/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » a caveat

We have *really* hard water here. And it’s loaded with iron. Even with a water softener and the salt pellets that are supposed to care for the iron in the water, we get some pretty fierce iron staining in the shower, tub, and dishwasher. I’ve tried a ton of different things to get rid of it–from anti-rust products like Bam! and Kaboom! (why do these things have ‘action words’ and exclamation points in their names? They don’t work like that!), etc. Nothing has worked. The stains in the tub have been there since we moved in, and they’ve gotten progressively worse.

So I headed to google and searched for ways to remove iron stains. One of the suggestions was to use something I already had in my kitchen, Bar Keeper’s Friend. I use this on my stainless steel cookware and after almost 2 years of use, the pots & pans still look like new. So I love this stuff, but I never thought of using it anywhere except in the kitchen. It says “removes rust” right on the can, but I honestly didn’t think that iron staining was the same as rust. So Brendan & I took it upstairs and I told him, “This probably won’t work, but we’ll try it anyhow.” I sprinkled it in the tub and was shocked. I didn’t even have to scrub–I only rubbed the sponge and the stains came up easily and perfectly! Wooot!!

So fast forward to me reading reader’s tips on the BKF website. One person said it worked in his dishwasher, he just ran a cycle with it. So, having rust stains in our dishwasher that Tang and every other source of citric acid wouldn’t touch, we emptied it today and I put a bunch of BKF in there. I started the cycle and went up to get ready for the day, only to hear Brendan holler about 10 minutes later, “MOM! It’s coming OUT!!

I had no clue what he was talking about–and then I walked downstairs. If you remember the scene from “The Brady Bunch” where Bobby tried to wash his clothes on his own and there were suds that were about armpit-high from too much detergent, that’s a larger-scale of what my kitchen looked like.

Seriously. There were suds flowing out of the bottom of the dishwasher like CRAZY! So I stopped it, dispatched the 5 year old to grab rags from the linen closet, and tried to figure out what to do next. We ended up piling rags and mopping up the bubbles and then running it for another 5 minutes, with a hope that the bubbling would dissipate as the cycle ran.

No luck. Five minutes later, I turned it to the rinse cycle and drained the dishwasher tub and got more rags. I’m glad we ran it when we were home instead of as we slept (common) or as we walked out the door.

When we got home this afternoon, I checked the tub. It was drained, there were no more bubbles, and the floor was no longer wet. And the best part? No more iron stains!

But a caveat: if you use this product in your dishwasher, don’t use too much. Probably about a quarter-cup is more than enough. And watch for suds. Otherwise, you’ll be feeling like Bobby Brady and swimming through bubbles. 😮.

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Category: life musings
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