Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Washing dishes

A few weeks ago our dishwasher stopped working. The repair person has come three times, and yesterday it was fixed. It was still under warranty so there was no charge to us for the $400 repair. This is the first time this dishwasher has broken down, but not the first dishwasher we've had trouble with. It seems like every few years we have to get a new one. We've had all brands and none of them were perfect.

Whenever one has broken down I have wondered if I could get along without it. I usually did okay, but when it was repaired or we've gotten a new one, I got right back into the swing of loading and unloading.

But not this time. I am mystified as to the reason, but I have come to love washing dishes by hand. I realized that I would begin to hum every time I filled the sink and began washing. I felt a contentment, almost a meditative state, as I washed and looked out the window.


I kept waiting for reality to set in. I was sure there would be an evening when I wished the dishwasher was working. But no. Not even when there were a lot of dishes, or 'difficult' dishes like the bread bowl. I liked every minute, every time. I went to Mr and Mrs Amazon and bought a nice new rack.


If there are more dishes than it will hold at once, I put them in the soapy water to soak a while. I go off and do something else, and then come and put away the dry ones, and begin to wash the others. Tom just shakes his head in amazement. The other night he said if he saw all those dishes to wash he'd be longing for the dishwasher. Not me. I actually looked forward to settling down to washing them and humming whatever song came into my head. He has offered to help but honestly I like doing them alone.

I know how strange this sounds, and indeed it is to me, but all I know is that it makes me happy. And the detergent I use? The same brand I've used for ages.


I've read that it is more economical, more 'green' to use a dishwasher. I'm not quite convinced this is true when our dishwasher would run for almost three hours for a normal load. But even if it is true, the water comes from our ever-flowing spring, and our hot water heater isn't set for terribly hot water. The electric bill went down by over 20 dollars this month. Probably a coincidence, but I wonder.

44 comments:

  1. Well, I AM the dishwasher at our house. I haven't had a dishwashing machine in years. I LOVE washing dishes. The warm water feels good on my hands. I love the view out my sink window, which is the huge sycamore tree in the front yard. As I clean up from a meal I've shared with loved ones, I am entertained by black capped chickadees or friendly robins, or raucous blue jars on the limbs of a beautiful tree. I would not trade this for stuffing my plates in a machine - no matter how efficient! - and pressing a button.

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    1. Just exactly how I feel. I used to have that big maple outside but now it is open space with smaller trees. There are phoebes and robins right outside. Thanks so much for writing. It makes me feel good that you feel the same way!

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    2. Those should be raucous blue JAYS not jars. lol! I am glad you feel the same too. I feel that I am in the very best company! :)

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  2. Love that dish rack!! I enjoy washing dishes by hand too. I do small amounts of dishes at a time a and also use the magical soaking technique, makes washing up a snap. I've wondered about that claim that dishwashers are more economical than hand washing dishes, I suspect that is only true if someone leaves the tap water running the entire time they are hand washing a huge amount of dishes. I only turn the tap on when I am actually rinsing, I don't leave it running. I bet that $20 savings is from not using the dishwasher. :)

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    1. Thanks for coming by and leaving a note. I will spend more time at your blog. I stopped for just a minute and found it charming. I think you're right about the water. As I said, I'm not using any municipal water so the only energy is the hot water heater. It pleases me that you like washing them, too!

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  3. Love this post! I've wondered if the time spent loading and unloading is worth it, and maybe it's just having a place to hide the dirty dishes that I like the most. Really cool dish rack, and I love your white porcelain sink!

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    1. I have thought about that, too. It seemed to take ages loading. And then we'd have to unload. I think I dreaded it more than I knew. I'm tickled with the dish rack! I got some great towels from Lee Valley that fit underneath it, and are great for drying as well. I do love my sink. Thanks.

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  4. I'm waiting for our dishwasher to break down! LOL. You know what? Even when I DO use the dishwasher, there always seem to be dishes to do by hand! What's up with that? And I HATE the "put away" - especially the silverware. I always used to put silverware away last, I hated it so. Now (at least) I do it first so the tedious part is over....still, after reading your post, I think I'm waiting for our dishwasher to break down. :)

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    1. Isn't it so odd that what is supposed to save us time ends up being more of a chore? I'm amazed to read that you hate putting away things. I can't figure out why it seems easier to put away dishes that have dried on the rack as opposed to dishes in the machine, but it is true, at least for some of us. I would groan inside when I opened up the dishwasher and saw all those dishes. Tedious. That's a good word. Hope yours breaks down soon. ;<))

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  5. With that view and a pretty rack, it's no wonder washing dishes is not a chore! I've had so many dishwashers over the years and SO many repairs. The last time I opted for a 'high end' brand in hopes of something better, but it's turned out to be just as bad... and possibly even worse. Never again.

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    1. It is a nice view. There are also mountains that are hidden by the green trees. I look forward to seeing the view in all seasons now that I am washing dishes. I mean, I would look out the window but I didn't stand there. We've spent a lot of money on dishwashers, like you. Not cheap to buy, but cheaply made. Sad.

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  6. Unloading the dishwasher is my least favorite chore, so I do a combo thing: wash the easy ones by hand, and put the difficult, greasy pots and pans in the machine. When I win the lottery (ha!) every cabinet in my kitchen will be a dishwasher, so I never have to unload. How's that for wretched excess? On another note, I'm happy to know you're so water-conscious. We take it for granted, so much of the time.

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    1. That's a good compromise. I think because we don't eat meat, the pots and pans aren't that dirty. And I use cast iron fry pans which don't go in the dishwasher or soapy water anyhow. I did use a big stainless steel frypan the other night and I was sure that it would be a drag to wash because it is bigger than the sink, but no. I was in that mellow zone, and it was just fine. Amazing. Very funny idea about all those dishwashers!

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  7. Our dishwasher went out last year and we didn't replace it (it was 12 years old) until this spring. There's only the 2 of us so it took forever to dirty enough dishes to fill it, so I would end up just washing by hand. I run the new one just once a week to keep the rubber seal on the door from drying out, this happened on a dishwasher we had before. The only reason we even bothered to put a new one in is that eventually we will sell this house, it's way too big for the 2 of us, and there would have to be a dishwasher in the kitchen.

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    1. 12 years is a long time now for a dishwasher to 'live.' When do you plan to move? Do you have a place in mind? Our house isn't too big -except on vacuuming day! I don't think anyone would buy our place. It is too idiosyncratic, too individual, and to my mind, homey. No granite, no wall to wall carpet, no farmhouse sink, uneven floors.

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  8. I love washing dishes, find it relaxing for one - me :)
    Now when I bake or family visits it is nice to load the dishwasher...
    love that rack and going to check it out

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    1. I find it relaxing, too! I think you'll like the rack. Places to hang glasses or cups as well as two layers. Perfect for one or two people.

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  9. (2) years ago when our Fridge went we got all new stainless appliances instead of the black we had.....big mistake as they don't make dishwashers like they used to. We bought an LG and it broken 2 weeks after the one year warranty expired and cost us $280 to fix it. Then 3 months later something else went that would have been $340 to fix. We bought a new one instead figuring it was a lemon. This one is a Kitchen Aid and after 9 months so far so good but, we did buy a 5 yr extended warrant just in case LOL - I don't mind washing dishes or ironing - weird I know. I know many of the younger generation don't even own an iron :)

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    1. They sure don't!! Even our repair guy said so. Sad, isn't it. I don't know what brands we've had - probably five or six different ones, maybe more! I'm not the younger generation but I don't own an iron. I hated ironing.

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  10. Me too, Nan! There is something satisfying about seeing those gleaming dishes stack neatly beside the sink. And I love putting them away too. It's even more fun in my new sink! One very deep bowl and a new material, graphite. Love it! Just remodeled the old kitchen in our 'new' house and removed the dishwasher. There is no way they are more economical and green!

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    1. They are gleaming, aren't they? I never see that shininess when they come from the dishwasher. That's what I think, too, but I've read it in two places that they use less water and electricity. I don't believe it. I saw your kitchen but haven't had a chance to go back and leave you a note.

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  11. Richard and I wash our own dishes. (It is called "washing up" in England!) MY favorite dish washing liquid is really FAIRY LIQUID from England, but hey, it's too expensive to get in the USA, so I have to use my 2nd favorite which is DAWN Ultra Hand Renewal With Olay (Tropical Shea Butter) "Softer hands in three uses!"
    I make Richard buy these two at a time, I am afraid they will stop making it! (It isn't easy to find, we get it at Kroger.)

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    1. Well, of course you use fairy liquid!!!

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  12. Nan, that is a lovely view from your window. A dishwasher is still an "alien" concept for most Indians who either hand-wash the dishes themselves or hire help to do the job. For instance, like most urbanites, we have a maid (now with us for 30 years) who comes in every morning to do the dishes, sweep and mop the floor, and put up clothes to dry. Sometimes the help is also hired as a babysitter or governess. The day the maid reports sick, all hell breaks loose, especially where both husband and wife have to rush to work.

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    1. That is really interesting. Thank you for sharing details of Indian life. I have a particular fondness for India.

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  13. Seems like I am in excellent company here, because I, too, am one of those people who actually LIKE to do the washing up :-)
    Steve and I used to do it together - he washed, I wiped - and now that I am on my own, I don't even have enough muesli bowls and coffee mugs to fill the dishwasher in any reasonable time. My few items are quickly done, and I only use the dishwasher when I've had guests and it fills up quickly.
    My parents' first dishwasher was a Miele one (German brand) and lasted for 18 years in spite of nearly daily use. I never minded the loading and unloading, it was one of my and my sister's tasks at home. Sometimes we wouldn't know exactly where our Mum would want certain things to go when unloading, so we left them on top and for her to stow away.

    By the way, I also like ironing...

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    1. Years ago, I think all dishwashers lasted a long time. As did washing machines, and all other big and small appliances. No more.

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  14. I refuse to have a dishwasher. I hate the work of loading and unloading one. (And I am the only one in the house who will unload, so that peeves me.)

    It's just much more relaxing to sink my hands hot, soapy water and look out the window. (A window over the kitchen sink is on my very important to have list whenever we consider buying a house.

    I'm with you!

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    1. Beautifully expressed! And I agree with a window above the sink - I'm just happy to be really using mine now!

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  15. I don't mind washing dishes by hand, I just don't appreciate doing it all the time. :) Usually, morning dishes go into a very hot, sudsy sink and are finished a little later. The dinner dishes do go in the dishwasher, though. Summer months, I must admit to enjoying the ritual of washing dishes by hand. It relaxes me (honestly) and it also serves to soften my well-worn hands and nails from gardening.

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    1. I love what you wrote about softening your hands. I'm wondering if mine will get very dry in the winter. I guess I could keep some hand cream next to the sink.

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  16. I've never had a dishwasher and prefer to wash by hand. It's much quicker in the long run. Within half an hour the dishes are all washed, dried and put away. I don't think you need as much crockery either and that means fewer cupboards. All win as far as I'm concerned.

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    1. That's a really good point. The emphasis here seems to be bigger kitchens, bigger houses so people can have more stuff. And storage units to hold the overflow. I like less. I like small. And I have found what you said to be true - that it takes much less time washing by hand.

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  17. I always disliked emptying the dishwasher so I gave up owning one many years ago. To my mind they are yet another thing that will litter the planet long after I am gone. I use the same washing-up liquid Nan!

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    1. I thought you might! Years ago a young English man was at our house, saw the Ecover, and said that's what his mum used! I am amazed at the responses I've gotten to this little post.

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  18. I love my dishwasher and have bad memories of washing them by hand as a kid! I am glad you enjoy it though, you have a pretty window to look out

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    1. When my kids were little, I greatly appreciated having a dishwasher. Now, I just don't need it so much. Interesting about the childhood memory. I wonder how many activities children were made to do are hated when they are adults.

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  19. I've never had a dishwasher, and I've always lusted after one. I wish I could say I enjoy washing up by hand, but unlike everyone else here I don't. I hate it. I hate all forms of housework. It all seems so pointless, because as soon as you've done it everything gets dirty and messed up and it all has to be cleaned and tidied all over again!

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    1. I've heard/read of a lot of people who feel just as you do. I fear I am one of those who actually enjoys all house-y things like this. Not that I have a clean house - impossible with dogs, especially a yellow Labrador! - but I do like the actual activity of doing it. I know, I don't understand it either!

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  20. If I had a lovely window to watch the garden while I washed dishes I would do so too. As it is I look at a wall when I wash dishes. I have hung a mirror to there so I at least see a reflection of what is behind me. I still go through spells of washing dishes. We have so few just being 2 of us. I don't doubt that the electric would be lower. Dishwashers take a long time to get the job done and all of that water to wash and rinse wash and rinse.

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    1. I thought it was almost a 'rule' that windows were above sinks! But maybe with dishwashers not many people stand at the sink as long.

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  21. I'm a fan of handwashing, too! We have a dishwasher, but since it's just the two of us, it takes a week to fill it up with plates, bowls and flatware. We wash everything else by hand and it gives a chance to chat, especially if we watched a movie while eating dinner. I love looking out my kitchen window as I wash, catching glimpses of neighbors walking by with their children or dogs, on their way to the park or corner grocery store. I can watch the squirrels and rabbits chasing each other in the neighbor's yard or catch a glimpse of lightning or a beautiful sunset through the trees. Our dishwasher is at least 16 years old (as are our washer & dryer) and I have my fingers crossed that it doesn't break down before we've moved. If it does, we'll probably just buy the least expensive model since it doesn't pay to spend a lot of money on appliances anymore.

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  22. And here's an article that my hubby just sent me a few days ago. Pretty much confirms everything we've said about modern appliances!

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