthew - 02 November 2012 05:33 AM

Thanks Julie and Charles for your thoughts on this vexing problem. Don’t think mine has a short rinse option, but will certainly check.

If it doesn’t, you probably could just start a full cycle and cut it short after just a few minutes.  In fact, that might be faster, cheaper option anyway.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I have no dishwasher, but I have had problems with my silicone spatula retaining strong flavors. The best thing I’ve found to remove the taste and smell is denture cleaner. I just follow the instructions on the box. Only once have I had to soak the spatula twice, but that was after making red chile sauce.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Wow, I would have never thought of denture cleaner. Will have to check that out.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Matthew - 26 October 2012 02:44 PM

So I’ve started to notice this year that my silicone spatulas and brushes are carrying a dishwasher taste—I’m not sure if it is the rinse aid or detergent. I really noticed it when I made a risotto and could not eat it because I detected a faint but distinctive dishwasher flavor. Gross!

The spatulas in question are around 10 years old. I don’t know if this is an issue of age, or if my taste has become more sensitive, or if it is that I have a different dishwasher now. At any rate, I really would rather not have to add one more thing to my hand washing list!

Has anyone else encountered this problem and found a solution to it? I would be interested in any recommendations for new spatulas or detergent (I use cascade complete) or even washing procedures. Thanks!

Do you put the dishwasher detergent in the compartments on the door? I use the Cascade in the little pillow packets. My repairman told me not to use the compartments but, instead, to throw them on the floor of the dishwasher because they don’t dissolve properly when incased (in my situation anyway).  I expressed concern about the heating elements at the bottom and he assured me they do not heat-up during that stage of the cycle.

Perhaps this would help as the detergent might be too close to your utensils.

Or, you can try putting them in the top rack.

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