In my Efficient Housekeeping post, I mentioned that I hand wash all of our dishes despite the fact that we have a dishwasher. I’m sure this idea sounds a little bit crazy, but it may just work for you.
The most important reason that I started doing my dishes by hand was the fact that our dishes simply were not getting clean. I don’t know how many times I pulled the dishes out only to discover that they were still covered in specs of half washed food.
After trying various brands and amounts of dish soap and having little to no luck, we’ve decided that it’s probably the dishwasher. We’ve been renters for several years now, and have yet to live in an apartment with a dishwasher in good working order. Sure, since the building is owned by a landlord, we could ask that he replace it, but we prefer our privacy much more than having a usable dishwasher. I’d rather we not have strangers in our house fixing something that we can live without.
Another reason I stopped using the dishwasher is that it kept chipping the edges of my dishes. Not that we have an expensive set of dishes, but they were given to me by my grandmother when I was a teenager as part of my dowry (yes, I just used the word dowry. It makes me feel fancy).
After just a few washes through the dishwasher when we got our first apartment, almost all of my dishes were already chipped. I was really upset. I’d been planning to use those dishes for the rest of my life and they were already messed up. It ended up becoming a moot point when my hubster did some checking and discovered that our dishes may have contained small amounts of lead in the glaze (This is mostly an issue for plates made in the 1970s and earlier, although this article mentions some other places you might find them).
Once we discovered this, we went out and bought a cheap set of clearance dishes from Boscov’s. (We haven’t gotten rid of our old ones yet, because I don’t want to part with them. We haven’t actually gotten one of those home lead tests yet, so we don’t know for sure if the dishes are unsafe, but we didn’t want to run the risk.)
Anyway, back on topic. When you wash your dishes by hand, the only thing that can damage your plates is if you drop one of them. As frustrating as it is when you break a plate (especially after you’ve already washed it), I still think it’s better than having chunks taken out of all of them.
As weird as it may sound, washing the dishes can be kind of relaxing. I completely hate starting them, but once I’ve started, I do find it an enjoyable chore. I always have some show on in the background (currently that show is Criminal Minds, which my husband hates, but he doesn’t complain about it when I wash the dishes), so it’s not totally mind numbing.
It’s also a time that I can take to think about how I want to plan out the rest of the week. I’m right there in my kitchen, so I can see my pantry and get a few ideas about what I can make and what I’ll need to put on the grocery list. When I’m done with the dishes, I’ve almost got my meal plan ready to go. That’s killing two birds with one stone! (Sorry, birds…)
**But wait! Doesn’t washing dishes by hand waste more water?**
This is a valid concern. When I first thought about giving up the dishwasher, I was really worried that we’d see a spike in our water bill. After doing some checking, it turns out that it’s actually possible to use less water when hand washing the dishes as long as you do it efficiently. I’m not sure if my method is completely efficient, but our water bill didn’t increase once I started hand washing, so it definitely isn’t all that bad.
What about you? Ever been so frustrated by an appliance that you stopped using it?