Your Place: No film on glasses, but saucepans were spoiled

Posted: March 23, 2012

We've been focusing lately on finding products to accommodate "improvements" in technology.

What that sometimes means is that ideas make it to the market before they are ready for prime time.

The latest of these, of course, was dishwasher detergent. Makers reworked their formulas a couple of years ago to be phosphate-free, but the result was filmy glasses.

I took all your recommendations to heart, and we began using one, Cascade Complete, when we ran out of the Wegman's-brand powder. The Cascade is what I found at the Rite Aid around the corner.

So far it has worked out.

The other brands readers mentioned were LemiShine, Finish Quantum, and Finish Powerball.

Doy Athnos of Chicago offers a caveat to LemiShine that I'd be remiss if I didn't pass on.

"While LemiShine eliminated the cloudy film from my glassware, it also removed the finish from two of my Le Creuset enameled cast-iron saucepans and lids," Athnos said. "Their finish, both inside and out, was dulled and they were left with a fine rough feel, similar to an emery board. The pans were unpleasant to touch and lost some of their minimal-stick quality."

She contacted LemiShine, "and [being Texans], they were as nice as could be, giving me hope that they would offer me satisfaction by replacing my damaged saucepans. Ultimately, however, they did not accept responsibility."

On the other hand, the Le Creuset people behaved magnificently, she said.

"They instructed me to ship the saucepans and lids to their customer-service center, and promised either a gift certificate for 75 percent off the purchase price of the replacements or full replacement.

"Imagine my surprise when two new saucepans and lids arrived within a few weeks from Le Creuset, especially since it really wasn't their fault," she said.

When one door closes, another opens.

Let's open the door to other products with which readers have issues.

"I would like to add to your list of failed products," said reader John Denison.

" Fluorescent lights that leave my elderly mother unable to see in her own bathroom because the wait time for full brightness is longer than her time in the bathroom.

" Front-load washing machines that require special cleaning products to prevent mold, doors that must be left open to dry, and the machines' ability to pull the cord out of pants and sweatshirts.

" Liquid Nails is now apparently unusable as an actual adhesive. Ask anyone in the trades about it. After three failed projects, I now use the PL adhesives, until they are forced to change their formula and it doesn't work either."

I do agree with Denison about the front-load washer. You spend a zillion dollars for these things, and they haven't figured out how to stop water from stagnating in the rim.

Question: My mother and I live together in a nine-year-old home. My mother thinks we should have the ducts cleaned. I think it isn't necessary.

We do have a dog, a mixed terrier that sheds lightly. What is your advice on duct cleaning in a home heated with hot air?

Answer: I get this question periodically. Sixteen years ago, the federal Environmental Protection Agency recommended that ducts be cleaned when:

There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard-surface (sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.

Ducts are infested with vermin.

Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.

I read somewhere that the EPA had not changed its view in 15 years.

Obviously, if there hasn't been a problem - sneezing or coughing, dust blowing out of the registers when the furnace is running - then you probably don't need to do anything.

If your mother wants to have someone come out to look, well, then, it might reassure her, but have her check out the EPA website entry, and this informative blog,

Questions? E-mail Alan J. Heavens at or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies. He is the author of "Remodeling on the Money" (Kaplan Publishing).

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