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Monday, November 19, 2012

Dishwasher/Hand Wash

This is my new cutlery draining basket.
It's from my dishwasher, now defunct after a mere five years, with a "notorious for that model" circuitry defect. It's had very light use as there is only the two of us extending to entertaining once a week I guess but really it all still looks brand new.
This is the stuff of "Planned Obsolescence" in consumer product.
It's too expensive to replace the electronics and better to buy another one apparently.

This is now my new "under the bed rolling rack/basket storage unit"
It's like brand new too.
So is the metal cabinet that houses the whole dishwasher.
But all that is junk now. I could take the metal to the scrap metal guy for recycling but there is still a lot of pieces that are just landfill.
I don't know that in all conscience I can keep buying stuff that is purposely built to fail within a few years so we buy more stuff.

This blog recently posted a lengthy analysis here at Growing Things and Making Things about hand washing vs dishwashers. My hands have become quite roughened and dry with the extra water. Craig said he was missing the dishwasher, but yesterday he told his mother that he didn't really mind not having it (and I mouthed to her "because he hardly ever has to wash up")
I do miss it for jar and bottle washing but I always had hand washing every day anyway.

So I find myself wondering if I will "do a Rhonda" like here, and just pull it out and make a little curtain over the cavity and use it for potato and onion storage instead?
I think to myself, if we were a large family then I think we would need a dishwasher, but then I remember we once were a large family and washing up was what we all took turns in. It was an opportunity for camaraderie between siblings who didn't spend much one on one time with each other. Everyone did it differently, some haphazardly spilling lots of water, some slow but it taught patience and team work. I have lots of memories of my different brothers foibles washing up.

Do you know why people think they need dishwashers? The old "Time" gets trotted out again here. But do they really save you lots of magic time? I'm not so sure of that. I'm not convinced we are as time poor as we make ourselves out to be. I think dishwashers are a part of the whole breakdown in family time schedules. Once upon a time, everyone ate together, including breakfast. There was no parade of plates, bowls, cutlery at any old time of day. Having a dishwasher aids and abets the haphazard schedules and negates the need for people to be with each other.

I do like the way a dishwasher can hide the mess till I'm ready to deal with it. I like the way I can shove everything in quickly when visitors are coming and give the impression of ease and elegance (heaven forbid anyone should find out that my life is not the mirror image of Home and Garden) and I do think it saves my hands and paper thin fingernails that keep shredding and desiccating. But is this enough reason to buy another one. Without any calculations of soap or electricity or water, forget all that, just purely for the fact of it physically sitting in my kitchen, it cost $160/year ($800 machine over 5 years). 

I'm not preaching one way or the other for anyone else's household but it's been a month now and I'm still not inclined to go shopping for another. Never say never though hey!
And if you want another dishwashing story then here is my all time favourite post by Calamity Jane on the Apron Stringz Blog, it's called "Germaphobes and Cleanfreaks Look Away Now"


  1. Our home we built in 2007 is on its second dishwasher after the fourth year! Our over the stove microwave was history after three years. Our stove has needed a repairman twice .. and since then the electric element has burned out and just last week the spring in the door broke. Our refrigerator has been repaired as well and has a broken interior pull out drawer front. I'm tired of the poor quality and short lived use. My grandparents bought a washing machine in the 1960's and it's still in use. From what I gather, all price ranges are not built to last! I did replace the dishwasher at my husband's insistence; but I wash dishes 75% of the time by hand. Our consumer driven world and corporate manipulation with product quality is a driving force .. plus our less than stable society that picks up and moves every few years .. wanting the latest/greatest/newest kitchen appliances. Once we are fully retired, I don't think replacing as often will be feasible. This is really a sad state of affairs ... and doesn't even address the landfill waste.

  2. Our dishwasher doesn't work drawers..great while working, but I'm very disappointed they didn't last longer than a few years. Maybe we got a lemon. Now we wash up by hand and try to take turns..but there have been a few tussles! I liked the way the bench looked clean and tidy too.

  3. My $40 old dishwasher from the Examiner "for sale" column is still going strong after 3 years.... may not be in the best looks category but it it bigger inside and works!! Which is more than I can say for the last modern "hard to pack efficiently" dishwasher. My expensive front loader washing machine however is another story - after 10 years of happy washing it decided to go on the blink and $300 odd dollars later worked until the warranty for the job expired and then it stopped too. So we now visit the laundromat - weekly - and at a cost of approximately $10 - $12 depending on how many loads. I know it probably isn't cost effective in the long run but it is way quicker than a normal household machine (20 odd minutes from go to wo)and I begrudge paying the washing machine repair man $300 odd to see it go wrong again in 6 months. (I did call your guy Tanya but he doesn't fix Asko's). And on a lighter note we went later than usual to do our weekly wash yesterday .... around 6.30pm and found ALL the machines busy except one! A lady had 2 going and a man had 7 going!!!!! Anyhow to our amusement the man proceeded to empty his machines.... the first one he took 3 pairs of slacks out of, and folded them wet.... the second three polo shirts... and you can imagine what the rest had in them!!! Here we were waiting to desperately to do the weekly washing and he was separating his clothes to the max!! So we had a chuckle on the way home - he obviously has an obsessive compulsive clothes separation disorder or has no idea how to wash! Or he just likes paying a huge amount to wash his clothes! We will be visiting the Laundromat much earlier next week!

  4. I have never, and will never, own a dishwasher...They are not allowed in our house lol! Hubby has put them in the same category as a clothes dryer so the answer is no. He does help with the dishes especially if the pile is getting higher, but he will only wash, not wipe...As for dishpan hands, I gave up a long time ago, I am past caring now. I have gloves, but always forget to use them!

    It is up to the individual, but because I have never owned one, I dont miss it :)


  5. I don't like washing dishes. I'll vacuum for hours and do laundry till the cows come home, but you'll have to wrest my dishwasher from my cold, dead hands. Ours broke down two years ago and I did at least four months without it....never again! It's the kid's job to empty the dishwasher, and they argue about who's going to put away which shelf ;)

    But yes, planned obsolescence gets on my goat too, although Hubby reckons that if we were prepared to pay more for our appliances then we would get better quality. But consumers want cheap, cheap, cheap. He believes appliances were much more expensive in comparison to household income 40 or 50 years ago and lasted about that long too (although he wasn't buying them then so I don't know how he knows!).

  6. It's not a tragedy to me to not have one, and I've gone a year or three before without one. However, I REALLY enjoy having one.
    -My husband really abhors clutter, including dishes piling up.
    -I tend to do lots of kitchen stuff on the weekends. I'm often running a load while generating another. Yesterday, I was washing my milking pans and breakfast dishes while starting a couple batches of cheese. Next load was cheese-making stuff, refrigerator clean-out stuff, and lunch dishes. Next load was bread and cinnamon-roll making stuff, cookie making stuff, Thanksgiving prep dishes, dinner dishes, pet dishes (once a week), and sponges. I'm not sure I could/would have done all that without the dishwasher.
    -I live in a desert, and dishwashers can use far less water than hand-washing. Not always, but generally, and certainly when you're using lots of butter and melty cheese.
    -Nobody takes it as an affront if a dirty dish gets put back in the dishwasher, as compared to the sighs some folks make when you put a dish back into the sink they didn't get clean the first time.
    -Somewhat expensive.
    -Detergent is harsh.
    -Sometimes dishes get ruined.
    -Ours almost burned our house down a couple months ago; we were luckily home and put out the flames. However, the microwave started to burn up this weekend (when we weren't even using it), so getting rid of the dishwasher wouldn't completely eliminate the risk. Plus, I got a kitchen remodel out of the flaming dishwasher, so there you go. Although we did fix the dishwasher and use it in the remodel, so there's that, too.

  7. I had a friend with two kids who always argued over whose turn it was to wash up after the meal. She was so fed up, she got a dishwasher. Then they argued over whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher. I have never had a dishwasher...or kids. I wonder why?

  8. I will never use a dishwasher after spending 25+ years in commercial kitchens being subjected to toxic cleaning chemicals & constant mounds of daily dish-washing. I was once badly food poisoned by a friend just grabbing out a dirty plate that had been sitting in their home dishwasher for a day. She washed it in a sink of hot soapy water & I was sick for 2 days after. No wonder such drastic cleaning chemicals are needed to kill off all the nasties. I can always feel, smell & taste the chemical residues on crockery/glasses from dishwashers, if people are using a non 'eco' based product. I generally make 2 massive sink loads of dishes a day because we only eat what I produce, grow or process here.(or sourced locally) But I use that dish washing time as a moving meditation-chill out zone & I do all the dishes. No matter where you sit, it's a passionate subject!!

  9. Oh so glad I found your blog through a comment you made on Rhonda's blog. I do the dishes by hand (well hubby does them more often than not! - lucky me!) and don't miss a dishwasher. It does seem to get things like Tupperware less dingy and I have thought of soaking the Tupperware occasionally in hotwater with a dishwasher tablet...

  10. I must admit in my home washing dishes in one of my "things" I struggle with, I don't know why, but I just have a huge block about doing it. We installed a dishwasher when we put in our new kitchen 4 years ago and it did not help my aversion. It hardly got used at all, or not used well at very best. While we were not living in our house to get our renos finished it went all ghastly and mouldy and the heating element seemed to go too, so we took it out and I know use the cavity for our bin and microwave (which also just died, and I have no intention of replacing it) I'm with you, I can not justify the cost to pocket/earth of throw away items any longer. Lets hear it for the simple life :)


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