Monday, February 28, 2011

Dishwasher.... coming soon

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.



  1. I must be a pal, because I read all of it. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions for you. I'm sure you'd be horrified by the chemicals I use to wash and rinse. Every time I read your blog, I am more sure that there is some latent disease brewing in my cells just waiting to pounce: "HA! You should have taken your sister's blog to heart!" I'll look at the public market here for a solution - they have a pretty good line of natural and safe cleaners, and maybe I'll find something neither of us have tried (I can assure you I have not). Two hours a day doing dishes is an awful lot. Are you sure that most of it is all dishwasher-appropriate, and that you won't by a washer just to hand-wash a lot anyway?

  2. You do make a good point. Many things would have to be hand washed anyway. Pots and pans, etc. mostly b/c we use them so much. We'd probably hand wash a lot of baby stuff. And we may even have to wash silverware sometimes because we are always running out of spoons. Hmmm....

  3. Get a dishwasher! So much is dishwasher safe nowadays. Just think about how much easier your life will be when you can put plates, mugs, glasses, silverware OUT OF SIGHT! You have a small kitchen, and you can only fit so much into your sink, dish rack, counter.

  4. I could not live without my dishwasher, even if it is just a place to store my ugly dirty dishes during the day. And there is nothing as clean as a dish from the dishwasher. You could never wash a dish in water as hot as what is in the dishwasher. When I wash dishes by hand and dip a dish in the dish water I think of all the germy dishes that have been dipped in there before that and the germs that are floating in that water and onto my dishes. There's not much I can't put in the dishwasher today...just my wooden salad bowls. Everything else goes in. Once you have it you will never want to be without it.

  5. I came over from Apron Strings, because I have an overwhelming interest in dishwashers at the mo. Mainly because mine is broken. I don't mind washing the dishes by hand so much, but I object most strongly to the disgusting stench eminating from the rotten water pooling in the bottom even though I keep sponging it out. I even tried bleach (which I loathe) to kill the bugs making the smell. It made it worse. Sigh. The repair man says he'll be here soon.

    I put anything that will fit in the dishwasher, and basically go on the premise that if I can't dishwasher it, I don't want it in my kitchen. (Except my cast iron skillet - won't part with that! And the only reason that shouldn't go in the machine is that the wooden handle falls off.) I use Ecostore powder and dilute it half with baking soda - no probs whatsoever.

  6. I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.
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