Where I Reveal How Very Very Lame I Am

I do not understand washing dishes by hand.

My mom washes dishes in the dishwasher. Where they belong. I remember that, when I was growing up, any time we had a party, my mom would run a load in the dishwasher, rinse the remaining dishes and leave them on the counter until the morning when she would unload the dishwasher and do a second load with the remaining dishes. She would not wash them by hand. She would go to bed, let the dishwasher do it’s job, and, in the morning, let it do it again. Why should she spend valuable time washing dishes when the dishwasher could do it better? She should not. And neither should I. Neither should you, probably.

It was from my mom that I learned this important life lesson: there is almost NOTHING that cannot go in the dishwasher. Bart was shocked, after we married, to discover that I could and would fit all the pots and pans from dinner into the dishwasher. Everything can go in the dishwasher if you are deeply enough opposed to washing by hand.

I cannot understand this handwashing of dishes. Not only does it sort of gross me out, what with the reusing of the same sponge, over and over and the lack of a heat cycle to kill all the germs, but it takes soooooo long. I can do the dishes, even after a fairly large meal, in ten minutes. Rinse, load, start. Easy! So easy! Bart lived in our apartment by himself for about three months last year while I was on study abroad in London. When I returned, he told me that he had not once used the dishwasher in the apartment. Not once! After a few days, I discovered that it was a fantastic dishwasher. You did not have to even RINSE your dishes. You could load straight from the table! Yes, he had mistakenly wasted days of his life washing dishes by hand.

The big complaint Bart had about a dishwasher was that it felt like you had to do dishes twice. First you load and then, several hours later (or a few days later, if you had my parent’s old dishwasher which had a cycle longer than the lives of most insects) you have to unload this. I disagree for two reasons. One, you have to unload a dish drain, if you wash by hand, and two, you have to look at all those dishes hanging out in the dish drain. Even if your dishwasher isn’t full and ready to run, you can close it. Your kitchen will look clean. You don’t have cups multiplying on your counter until you actually wash the dishes. Just stick them right in the dishwasher! Close it again. Your kitchen is spotless again! Hooray!

Also, because I will never find another post wherein to mention this: silverware should be loaded prongs (or spoon or blade) DOWN. All this talk of “but it doesn’t get as clean” does not fly with me. Even if they do get cleaner, it is all for naught when you put your fingers all over those oh-so-clean prongs (or spoon or blade). And then I’m basically eating your fingerprints. Put your silverware in the dishwasher the correct way, and we will all live happily ever after.

I obviously feel far too deeply about this subject. And yet, I cannot help myself.

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  • Reply Doug Bradshaw May 31, 2007 at 5:25 am

    That’s pretty unimpressive on the lameness scale. I definitely hoped for something a bit more lame.

    I think that I’m with Bart if I’m alone. A dishwasher then seems like overkill. With our whole family cranking through the dishes the contraption becomes invaluable.

  • Reply Sherry May 31, 2007 at 7:31 am

    I, like you, believe in dishwashers, but if I had to choose between a washer and dryer or a dishwasher in my home, I would definitely choose the laundry duo.

    I liked your point that dishwashers make the kitchen seem so much cleaner. I had never thought of that, and you are right. No clean dishes drying in the dish rack. Clear counters. More counter space. I want a dishwasher. (Although, I am grateful for our washer and dryer).

  • Reply One Smart Cookie May 31, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    I cannot find a way to fully express my support for this post! Dishwasher, good. Hand washing, bad. And YES to the silverware going prongs down. You clearly understand the true ways of the world.

  • Reply heidikins May 31, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Haha! I love this post. When I was growing up our dishwasher broke and my mom decided that to teach us kids a lesson – she wouldn’t replace it for, oh, 3 years.

    Now I actually do dishes by hand as some kind of domestically-based therapy. I don’t have a dishwasher and I get some sense of satisfaction from turning a room full of dirty dishes into a pile of clean dishes, which I promptly dry and put them away. Viola! Clean kitchen and an hour of therapy! 🙂

    (Amen to the flatware prongs DOWN!)

  • Reply Mel May 31, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    This cracks me up. Isn’t it funny how strongly we can feel about these issues?

    I fill the dishwasher and then handwash the leftover dishes. (There are always leftover dishes since my teens feel the need to use three or four extra glasses per day each.)

  • Reply Terri B. June 1, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Ah, the dishwasher/hand wash dilemma. I don’t have a dishwasher, though if I had space I very well might. I’ve been so long without one that I’ve just adapted. I’m with heidikins … handwashing the dishes is therapy for me. Perhaps it’s because I can let my mind wander while I wash :o)

  • Reply Ginger June 1, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    I cannot imagine life withoug a DW. (Actually, I can. For several months last year ours was out of commission while we tried several service trips before finally buying new.) And I am very serious about planning ahead so that everything will go in. I don’t like clothes that can’t be washed in the machine either. Life is just too short!

  • Reply Amber June 1, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    So this posting reminds me of my growing up years. For the first 13 years of my life the ‘kids’ were the dishwasher! then we moved to vegas and we got a dishwasher – but still about half the dishes were handwashed per mom’s specifications. After four years of college I quickly learned, such did you from your mother, that there is hardly anything that can not go in the dishwasher!! now I am working on training my roomates to put the silverwear down – and the bowls facing the middle – where the water shoots from!! The dishwasher is definently one of my most favorite inventions! hurrah for it! 😉

  • Reply ambrosia ananas June 4, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    I *hate* washing dishes by hand. We have no dishwasher, so Bawb does all the dishes. Sponges are nasty, so they are disallowed in our house. And Bawb washes basically all dishes with bleach.

  • Reply Chloe Elizabeth June 5, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    I’m here from Jen’s blog.

    Just appreciate that you have a dishwasher. I don’t and it bites the big one. Although, I don’t put my knives in because it destroys them and I don’t put my non-stick pans in (same reason). My years of working at Williams-Sonoma taught me there really are some things that need to be hand washed. Other than that, bring on the Cascade and heated dry!

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