Miele 1/2 tabs not cleaning as well as they had been?

cat_momMarch 20, 2013

I have noticed of late, that stuff isn't necessarily coming out quite as clean as it had been using the 1/2 Miele tabs. Glasses sometimes come out of the DW with a little schmutz or a "greasy" film (especially if the glasses went into the DW all fingerprinted up--like they are when we are eating buffalo wings!). Flatware and dishes too have the occasional schmutz more often than I recall happening before. I haven't gotten a new box of tablets in a while, so that hasn't changed. I cut up a bunch at once, and store them in a pint deli container with a closed lid. Do the tablets degrade, or lose effectiveness over time? Do they have a "best by" date???

I ran a sani-cycle, and used the Miele DW conditoner recently, but I'm not sure it made a difference. I have used full tabs in a few recent cycles (esp if very full, or extra grimy), and I think the glasses came out "squeakier" clean than they have been in recent 1/2 tab cycles (prior to this, they came out perfectly shiny and clean using the 1/2 tabs).

Any thoughts from the Miele/Miele tabs gurus before I call Miele?

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fauguy

I'd suggest trying either Finish Quantum or Method Smarty tabs first.

For me, the older Miele tabs (that was blue/white/green layers) cleaned better than the newer Miele tabs (blue/white/blue layers). Not only do the newer tabs create more suds, I noticed that glasses (made of glass) have a bit of slippery feel to them, even though I'm using Miele rinse aid.

The Finish Quantum tabs clean really well, and contain bleach that can get rid of built-up coffee/tea stains, but it also discolored some plastic items.

So that is why I've been using the Method Smarty tabs (half a tab) for the past year. Cleans well, no bleach, no suds, no residue.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 2:35PM
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a2gemini

I am too "lazy" to cut the tabs - so I use the whole tab. I am thinking of trying Somat based on reviews or maybe Smarty basedon above.

Supposedly, Miele is getting their tabs from a different source - but the whole tab works fine.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 7:56PM
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cat_mom

I wondered if they had changed them, but the ones I've been using (for a number of months) are from the same box(s)/order, and I hadn't had these cleaning issues until somewhat recently.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Whit461

Why would someone pay as much as we did for a high end DW then have to cut tablets? Seriously? We have a Bosch 800 Plus waiting for counters to hook up plumbing and are planning on using Finish Quantum tabs.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:06AM
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ak0402

Whit461 - chill out - cutting tablets in half--or by the same token, using less powder or less gel--has nothing to do with the DW or how much you paid for the DW. It is because an entire tablet is often too much detergent for the load of dishes. The amount of detergent needed depends upon how dirty your dishes are, how loaded is your DW, how hot your DW water is, and how hard or soft your water is.

I think manufacturers up the recommended dose of detergent to sell more detergent. I use a half Method Smarty tab in each load, and my dishes and glasses come out sparkling clean, even with greasy spaghetti sauce or barbecue and the like. I don't actually cut mine in half - I kinda knock them on my counter and they break easily. I myself don't like Finish Quantum balls cause I can smell the bleach in it, and cause it can't be broken in half, but that's a personal choice. I have a Miele DW.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:44AM
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cat_mom

I agree with akchicago. Sometimes the recommended doses of products (and drugs), are overkill so to speak. For ex., the instructions on shampoo bottles often tell you to lather, rinse, repeat. The only time I might do that, is if I've been someplace very, very smokey (which luckily is rare these days ), or after a marathon of latke frying (after a while, the smell of frying latkes permeates the pores, through to my insides it seems!). Other than circumstances like those, one shampoo and rinse is plenty.

It's been my choice to use half-tabs (the original tablets were scored for this purpose). Sure, using full tabs is easier--drop one in, and done, no breaking or cutting involved. But, if my dishes and glassware came out perfectly clean and sparkling using 1/2 tabs, with the added bonus of extending the box of tablets through more loads (thereby saving money), to me that's a plus.

What I am questioning, is why the 1/2 tabs don't seem to be doing as a good a job as they had been all along (for almost 6 years at this point).

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:27AM
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rococogurl

@akchicago - I did cut a QF tab in half -- but only once. LOL. Squishy and too much work to clean the scissors.

catmom -- seriously, try the Method tabs. Maybe the water has changed for some reason.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 3:53PM
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fauguy

I'm still thinking is has to do with the way Miele changed their tab formulation.

Buy a 20 count bad of the Method Smarty Tabs (Go Naked smell-free) and try a full tab, or a half tab. For a few $, it's an inexpensive way to try and see if another brand may work better for you, before an expensive Miele tech visit.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:44PM
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venmarfan

Have you checked the filter lately, maybe something is partially blocking it?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 2:53PM
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venmarfan

Have you checked the filter lately, maybe something is partially blocking it?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 2:54PM
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cat_mom

I've cleaned the filter to be sure, and usually clean it once a month or so (rarely much to clean in/on it, if anything).

I will look for Method tabs and try them, but I am curious as to why the same tabs (same batch of tabs no less) that I've been using all along cut in half, don't seem to be cleaning to the same degree as they had been.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:23PM
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shadow700

Is it possible your water supply composition has changed (eg, increased hardness)?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:38PM
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eandhl

Just a thought, are you sure the water is heating in the machine to keep the water hot enough?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:49PM
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cat_mom

We have the water softener enabled in our Optima, so I don't think a change in the water hardness would affect the cleaning ability. The softener is set to soften the water when it reaches (is) 6 degrees of hardness (or higher).

We did a hot water hook-up, so the water going into the machine is hot to begin with. I would think if it's not heating it enough, even the full tabs would do a poor job of cleaning. The full tabs are working great, and the 1/2 tabs aren't horrible, just not quite cleaning as well as they had been all along.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:24AM
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eandhl

Wondering if the tabs could go stale - still useable but loosing some effectiveness? Thus working when you use the whole tab now. ????? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:20PM
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cat_mom

Maybe. Full tab didn't do a great job on my flatware earlier. Bummer!!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:52PM
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cat_mom

After the load with the dirty flatware, I tossed some white vinegar in the bottom of the DW, and placed a glass measuring cup filled partway with more white vinegar (1-1 1/2-1 3/4??? cups worth) in the middle of the bottom rack. Ran a Sani cycle. When that was finished, I poured the liquid sitting in the cup into the bottom of the DW, and ran it again, normal cycle, to make sure the vinegar was rinsed out.

I ran the DW last night--small load,and used a "small" 1/2 tab (I don't always cut them perfectly in half). Everything came out spotless, even the flatware. I will report back on future 1/2 tab and full tab loads. Maybe the vinegar helped clean out spray arms or other parts?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 9:42AM
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rococogurl

Sani Cycle always seems to do the job.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:08AM
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cat_mom

I ran a Sani cycle with no vinegar prior to using the Miele DW conditioner, so the cycle alone didn't do the job :( but I certainly hope this did the trick!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:22AM
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a2gemini

According to the Appliance Doctor - never store your tabs or DW under sink - the moisture ruins them - I do but they are in a sealed container but it might be part of the problem.

He also recommends using Tang to clean the DW - scary what it would do to us!!

I used the conditioner from Miele - and it looks great - but saved the container to use with Tang next time for comparison

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 10:38PM
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cat_mom

I have no place else to store them so they are accessible when I need to run the DW. I keep the whole tabs in their original package, but store the cut ones In a deli container.

Wonder if Tang does a better job than the vinegar??? Probably smells better! LOL

Not sure how well it worked. One or two loads looked great, one was so-so on the flatware (everything else in the load looked totally fine).

Running a full load with a 1/2 tab right now, so will see how it turns out.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:04AM
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a2gemini

Cat mom - how did they come out?
I had been using a zip lock bag to store them and have thu full boxes on a zip lock and the open ones in a deli container as well. My SIL uses one of those locking storage tubs for hers.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:46AM
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larsi_gw

I LOVE Somat 10 dishwasher tabs. Not sold in the USA, but my family that comes out every Summer from Germany usually brings me about 6-8 boxes, and they last me a year (I usually fun my Miele La Perla II dishwasher 3-4x a week). You might be able to order these from an online German or European store/market. NOTHING works better. I do not put chunks of food in my dishwasher, but I DO NOT pre-rinse anything. These Somat 10 tabs leave my dishes, glasses and flatware just sparkling!!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:06AM
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cat_mom

larsi--the Somat 3, 7, 10.... tablets appear to have salt and rinse aid in the tablets themselves. We add salt to our machine, as well as rinse aid, so I don't think we could use those tablets, even if we could find them???

a2gemini--everything came out spotless in last night's load (with the 1/2 tab). I am wondering if the uppermost spray arm--the one attached to the top of the DW, is/was clogged (with mineral deposit build-up, despite the salt and conditioner use recently) and perhaps the vinegar helped clear it up (or at least some of it)?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Cavimum

"Wonder if Tang does a better job than the vinegar???"
It probably would. You could also just buy Lemi-Shine and use that instead of Tang. Lemi-Shine is mostly citric acid, a Tang ingredient, without the and sugar and artificial color. It is stocked in almost all grocery and big box discount stores in my area, usually near the DW detergents. Citric acid really does a good job of dissolving mineral deposits from water. I learned about Lemi-Shine here on GW and am so grateful!

This post was edited by Cavimum on Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 13:14

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 1:13PM
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larsi_gw

cat mom...I run salt and rinse aid in my Miele LaPerla as well. I have used the Somat tabs for at least 3 years, and my dishes look absolutely amazing!!!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:21PM
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larsi_gw

@ cavimum...I LOVE Lemi Shine as well. I have used 2 bottles of the Lemi Shine Rinse aid, and it is great. I like it more than Miele, Somat and Jet Dry! It is not expensive, and just works great. With the regular use of the Somat dishwasher tabs and Lemi Shine rinse aid, I have not had to use Lemi Shine powder in a long time...but it is a great product!!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:24PM
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rococogurl

Somat 3 is sold on Amazon. Thing with having salt in the tabs though, would that salt cause pitting if you washed sterling?

@larsi -- do you find Somat10 superior to Finish Quantum?
Also, larsi, I wanted to ask you a few ??s about your washing machine if I properly recall you have a Miele. I'm a new owner, still trying to figure it out.

@catmom -- it would be interesting to see if you had better results with the Quantum -- just as a test since you seem devoted to the Miele tabs. I'm a fickle tab buyer though I did like the old Somats, just not their price.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:46PM
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whirlpool_trainee

Citric acid is better than vinegar as it's gentler and won't stink up your kitchen. Forget Tang.

Somat 10 contains a water softening agent - not salt. In fact, it contains >30% phosphates. You can use it with your water softener and rinse aid turned either off or to the lowest setting. I am currently using an 11-in-1 powder and didn't change anything about the rinse aid and softener settings on my Bosch and it works perfectly.

Somat 10 came out on top of the Finish products in a recent test by our consumer magazine. However, the Aldi powder was even better at a fraction of the cost.

If Larsi can speak German and is willing to give me his email, I can give him some info on Somat.

Alex

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 4:33PM
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dadoes

There may be misunderstanding of the role that salt plays.

It is not dispensed into the wash and rinse water ... the dishes are not washed/rinsed in salty water.

The incoming water flow when the machine fills for washing and rinsing is run through the ion exchange resin bed where sodium ions are exchanged for the hard-water calcium ions ... thus softening the water, but not making it "salty" as such.

The sodium ions get used up after a number of fills. The resin bed must be refreshed by flushing salt water through it during a regeneration process using the salt (sodium chloride) supply, then it's drained away.

This is the same process that occurs in a whole-house water softener, the dishwasher does it on a much smaller scale.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:00PM
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fauguy

dadoes,

That is correct is how it works. On my Miele Diamante, I have it set to 4-7 grains (since mine city water is 5 grains). Filling the bottom water softener with salt last a year, then the red led salt light comes on. About every 2 weeks when I turn the unit on and start a wash cycle, it will do a recharge cycle, as it fills and drains about 5 times before it starts to wash.

To the rest,

I just got in my order of Method Smart tabs from Amazon, since I only had a few left. It only took me about 10 minutes to cut all of them from six bags in-half for use. Maybe I'll give the Somat3 a try at some point, but it is more costly per load than the half Method tab. I don't understand why they don't sell them in the US.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 5:29PM
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cat_mom

Might try the Quantum tabs roc, but don't they have bleach (or is that a different one? I get them mixed up at this point!).

It's not so much wanting to use a different product. The product I have been using with great success all this time, and only a 1/2 a tab at that, just wasn't seeming to do the job as well lately (with no changes in usage or DW settings). Everything always came out clean and shiny, DW smelled fresh. no fragrance or chemical smell in the DW or on my dishes, glasses, etc. That's what made me wonder if there is or was something going on with the machine itself. If it was the product, and not the machine, I wouldn't have been getting great results all this time (5 yrs at least). Unless, there was a degradation of the tabs over time, as some of us are wondering....

I looked up the lemi-shine usage instructions. How does one stop the DW once it is filled, so it doesn't drain, and stays filled to soak for 4 hrs, as required by the lemi-shine?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:35PM
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weissman

Quantum Finish tabs have oxygenated bleach (not chlorine bleach) and enzymes. They do a great job.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 6:50PM
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rococogurl

I trade off between the two tabs now. Figure Method is better for my septic. Quantum is better on the tough stuff. Yes, it does have bleach but I don't mind that occasionally since it removes coffee and tea stains. Also, I don't use it every night. Have even used 1/2 Quantum but it's a messy cut. Method cuts better for lighter loads.

My logic: if there has been no change in usage or DW settings then I'd change up the tab. That will tell you if it's just old tabs that have lost their effectivness -- who even knows -- or some adjustment the DW needs. They age, like the rest of us.

If you were to try a Quantum, and get uneven cleaning, then seems you have more info. But that's just my thinking.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:02PM
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whirlpool_trainee

Can you not turn the machine off to let it soak?

This may come as a shock to some of you but, for what it's worth, I use two tablespoons (30 grams) per load in my frugal, water-softening Bosch. I do load it heavily, though.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Cavimum

" How does one stop the DW once it is filled, so it doesn't drain, and stays filled to soak for 4 hrs, as required by the lemi-shine? "

If you add something (plate, glass, etc.) to the DW after a cycle has started, do you have to push a button to restart the DW? We have to push a button to restart on our Bosch, so I don't know about Miele. (Our last DW, a Kenmore Elite, simply closing the door restarted it)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:00PM
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cat_mom

Next time I see you roc, bring a few Qiantum tabs for me to try! :)

I don't have to press any buttons if I open the door to add a dish or whatever. I just close the door and the DW starts back up. Don't know if that would be the case if I open the door further into the wash cycle. According to the usage PDF on Lemi-Shine's site, you need to stop the DW and let it soak without draining for 4 hrs. So how is this this done?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 10:54PM
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whirlpool_trainee

Turn it off by its Power button.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:18AM
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whirlpool_trainee

@ Larsi

I got your mail but it's not possible to respond to it when you send it via GardenWeb. I need your own address.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 4:55AM
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rococogurl

Will do catmom.

Fauguy, so sorry to hear about the issues on your dw. Things seemed to be going well after you switched tabs. So smart of you to have that waranty!

You can only now send/receive email through GW if you go into your profile and change a setting. They're "improved" things.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Cavimum

cat_mom - you only have to let the Lemi-Shine soak for 4 hours if you have heavy-duty build-up. On the label, the 4-hr soak is in finer print, as an alternate option. Otherwise, just put it into a regular or Sanitize cycle and go. That's what it says on my bottle of Lemi-Shine's label instructions.

If the spray arms are clogged with mineral build-up, will they be submerged if left to soak? If not, seems like only the floor of the tub is soaking.

Can the spray arms be removed easily? I know the Bosch ones can (I was surprised) because they have a youtube video on how to do it, and clean the holes. Perhaps Miele has something like this on youtube?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 8:10AM
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cat_mom

Thanks roc!!!! You're the best!

Thanks W-T. That makes sense!

Cavimum, I only saw the 4 hr soak instructions on the Usage PDF on their site. Haven't seen an actual bottle of it in person.

Our DW had better not have heavy duty build-up--I know the built-in water softener doesn't do anything prior to the water entering the machine, so there could very well be some build-up on the spray arms/holes, but one would hope the softener would help cut down on some of that.

I believe the spray arms can be removed for cleaning, will have to look into how to do that.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Cavimum

@cat_mom - I wonder if the quality of your water has changed lately. In the past few months, I can get away with using more detergent in our FL washer than I could six months ago, making me think ours is slightly harder right now. It might get soft again in the summer, we'll see. Our city water comes from a local river. Something to think about, and that might be all that is going on with your DW detergent dosing. Maybe your machine is fine.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 5:29PM
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fauguy

In case any of you are interested, I posted some pictures in the other thread of the rust spots on the under-side of the bottom rack and center rack. I would have never known they where there, except that I saw them when refilling salt in the water softener container. You guys may want to check your racks as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0417485229185.html?3

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 6:45PM
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cat_mom

Cavimum, I am sure that's possible, but we have the built-in water softener, and it is set to soften the water if the incoming water is 6 or higher. So, wouldn't the fluctuation in local water hardness be irrelevant?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:21AM
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whirlpool_trainee

Miele dishwashers mix softened and unsoftened water during the wash cycle. If you set the hardness to a certain value the machine will mix x liters of water that have run through its softener and y liters of untreated water for each fill to achieve a hardness of 4 degrees (IIRC) during certain stages of the cycle. If you set the hardness too low, more hard water will flow into the unit. That being said, even those non-phosphated detergents must be able to deal with some amount of water hardness.

Search for Miele Perfect Glass Care on YouTube. There will be a video on mieleonline's channel explaining how the system works.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 1:02AM
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whirlpool_trainee

Here's the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Perfect GlassCare in Miele Dishwashers

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:10AM
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cat_mom

Ran another 1/2 tab load last night. Everything clean. Ever since I ran the conditioner and then the vinegar through the machine, glassware has been coming out nice and clean. Flatware less consistently so, but better than it had been perhaps.

I am more convinced that the spray arms might have become clogged to some degree over time, and the vinegar has helped dissolve at least some of the build-up. We will take apart what can/should be taken apart and clean those parts and then see if that makes even more of a difference. I have a call into Miele to find out about obtaining a valve filter (advisability of use, and how to purchase).

Will continue to report back when we get a chance to clean the parts.

Thanks for all the advice so far!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:27PM
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