I think we've finally made the decision to install a dishwasher in the house. I've always liked having one, especially since we eat nearly all our meals at home, and a cook/bake a lot. But I've also been hesitant recently to jump into the purchase for a few reasons, not the least of which is the cost. This home has never had one, so "installing" it is a project that costs something, and getting the cabinetry to house it will also be an expense.
But more than cost, I do wonder how we are going to overcome the situation we've had with the dishwashers of the past: the "eco-friendly" detergents we've found have been really poor performers. Our dishes have either been kind of dirty at the end of the cycle, or (and this happened a lot) there would be white detergent patches on our glasses. So we'd have to rinse them again, or rewash them. I don't care how "eco-friendly" a detergent is, it's really not meant for consumption.
Then when we used the high-test stuff with chlorine I did have some guilt. Now I know there are situations in which people absolutely need to "sterilize" the items in their dishwashers, either for their physical or mental health. We never have been in that category. The chlorine in most standard detergents is no great treat for our water quality once it goes down the drain, nor is it a particularly good item to have on our dishes and in our cabinets. The T. man has free reign right now to "play" with our cleaners: diluted dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar. Because of the chlorine and chemicals in standard dishwasher detergent I found myself always rinsing dishes again. I'm not sure if this was overly-neurotic of me or not, but the strong smell of chlorine coming from the dishwasher at the end of the cycle was not exactly comforting.
Still, I'm tired of spending so much time washing dishes. My hands and my husband's hands are pretty wrecked. T. can be very content while I'm doing dishes or very whiny and pulling on my clothes the whole time. Not my favorite thing at the end of a long day. I feel like if I only had a little more time I could do a few more projects around the house that might brighten the place up a bit. We probably spend about 2 hours a day doing dishes. Our basement could use a little of that time, I assure you. My creative life life could use a little of that time.
Another factor to consider is that we burn oil every time we use the hot water, and doing dishes by hand, even when using water conservatively as we try to do, does use a lot more hot water than the dishwasher. Those machines have become pretty low-impact compared with what they used to be.
So we're going ahead with it. If you've found any solutions to my detergent dilemmas, please share.
Of course, if you've made it this far into a post that is less-than pretty/inspiring/intellectually engaging/cute/well-written I really applaud you. You're a pal.