Sunday, January 18, 2009

Automatic Dishwashers

Automatic home dishwashers are a sure sign of too many dishes in the kitchen. In perfect world, a dishwasher might might make life easier, but in the real world it only defers responsibility and makes home life more complicated.

In the simplest kitchen scenario, when you use a dish, you wash it. The automatic dishwasher adds a whole new layer of bureaucracy—and more opportunities for family members to slough off. Someone has to LOAD the dishwasher, then someone has to RUN it, then someone has to UNLOAD it. Household members are no more inclined to perform these tasks than they would actually washing the dishes, but now they are detached from the tasks by minutes or hours. No longer is cleaning the dish directly attached to dirtying it.

And there's always the political problem of knowing whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty. Marketers claim to have solved this problem by selling you reversible signs to paste on the dishwasher saying "Clean" and "Dirty"—but of course nobody ever sets them!

I propose that the kitchen with a dishwasher is no more efficient or "labor-saving" than one without, except that now you've added a complicated piece of unnecessary equipment, requiring capital, energy and maintenance.

It is debatable whether a dishwasher wastes more or less water than hand-washing. (It depends on your water efficiency when hand-washing.) Certainly dishwasher soap is more expensive than standard dish soap. Is a dishwasher more hygienic? Probably, because it uses hotter water, but I contend that our lives are too hygienic to begin with. We NEED a few germs to keep our immune system healthy, and they are all around us anyway.

If you want a simple life and the simplest of all possible cleanup procedures, stock as few dishes and pans as possible and ditch the dishwasher. Then simply wash the dishes as you use them.

Parents: If you can't get your kids to wash the dishes, you're probably not going to get them to clean out the dishwasher either!

More corporate propaganda.


  1. i like this article. I just moved into a new place with a dishwasher and I completely turned into that person who waits to wash dishes because i dont have a full load..I love to bake and cook so I end up with a lot of dirty dishes/pans/etc that require a lot of washing BEFORE going in the dishwasher because it never seems to get them clean otherwise.

    Silly me. :)

  2. A dishwasher is the most useless appliance I have ever seen. In the time you are spending to pack everything in and unpack everything out, you could have just washed the dishes and leave them on the drying rack to dry. They have literally tried to solve a problem by adding more problems to it. Not only is it expensive, it uses power, breaksdown, and requires you to handwash a lot of stuff before anyway, so you might as well HANDWASH it. Ridiculous product.If I propose the concept of a dishwasher on dragons den I would be chased out of the studio.

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