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Do you hand-wash or machine-wash your dishes?

Chemicalkinetics Sep 4, 2010 06:59 PM

There are many articles about machine-washing vs hand washing dishes. Many claims dishwashers are better for for environment and cost.

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/08/dishwasher_vs_h.php

Others claim hand washing is better:

http://www.ecojoes.com/dishwasher-versus-hand-washing/

I thought this recent article from Guardian is more complete.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment...

It states the answer depends on how one hand-washes or machine-washes the dishes. I wash my dishes in cold water largely because I am too lazy to wait for the water to heat up and partially also because of the energy cost. It turns out this is the most environmental approach. I prefer hand-washing because I have very little dishes and they will never fill up a dishwasher. In addition, hand washing provides a much faster turn around. I can get a clean plate in 5-10 seconds by hand washing.

In short, I choose to hand-wash mostly because of speed and easy. It works well with my lifestyle. How about you?

Two questions for you
1) How do you usually wash your dishes?
2) What is your number one reason for your choice? Environmental concern, cost, time, convenience, tradition, ... ?

  1. m
    Maximilien Sep 4, 2010 07:03 PM

    Dishwasher machine is one of the greatest invention of mankind, at par with the toaster.

    I wash most of my dishes in the machine even my wine glasses (10 year old set and still spotless) ; pots and pans, it depends if I need them right now or later or if they go in the machine (non-stick, copper, ...)

    M.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien
      Chemicalkinetics Sep 4, 2010 07:06 PM

      Thanks. What is your main reason? Convenience?

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        m
        Maximilien Sep 4, 2010 07:48 PM

        laziness, ...

    2. toitoi Sep 4, 2010 07:16 PM

      If you have very fine china, using the dishwasker wll ruin them.

      Hand wash only, and don't use lemon scented soap; another destroyer of the baked on patterns.

      2 Replies
      1. re: toitoi
        Bill Hunt Sep 4, 2010 07:51 PM

        I agree completely. Fine China is by hand. We always use non-scented detergents and surfactants, as they will also ruin the aromas of one's food, and especially wines. Reminds me, I need to get two more bottles of StemShine.

        Other dishes - machine, definitely.

        Hunt

        1. re: toitoi
          chef chicklet Sep 6, 2010 03:58 PM

          ditto

        2. h
          harrie Sep 4, 2010 07:18 PM

          Hand wash. The dishwasher died a couple of years ago, and it seemed like a hassle to shop for a replacement, one of us to take the day off for delivery, etc. Thinking about selling, though, so now thinking about replacing the machine for future owner.

          1. v
            vttp926 Sep 4, 2010 07:48 PM

            never been a fan of the dishwasher even though that is all that was used when i was in college. i always preferred hand washing. that is how i do all the dishes at home now even though we do have a dish washer. we rarely have enough dishes at 1 time to do a full load in the dishwasher. but hand washing just because it reminds me of family dinners at grandma's house. all the kids use to clear the dishes and the oldest kids/younger aunts would all stand at the sink side by side and wash all the dishes. that was before we went to paper plates because we grew to over 30 people over at grandma's house at a time.

            1. Bill Hunt Sep 4, 2010 07:49 PM

              I machine wash most dishes, and use my sani-scrub cycle.

              All of my stemware is hand washed, and air-dried.

              All stainless pots are hand-washed, as are all of my Henkle knives.

              For me, I do so because the results are better.

              Hunt

              1. p
                paprkutr Sep 4, 2010 08:06 PM

                I hand wash. I don't and never had a dishwasher. I don't mind washing dishes, it's relaxing. This way I can make sure they all get clean, and it doesn't take that long.

                My husband hates it when some others wash dishes at our house, because they don't use hot water, and very little water at that.

                1. Barbara76137 Sep 4, 2010 08:35 PM

                  I am so, soooo picky about washing dishes. I just got a new dishwasher, notthing fancy, but it gets my dishes clean. I don't have any fine china, but I will handwash my stemware, knives and certain pots and pans.

                  When I wash dishes by hand the water has to be extra hot, I wear gloves since I couldn't handle the hot water without it. Silverware goes in immediately to soak, glasses get washed first, then dishes, then silverware, and finally pots and pans. I let everything air dry. Used to spend a lot of time on a 42' sailboat with not dishwasher but we cooked fabulous meals all the time. I was always in charge of washing the dishes and I wouldn't have it any other way.

                  I don't believe in prewashing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I recently read that prewashed dishes don't get as clean in a dishwasher as just scraped dishes so that backs up my belief.

                  I live alone but I have dinner service for about ten so I don't run out of things. I am finally running my dishwasher tonight since I last cooked for the boyfriend and his son on Monday. This week I've mostly grilled, made pasta or made salads.

                  I think the dishwasher is more economical and much more convenient than hand washing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Barbara76137
                    grayelf Sep 4, 2010 09:07 PM

                    You can just read Barbara's post above and that is me, except for the 42' sailboat and the living alone part :-)

                  2. t
                    tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 4, 2010 08:55 PM

                    Hand wash, but we don't have a dishwasher or anywhere to put it. However, we have to handwash under running water, as the sink is too big to fill up for washing - sinks here are designed to easily fit a wok in for washing.

                    I've lived in places with dishwashers, and I find they are most useful for standard dishes (plates, mugs, cutlery) when you have two or more people. I probably used it most for parties or big dinners, and never used the drying option.

                    For one person, I find I don't go through enough dishes on a day to day basis to make it worth while, as leaving uncleaned dishes attracts flies, cockroaches and ants, particularly those little tiny ants that leave scent trails for their 400 best friends to follow.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                      Popkin Sep 4, 2010 09:55 PM

                      We also don't have a dishwasher or a place for one.

                      We have a smaller sink, so I do fill it up with hot soapy water. I can withstand the water at almost full heat out of the faucet (so I fill most of the way with the hottest water, then finish with slightly cooler water). So I wash in hot water, and rinse in cold.

                      If we did have a dishwasher, I would use it and be ever greatful for such a cool invention. I love to cook, but don't enjoy the cleanup (*^_^)

                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                        Caroline1 Sep 4, 2010 11:22 PM

                        Do they not make "dishpans" any more? Waaaay back when I did do dishes by hand, even when I had double sinks, I always used a plastic dishpan in the sink and filled it with hot soapy water. Yes, it saved water, but the added benefit was that the plastic was much gentler if something bumped against it than a porcelain or stainless steel sink! And it's a lot more economical than washing dishes under running water.

                        1. re: Caroline1
                          bagelman01 Sep 5, 2010 05:17 AM

                          Yes, Caroline they still make dishpans, and we use them. I prefer Sterilite to Rubbermaid, as Sterilite makes models that have a plug in the bottom you and pull to drain. This makes for less spills in the kitchen and allows easier change of water when soaking.

                          1. re: bagelman01
                            Caroline1 Sep 5, 2010 02:30 PM

                            I was replying to this remark by tastesgoodwhatisit:

                            "Hand wash, but we don't have a dishwasher or anywhere to put it. However, we have to handwash under running water, as the sink is too big to fill up for washing - sinks here are designed to easily fit a wok in for washing."

                            Seems to me there has to be a better way! '-)

                      2. ipsedixit Sep 4, 2010 09:02 PM

                        1. Hand
                        2. It's just easier, and makes more sense. (E.g. why would I "pre-wash" or rinse my dishes and then put them again into a machine to do what I already did halfway ahead of time??)

                        I use my dishwasher as storage space.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Chemicalkinetics Sep 4, 2010 09:45 PM

                          I heard/read that most modern dishwashers do not require pre-washing by hands anymore.

                          'Modern dishwashers and detergents have come a long way in the past couple of decades. "You will not improve your wash performance one bit by pre-rinsing," says John Dries'

                          http://shine.yahoo.com/event/green/should-you-pre-rinse-your-dishes-before-loading-the-dishwasher-1677291/

                          'Editors say that more than half of dishwasher owners pre-rinse dishes before washing, a step they say is completely unnecessary as it wastes water and makes little to no difference in cleaning performance.'

                          http://www.consumersearch.com/dishwas...

                          Assuming this is true, would that change your answer?

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            ipsedixit Sep 4, 2010 09:50 PM

                            Nope and nope.

                            There is something very therapeutic about washing dishes after a meal. It just seems like a natural way to end the eating or dining experience.

                            With a dishwasher, you load thing (whether pre-washing or not) then you have this gap in time before taking out the dishes. For me, until the table is clean and the dishes put away, I can't get closure on that particular meal. So with a dishwasher, I'd have to wait some significant period of time before I can feel like my meal is over with.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              Chemicalkinetics Sep 4, 2010 09:52 PM

                              Got it. Thanks. Just wanted to know if prewashing is the only concern you had.

                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              Midlife Sep 6, 2010 10:04 AM

                              Our daughter has forever chided us for "pre-washing" dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I have to argue two points on this issue:

                              1) my wife often prefers to leave the dishes and cooking items in the sink after dinner and gets back to them later. Some foods will dry in that time and I find that our dishwasher will NOT remove them.

                              2) There definitely seem to be certain types of foods that will dry very hard in the time between going in to the dishwasher and running a load. For us (just 2 of us) that could be 2 or 3 days easily.

                              Sorry............ but I don't enjoy having to scrape off dried bits when I put them away....... and wondering if they're really clean at that point. It's much simpler for me to quickly rinse first, with a quick scrub to those things that have dried.

                              1. re: Midlife
                                Bill Hunt Sep 6, 2010 07:25 PM

                                My Sani-Scrub cycle does a pretty good job, but we often will pre-wash (depending on the food), prior to going into the dishwasher. If we are loading, and immediately running, then Sani-Scrub takes care of things.

                                Hunt

                          2. Jen76 Sep 4, 2010 09:42 PM

                            I do both depending on the item (knives, certain pans, fine dishes/glassware/crystal get handwashed). Probably lean a little more towards the dishwasher. I try not to rinse before putting in the dishwasher. We bought a good dishwasher when we replaced the old icky one about 5 years ago and it does a great job in general. In the summer here in Phoenix, I'd waste more water trying to get cold water so it's almost always at least warm. I just generally hate putting my hands in murky dishwater, so it makes more sense for us to use a dishwasher rather than wash everything under running water. I also like the sanitizing features of a dishwasher. With a stainless interior, I don't use a dry cycle either. I've started the dishwasher at night and the next morning when I open it up, it's still warm inside. That's how well it holds the heat in.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Jen76
                              John E. Sep 4, 2010 10:42 PM

                              I spent some time in Mesa last winter without a dishwasher. There was a dish rack in the right side of the sink. I discovered that once the dishes/glasses/flatware were washed and put into the rack they were dry and ready to be put away in about 10 minutes. I guess the low humidity will do that. If that were the case here in Minnesota, we might do more handwashing. As it is, we have enough plates, glasses and flatware to get through several days until the dishwasher is full. (Pots, pans and cutlery never go into the dw).

                              1. re: John E.
                                Jen76 Sep 5, 2010 12:46 PM

                                Yes, dishes dry very quickly on the dish rack. However, even with the dishwasher, I find my dish rack ends up pretty full as it is with the things I wash by hand. And, like you, we have enough plates, bowls and glasses to last quite awhile for 2 people. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so I'm quite familiar with that climate. Can't say I miss it much.

                            2. Caroline1 Sep 4, 2010 11:03 PM

                              Dishwasher. Well, with the exception of fine old porcelain. Why? When my son was born, I asked my pediatrician for his recommendation on how to sterilize baby bottles. He said dishwashers are the best possible way, not only for the baby, but for the whole family because they sterilize things. He said it reduces colds in the family, keeps germs to a minimum, and also uses less water and power. Yes! Forty two years ago our pediatrician told me this! He was way ahead of his time.

                              My biggest problem with germs now is making sure whoever unloads the dishwasher either washes their hands well just before doing it OR wears rubber gloves. I *HATE* getting a clean spoon out of the silverware drawer only to find a damned fingerprint in the bowl! <sigh>

                              EDIT Oh! Oh! Besides fine old porcelain, NONE of the knives in my knife block NOR any of my cast iron is allowed in the dishwasher! Anyone who puts any of these in the dishwasher will be shot at dawn! If not on the spot. For the record, I do do my copper pots and pans in the dishwasher. I no longer have a pan rack, and there isn't room for one in this kitchen unless I do some very expensive remodeling of the exhaust hood over the island cooktop, so I currently go for the "antique' look with my copper. Hey, it cooks just the same! And if I ever have another overhead pot rack, or if I'm going to use some of it for cooking and serving, then it's not difficult to polish it up. Lazy? I prefer "pragmatic." :-)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Caroline1
                                chef chicklet Sep 6, 2010 04:11 PM

                                I totally agree with the baby bottle stuff, I do feel that the dishwasher does a better job, evertthing smells fresher. Milk can leave a sour smell even with the toughest scrubbing.
                                Having had the flu and pnomonia twice last year, I think back and my hubby was washing dishes. I think he cleaned the dish, but its hard to get he water that hot and hold onto because I'm pretty sure he didn't put on gloves. (now if I can get him the habit of wiping the counters down with my clorox wipes).

                                And as far as washing the fine china which isn't as often anymore, yes I'd rather handwash those along with the crystal and my nicer wine glasses. It's not the dishwasher that worries me so much as certain people "dinging" the plate or glass next to the item going in and chipping the glass or dish. ERRRR......

                              2. bagelman01 Sep 5, 2010 05:15 AM

                                Everyday dishes and glasses by machine.
                                Fine China, Porcelain and crystal by hand
                                Stainless flatware by machine
                                Sterling and Silverplate by hand.
                                Stainless Pots and Pans by machine.

                                I ususally prerinse before loading the machine, but not completely clean the items. I was instructed by our appliance repair person, that the dishwasher needs some resistance (coated on food) to work best.

                                One thing learned the hard way: you can't put stainless and silver or silverplate in the same dishwasher load or all the silver will dull/gray and need immediate polishing.

                                I am very carefule when hosting a large family gathering to put a dishpan in the sink and instruct all the helpful clearers that all flatware goes in the dishpan, none in the dishwasher (I even pull and hide the cutlerly holders from the dishwasher until the helpful, well meaning guests leave).

                                My wife recently bought a new dishwasher and has been very upset that it is not drying well (It was touted as using much less energy). I found she had not filled the holder with the sample bottle of Jet Dry. I did and it solved the problem. I used to think Jet Dry was a gimmick, but have seen that it actually works.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: bagelman01
                                  grayelf Sep 6, 2010 10:07 AM

                                  bagelman, we had a similar problem with our last dishwasher but it wasn't solved by adding Jet Dri sadly. Some dishwashers apparently eschew a proper drying cycle (using hot air or some such) to get the dishes dry in order to save energy. Drove me mad as we had to crack the unit open and leave it ajar overnight after waiting for the wash to finish in order to dry the dishes. Our new dishwasher has that cycle for sure :-).

                                  1. re: bagelman01
                                    m
                                    mpjmph Sep 7, 2010 11:00 AM

                                    Next time the Jet Dry runs out, fill the well with white vinegar... You'll get the same results for far less money.

                                  2. s
                                    smartie Sep 5, 2010 05:25 AM

                                    like most others a mix - day to day things in the dishwasher, too big or too fine are done by hand.

                                    I tend to put more small things in the dishwasher just before I start the load so if I have a small pan but the dishwasher is empty I will do it by hand but if the dishwasher is ready to wash I will squeeze it in.

                                    Just for fun a 'dishpan' (new word for me today) is called a washing up bowl in the UK!

                                    1. q
                                      queencru Sep 5, 2010 05:27 AM

                                      I do most of my dishes in the machine except for some pots and pans and knives. I am single and have a small sink, so it ends up being a lot more environmentally friendly me to fill up the dishwasher and then do the load. When I have to run the hot water to do a small load once or twice a day, it just doesn't make sense.

                                      I have found that the new phosphate free dishwasher detergents do cause a lot more problems than the old variety.

                                      1. c
                                        cutipie721 Sep 5, 2010 07:11 AM

                                        1. Dishwasher. When we shop for a new thing, being dishwasher safe is almost as important as it's functionality. I love my Epicurean chopping board mostly because it's dishwasher safe.

                                        2. I provide food, hence my BF insists on providing cleanup. I get smacked if I go anywhere near his sink. His way of hand washing is definitely creating an environmental and cost hazzard.

                                        Our water is very cold, even during summer, which makes cleaning less efficient. If we had to use hot water to clean by hand, might as well put them into the dishwasher instead.

                                        So after one finishes washing dishes by hand, you either have to leave them out on a rack to dry or wipe them with a towel. Since we don't have many items that are hand-washed, I usually just wipe them and put them away. I can't say this if I have to wipe more than 5 things.

                                        If I use a dishwasher, I just brush off the bits from the plate, load them in, and close the door. When it's done, we open the door, let the steam come out, and the stuff inside would dry out within 10 seconds from its retaining heat. No dripping mess, no dish rack taking up precious countertop space.

                                        1. Firegoat Sep 5, 2010 01:14 PM

                                          Neither. I cook. BF does the dishes. (by hand). Just two of us, so we're both happy. This somehow suits him as he also will follow me around like a hawk to see if I've used a knife and immediately sharpen it afterwards. I'm surprised my 20 year old carbon steel knives are still around as those are his FAVORITE to sharpen. If I so much as touch a knife, I know I'll be picking up his knife sharpening equipment off the counter in the morning. (sometimes he tries to wait to do it til I go to sleep so I don't mock him for thinking that slicing one slice of bread requires the knife to be resharpened.) On the good side, he is meticulous and does a wonderful job... so much that i was jokingly complaining about it one day and my sister requested that as a Christmas present this year that I just bring him to her house and have him sharpen all her knives.

                                          1. Breadcrumbs Sep 5, 2010 02:40 PM

                                            If I can put it in the dishwasher and feel safe about doing so, in it goes! I cook a lot and having this convenience helps a lot as I can spend more time cooking!

                                            Also, a local tv program partnered with Consumer Rept magazine and did a feature on dishwashers. The conclusion was that it was more environmentally friendly to use the dish washer. So after that, I felt even less guilty about doing so!

                                            All that said, I have a collection of antique and vintage kitchenware that I routinely use along w good knives and, some pots and pans that are not recommended for the dishwasher. All those are done by hand...much to the dismay of Mr. B!!!!

                                            1. h
                                              Harters Sep 5, 2010 02:56 PM

                                              We bought a dishwasher when we movbed into this house nearly 30 years ago - only because they had been one there before and it would have left a gap.

                                              We keep it due to extreme laziness. Except, of course, for the 19th/early 20th century glassware that we use for Saturday night dinners which is handwashed

                                              1. Chemicalkinetics Sep 6, 2010 08:47 AM

                                                Thanks for your thoughtful answers.

                                                There are certainly a lot more people hand-wash their dishes than I believed.

                                                None (maybe except queencru) has mentioned the environmental concern as his/her primary reason. No one has given the impression that he/she would switch to the other method if he/she finds it to be environmental friendlier. It seems most people (including me) choose to do dishes by dishwashers or by hands based on the convenience and efficiency factor.

                                                1. s
                                                  smartie Sep 6, 2010 09:11 AM

                                                  has anybody got some suggestions for those days when the dishwasher just does not seem to wash clean and glasses come out with stuff stuck to them? Then it's a whole process to hand wash them. It doesn't always happen but is it a result of poor loading or overloading?

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: smartie
                                                    Jen76 Sep 6, 2010 09:23 AM

                                                    This usually happens to me when I've gotten creative and overloaded the dishwasher by squeezing things into every little space possible. It's usually only a couple glasses for me though. On the very rare occasion that the whole top shelf is left with goobers stuck to the dishes, I will unload the clean dishes and spread out the dirty ones and then run the dishwasher again.

                                                    1. re: smartie
                                                      m
                                                      masha Sep 6, 2010 09:26 AM

                                                      Is the problem mainly your glasses? If so, it may be because, in addition to glasses, you are placing heavily soiled items in your topshelf. At least with my old-model (1988 KA) dw, there is a real difference in terms of cleaning power on the top and bottom level. Try to place all heavily soiled items on the bottom or, if it is full, then do the remaining heavily soiled items by hand, reserving the top shelf for glassware and other items that don't have food residues.

                                                      1. re: masha
                                                        grayelf Sep 6, 2010 10:11 AM

                                                        That is good advice, masha. We bought our DW just a few months ago, and it says not to put anything "delicate" in the bottom rack. I ween that means it's a tornado down there :-). And that it makes sense to only put lightly soiled, more delicate items on top.

                                                    2. m
                                                      mojoeater Sep 6, 2010 10:28 AM

                                                      It's just the two of us and we run the dishwasher about once a week and only when it is full. Our good knives, pans and glassware we do by hand.

                                                      Seems to me that tupperware and other plastic items come cleaner in the dishwasher. Must be the high heat. But I do hate how long it takes plastic to dry. I don't run the dry cycle but just open the dishwasher and let things air dry. Everything but the plastic is dry within minutes and I can put it away. The plastic I end up putting in the drying rack over the sink so the lips and everything dry out overnight.

                                                      1. c
                                                        ChristinaBambina Sep 6, 2010 10:42 AM

                                                        I don't own a dishwasher, but I wouldn't take one even if it were free because I've seen what they do. My mom has one and her dishes and glasses all look damaged (cloudy and scratched) and her glasses taste terrible when I drink water.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: ChristinaBambina
                                                          Chemicalkinetics Sep 6, 2010 10:51 AM

                                                          I read articles that dishwasher can damage dishes, especially glasses if they are prewashed. Supposedly, the dishwasher detergents need to attack something and if your dishes are too clean, then they start to attack the glassware. Here:

                                                          ' Today's advanced detergents are designed to attack food particles left on dishes. "If there isn't food soil, they tend to attack glasses," says Edwards. "Some glasses are more susceptible to this kind of attacking than others."

                                                          The detergent etches small pits in glasses that you can't see with the naked eye, but the glass appears cloudy, according to Edwards. The process is called "etching" and causes permanent damage. '

                                                          http://shine.yahoo.com/event/green/sh...

                                                          1. re: ChristinaBambina
                                                            m
                                                            mojoeater Sep 6, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                            All but our best glasses go in the dishwasher and none are cloudy. Perhaps she has a bad DW?

                                                            1. re: mojoeater
                                                              PegS Sep 6, 2010 05:13 PM

                                                              It could be two-fold. Yes, it could be that the glasses are too clean going into the DW, but also she could have too much rinse-aid. If the glasses are etching she should also see if she can turn the rinse-aid setting lower.

                                                              To answer the larger question: I grew up without a DW and only got one a few years ago when we remodeled the kitchen. I cook and DH cleans, for the most part, so the DW was for him. He also had never had a DW before either. I gotta say, we're total converts now. As a couple, we tend to run the DW only once or twice a week, letting the dishes pile up in the DW. The only items that have problems are stainless steel silverware in silverware tray. We've learned that those need to be pre-rinsed if we're not running the DW right away. Other than that, all other items, including porcelain spoons in the tray, get totally clean even after sitting in the DW for that long. What my DH raves about, also, is how the DW seems to actually get things *cleaner* than if we hand wash.

                                                              That said, of course good knives and big pots get hand washed.

                                                          2. Chemicalkinetics Sep 6, 2010 05:19 PM

                                                            I have read a few responses where the authors said that they let the dishes pile up in the dishwasher (for a few days to a week) before running the dishwasher. Can this cause problem where the foods and residues on the dishes start to decompose and promote bacterial growth inside the dishwashers? Assuming the dishes are not prewashed of course.

                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              m
                                                              mojoeater Sep 7, 2010 03:31 AM

                                                              I'm sure there is bacteria in there. But it certainly won't survive the high heat of the wash cycle.

                                                              1. re: mojoeater
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Sep 7, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                                No, no. I understand they will all die during the washing, but I am concern about having bacteria growth between the time the dishes are put in the dishwasher and the time the dishwasher is fired up.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                  m
                                                                  mpjmph Sep 7, 2010 11:14 AM

                                                                  I only run the dishwasher once a week. I'm sure there are some things growing in there between washings, but they don't smell and I don't lick the dirty dishes, so I don't think it's a problem :)

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    c
                                                                    cutipie721 Sep 7, 2010 12:17 PM

                                                                    If we don't manage to start a load that day, we prop the dishwasher door half open. The plates would dry out eventually, hence nothing grows as far as I can tell.

                                                                    I've heard numerous tales of my single friends who would pile up dishes in the sink, soaked (not on purpose, but from the splashes of a regularly used faucet.........), for days, and they admit seeing fungus if they leave the dishes undisturbed till the weekend.

                                                                    Most of the dishwashers nowadays have a "half-load" option, though I don't know why we never used it.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      m
                                                                      mojoeater Sep 8, 2010 06:26 PM

                                                                      Why be concerned if it's going to die?

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                        q
                                                                        queencru Sep 8, 2010 07:13 PM

                                                                        Do you have children or animals that get into the dishwasher and handle/lick the dishes before they're clean? I'm not sure why it would matter otherwise.

                                                                        1. re: queencru
                                                                          Chemicalkinetics Sep 8, 2010 07:14 PM

                                                                          I have heard of animals (especially dogs) licking the dishes before putting them into dishwashers, but I have never heard of the children part.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                            m
                                                                            mojoeater Sep 8, 2010 07:23 PM

                                                                            Considering what animals voluntarily eat out of trash cans and such, I wouldn't worry about them licking a plate sitting in the dishwasher for a few days!

                                                                  2. tracylee Sep 6, 2010 05:24 PM

                                                                    I use the dishwasher if my SO is out of town and I'm running low on glasses and silverware. Otherwise, he does all of the dishes by hand. That's the way he's always done it, and far be it for me to complain is someone else is doing the dishes.

                                                                    Unless we're making a dish that has to be cooked on the plate to be nice and toasty, we use paper plates in the wicker holders. Again, his habit.... I don't try to reason with him, I just go with it.

                                                                    1. f
                                                                      Fiona Sep 7, 2010 12:40 PM

                                                                      I have had dishwashers but when the last one broke I elected to put in more storage in that spot. So I wash by hand. I don't use a dishwasher for several reasons
                                                                      - I have a small kitchen and space is precious
                                                                      -environmental, I am trying to use more alternatives with less carbon footprint
                                                                      -as others have said, dish-washing can be very calming (i also have found that hanging laundry to dry is a very calming task)
                                                                      -most of the time I don't have enough dirty dishes to use a machine, when I entertain I use my mother's very old fine china which I won't even let another human wash, let alone let a machine wash.
                                                                      I was interested to read this set of posts to hear different approaches to hand washing that may use let energy - I am going to get a dishpan !

                                                                      1. jgg13 Sep 7, 2010 10:01 PM

                                                                        dishwasher for everything that can be put in there, and even many things that really probably shouldn't (but I'm moving back towards hand washing on those)

                                                                        why? i'm very lazy.

                                                                        1. Vexorg Sep 8, 2010 08:47 PM

                                                                          I use the dishwasher for most dishes, but don't usually put pots and pans in the dishwasher because they don't get clean, and won't put any of my good kitchen knives in the dishwasher either. Those are all washed by hand. As a bachelor, I usually go through about 1 dishwasher load a week.

                                                                          1. b
                                                                            beachmouse Sep 9, 2010 08:45 AM

                                                                            Everything but the wok, Kitchen Aid mixer bowl and paddle, and the good knives goes in the dishwasher. There's nothing calming or theraputic about hand-washing for me, only annoyance that there are so many more interesting things I could be doing in the time it takes to hand wash ordinary dishes. And I also feel like it's far easier to get the cutting boards that have been slimed by raw chicken properly sterile by running them through water temperatures far higher than what my hands will tolerate while hand washing.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: beachmouse
                                                                              Chemicalkinetics Sep 9, 2010 08:57 AM

                                                                              What is wrong with putting a mixer bowl in dishwasher?

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                b
                                                                                beachmouse Sep 9, 2010 10:09 AM

                                                                                It seemed like the manual said I shouldn't, so I never have. As the mixer was by far my most expensive small kitchen appliance, I wanted to do everything by the book with it. And since it's usually cookie or bread dough in there, it's not too bad to quickly clean up.

                                                                                1. re: beachmouse
                                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Sep 9, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                                                  I see. Thanks.

                                                                            2. l
                                                                              lemons Sep 9, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                                              After 20 years of being a single mom and living in apartments or townhouses, I married again and moved to A House. Our kids had moved out long before we married, but nevertheless, unlike my single days, I use my dishwasher regularly and at least once a weeks give thanks for it. NOT the kitchen knives or good china, of course. Yes, my KA bowl and beater; it gets them nicely clean for a grease- (and thus worry-)free batch of beaten egg whites. It is an old DW, so there isn't the garbage-disposal part that some new ones have, so I do knock stuff off the plates, and still run water in glasses that held milk. Old habits die hard. And egg yolk is also meant to be zapped.
                                                                              God help me, I do love it so. Knitting is soothing. Solitaire is soothing. Washing dishes, not so much. I can meditate doing lots of things, but if I do it by hand, I need to be paying more attention than I would if I were doing it mindlessly. The dishwasher WILL be replaced when it dies. (All our appliances die on holidays. Is this some rule? Especially when we have a gang of family staying here.)

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: lemons
                                                                                John E. Sep 9, 2010 11:56 AM

                                                                                When I was a teenager our refrigerator died on Easter Sunday. My dad called up one of the appliance guys in town and he brought over a brand new Amana and took away the old Gibson. Ah, the joys of living in a small town.

                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                  Sooeygun Sep 9, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                                                  I think these things love to happen on holidays. How about needing the septic tank pumped on Christmas Day? That was sure a thrill my dad didn't need.

                                                                              2. Chemicalkinetics Sep 11, 2010 06:41 PM

                                                                                Thanks everyone for your answers. They are very helpful and informative. For one, these answers made me realize that many people wash their dishes with hands. I was under the impression that 70-80% of the population rely heavily on dishwashers. I also learned that almost everyone select their preference based on convenience, feasibility and time.

                                                                                1. t
                                                                                  taos Sep 12, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                                                  Hand wash everything. I don't own a dishwasher so I don't have a choice. I had one once but never used it. I might get one again but I'm not really in a rush.

                                                                                  My biggest issue with handwashing is the damn scent in all of the handwashing detergents. I've tried every variety of Dawn and they all have a strong scent that stays on the dishes.

                                                                                  Does anyone know of a handwashing soap that cuts grease and has little or no scent?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: taos
                                                                                    Chemicalkinetics Sep 12, 2010 02:54 PM

                                                                                    Try those with "free and clear" label:

                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Colgate-43552-20OZPure-Dish-Soap/dp/B001EGKZA4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1284328435&sr=8-4

                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/COX30172-Natural-Dishwashing-Liquid-Clear/dp/B001G84VWI/ref=sr_1_32?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1284328400&sr=8-32

                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Generat...

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                      t
                                                                                      taos Sep 13, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                                      Thanks for the links. I'm wondering if you have personal experience with any of these?

                                                                                      1. re: taos
                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Sep 13, 2010 01:28 PM

                                                                                        Actually, I do. I didn't mean to, but it turns out the three Iinks I posted are the three products I tried. I dislike heavy scent, and that is why I used them. They all seem to work fine for me. I don't notice one clean much better than the others. I will just try the cheaper of the three first and see if you like it.

                                                                                  2. h
                                                                                    HillJ Sep 18, 2010 04:10 PM

                                                                                    Plastics and silverware make the dishwasher; everything else by hand. My younger children consider the DW "their job" and I don't interfere with that attitude! I soak dishes, pots and pans in suds a good hour beforehand then I only need to lightly scrub and rinse. I like what a DW does to get plastics good and clean and silverware shines brighter out of the DW. Glassware always gets washed first by hand and then left to air dry. I've also tried a few recipes using the steam cycle of a DW...but didn't care for the results....or the need to refresh the DW afterwards :)

                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                      lagatta Sep 18, 2010 05:09 PM

                                                                                      Hand. Live alone, don't have a dishwasher. Don't feel like leaving dirty dishes in a dishwasher for days on end until I fill it up, or buying and storing so many dishes in my little flat. People are forgetting some of the environmental footprint of buying the machine in the first place - and more dishes than one needs.

                                                                                      I agree that dishwashers, especially the commercial kind, do a very good job of sterilising. And may well be more environmentally-friendly for a family.

                                                                                      1. Pia Sep 20, 2010 09:04 AM

                                                                                        Handwash, because sadly our new house lacks a dishwasher. Luckily it does have a large sink with two basins.

                                                                                        My husband follows the method others here have mentioned: fill up sink with soapy water, then scrub and rinse each dish and put in drying rack.

                                                                                        I don't like the idea of reaching into a soapy muck full of little pieces of food. I usually rinse the dishes very briefly (maybe ten seconds total, not per dish), then with the water off, scrub each one and put it in the clean half of the sink (occasionally turning the water on to rinse the sponge), and after all the scrubbing is done, rinse each dish and put it in the drying rack.

                                                                                        Is my way less efficient or worse somehow? It doesn't seem to be typical.

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