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It’s not just a detergent – it’s an antiseptic

Ladies and Gentlemen: Time to come clean.

And by that I mean it’s time to announce the winner of a free, 5.3-pound (85-ounce) box of phosphate-enlivened Cascade dishwasher soap.

You know, the stuff that has been idiotically banned by eco-nannies who don’t want our dishes to sparkle.

Before getting to the lucky winner, however, a few observations are in order.

Every time I give away a box of Cascade the responses fall into three predictable groups.

Gentle, peace-loving naturists who’d love to club me into a bloody baby seal pulp for committing crimes against guppies.

Yoda know-it-alls who attempt to cajole me into trying some hippy-dippy phosphate-free concoction that will not only clean my dishes, but tastes great, too!

Insightful readers like Joe (no last name), who writes: “You are lifesaver. We just ordered a shipment (of Cascade) from … You should be nominated for the Consumer Advocate of the Year!”

Aw, thanks, Joe. But I’m no hero.

I’m just an average American who doesn’t appreciate being told what he can or can’t pour in his Kenmore.

And I’m not alone.

An entire rinse cycle of Cascade-loving emails and phone calls poured into Clark Central, making the task of choosing a winner a chore.

Katie Youngren went so far as to pen me an ode to soap.

“Oh, dear sir, please do come to my aid,

“For I’m down to my last of Cascade.

“It’s my only sure means,

“Of detergent that cleans,

“All the gunk stuck to my Rubbermaid.”

Ah, poetry in lotion.

Others tried to win my soap with funny lines, like …

• “Count me among those that want to see a white glaze on my Krispy Kremes, not my dishes,” – David Kamka.

• “You insist on grasping that big stick and whacking the hornet’s nest, don’t you? Love it – keep it up.” – Jeff Brown.

• “You must be eavesdropping on my kitchen every night when we look into the dishwasher and swear. Nothing is the same without phosphates.” – Jomarie Pupo Francis.

• “Please, oh, please, consider me when giving away your nice box of Cascade… My dishes need you!!!” – Lynda Haisley.

• “I’d love to have a box just to gloat to the narrow-minded polar bear savers at my work.” – Cory Goltiani.

• “I have a septic system and if we have any fish in our system that would be bothered by the use of a little phosphates, I say, ‘bring it on.’ ” – Trish Christenson.

• “I am crying out of sheer frustration and all that salt water has ruined my coffee. But I am now switching to brandy and soon I just won’t care.” – Judy Johnson.

• “I, like you, don’t think it’s acceptable to be told what kind of soap to use by our lawmakers. I, like you, enjoy eating off dishes that aren’t crusted with last week’s pancake syrup after 3 trips in the dishwasher.” – Janessa Todd.

• “Why would I like a box of phosphorous-enriched Cascade? Because I’m tired of deep-fried veal stains and blue whale blubber residue on my dishes.” – Matt Monroe.

Yep. There were plenty of worthy submissions.

Gary Olson went a step further. He actually offered to stand watch over my Cascade stockpile in light of the Spokane Police Department’s recent disbanding of its property crimes unit.

“Your celebrity status and now the public knowledge that you possess such a valuable commodity will undoubtedly make you a target of a future property crime,” he reasoned.

Nice try, Gary.

In the end, however, I was won over by the hilarious illogic of Becky Davis, a 5th- and 6th-grade teacher at Spokane’s Franklin Elementary School. (My alma mater, coincidentally.) In a highly imaginative and overly descriptive voicemail message, Davis blamed her inadequate dish soap for not stopping a nightmarish gastrointestinal bug that invaded her family the way Sherman took over the South.

What hit the Davis household is known by many names. Some call it the plain old stomach flu. Others may know it as the Hillyard Heave Ho.

The bottom line was that Davis’ daughter, hubby and son (in that order) wound up driving the porcelain bus.

“Our home was a barf-a-rama,” she said. “This is the kind of sick that starts out as sick and ends you know where.”


Davis took appropriate countermeasures. She said she hosed her house down with Lysol, washed all the bedding and cleansed every surface with antibacterial wipes.

“I can only suspect that it was the dishwasher detergent that allowed this to spread through our home,” she said.

“The lack of effectiveness of the bio-whatever-the-crap I’m using.”

It was as if the Davis family had been cursed.

“Right in the middle of this fiasco our dog got sprayed by a skunk,” she added. “I can’t really blame the dishwasher for that. But there might be a correlation, I’m not sure.”

Congratulations, Becky. And may the “Phos” be with you.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

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