DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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15 July 2015

A new dishwasher

I thought I'd never write this post but I want to tell you about my new dishwasher and why I have it.  As many of you know, five years ago we gave away our dishwasher when I realised it was using a lot more water than when I washed up in the sink. I was happy washing up at the sink. It was a soothing task, warm hands in warm water, looking out the window.

But our water bill started going up and I looked into what we could cut back on. I measured how much water I was using by washing up by hand - it was minimum 8 litres per wash, plus extra for rinsing. I started out washing up once a day but the mess on the sink bugged me, so I was washing up three times a day and using a minimum of 24 litres + rinse water a day. 

I looked at the water and electricity consumption of the newer dishwashers. I'd read that the Bosch dishwashers were good but I wanted a drawer type. When we went to check them out at the shop, the retail assistant steered us clear of them and we decided to look at another German brand, Miele. We have other Miele products and they're good quality and last a long, long time. We ended up buying the Miele 3D Cutlery Tray Dishwasher G6100SCU. It's Eco wash uses 11.3 litres of water. Using the sensor wash, it will detect how much water and heat is needed and adjusts itself accordingly; on that sensor wash, it might use as little as 6 litres a wash. There is also a fast wash that takes 30 minutes.



We've had the machine for a week now and we're using it once a day. If we're using the maximum of 11.3 litres of water instead of the 25 litres a day in the sink we used to use, we're saving 13.7 litres a day and about 100 litres a week. We're actually using less than the maximum because we're using either the fast wash or the sensor wash.


One of the other problems I had with our old machine was the dishwasher powder I used. It was very corrosive and expensive. Now I'm happily using Ecostore's dishwasher powder and rinse aid and I have to say that even if they weren't my sponsor, I'd still be buying it. I asked Liz at Ecostore for some information about the powder and this is her response:

Ecostore’s Autodish Powder and Autodish Tablet formulations incorporate two types of enzymes. Their presence enables us to boost the cleaning performance particularly on protein-based stains (such as from dairy and poultry products which includes meat, milk and egg, etc…) and on starch-based stains (such as from cereals, gravy, potato and pasta dishes, etc. We use detergents (used to remove oil-based stains such as salad dressings, olive oil, butter, etc., and builders (that enhances the performance of the detergents when used in hard water). 

Optimizing cleaning performance while limiting the total amount of active ingredients allows us create formulations where the waste water discharge from the dish wash machine can be made suitable as grey water re-use for gardens and lawns and also reduce the impact to water pollution if discharged directly to the environment from unnecessary chemical loading.

So it looks like dish powder has improved a lot too over those five years. Woolworths is currently selling the 1kg bottle of Autodish powder at $8.99 but keep an eye on it because they have Ecostore specials every so often. Buy then and stock up when it's cheaper.

We all have to be careful when we simplify to make sure we never have the attitude that there is no need to change. We should always look for ways to improve what we do. Technology and circumstances change all the time and by looking at how we do our housework with a critical eye we can take advantage of those changes. Sometimes when you look at your systems, it doesn't make sense to change for a variety of reasons. But when it does make sense, don't get stuck in your old ways. Do your research, think about how those changes might effect you and how you work and if it makes sense and you can afford it, make some adjustments and change.

46 comments:

  1. white vinegar is a great alternative "rinse agent" for dish washers

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  2. i love how much time and water my dishwasher saves, there are only 2 of us, so very rarely do we put a wash on every day, its more like every second day which reduces the water use even more!

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  3. Love the new dishwasher. The third drawer at the top is awesome.

    I find that my dishwasher helps me in my attempts to live a simpler life. It means I can focus on my young kiddies more and on some of my own interests instead of washing all the dishes. Yet, washing dishes by hand can have benefits for a quiet time of reflection. I guess there are give and takes with dishwashing and other aspects of life. It's like you said, we have to figure out what is the best for us in the time we are living now.

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  4. I, too am considering a dishwasher. Now that I'm back to work full time my husband is helping with dishes, and while I greatly appreciate his help, he's slowly making me crazy! He uses many times more dish soap, water, towels, than I ever thought possible. Some days the sink is full all day, of un-rinsed dishes. I have long considered dishwashers wasteful, but at least it is all out of sight.
    I will have to see which ones with high ratings are available here in the states.

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  5. I am debating with myself on this very question. I have no problem hand washing but the dishes piling up in the sink during the day just flat bothers me. But washing up 3 times a day uses so much water. So I have been using the dishwasher on its Smart Cycle.

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  6. Thanks for this informative and useful post, Rhonda. I've always been a bit anti-dishwasher, for one, I like to stand at the sink and lookout over the garden, and I always thought they used way more water than the ads stated. I find lately though that I'm not enjoying my time at the sink as much, wanting to be away doing other things. Like you, to conserve water, I started washing up once a day, but then found it overwhelming to look at all those dishes and realise I still had to wash them. I like the sound of the Meile, and it's various programmes. I like your comment about not getting stuck in old ways, important to remember. I think now after reading your post, I'll look into getting a dishwasher when I move, so thanks for the review.

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  7. Hi Rhonda
    I have followed your blog for quite a while now, but have never commented before. I love how you choose to live your life and I live a fairly simple life as well, although trying to keep the family on board can be trying sometimes.
    I am in New Zealand and I have used Ecostore dishwashing powder for ages. It is great and I also use their washing powder and shampoo and conditoner. Their products are fantastic and I love that they are natural. A good Kiwi Company.

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  8. Good for you Rhonda. It looks great. I hate mine (Smeg) but will have to wait until it gives up the ghost but I've always liked Miele. The top cutlery tray looks very useful. Appreciate your point about remaining open minded

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  9. Just love my Miele dishwasher! I'm quite OCD about organising the cutlery drawer though! :)

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  10. Oh Rhonda, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw your post. Lol. Good on you! I never liked the idea of a dishwasher either but we cook from scratch, bake cake and bread, it's just not economical to wash by hand. We're on tank water and solar, so I guess the expenses are minor and the water gets recycled in the garden. Despite that I hate using my precious water! I bought a dish draw as it's only 2 of us and it would take too long to fill a large dishwasher. We're very happy with it. It uses 6 L per wash and also has a fast cycle. I make my own dishwashing detergent and use vinegar as a rinse aid. Works a treat.
    Good luck with your new dishwasher!

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    1. Hi Frances - was so interested to read your post as I have only just had a FP dishdrawer installed yesterday and figuring out how to use it etc... but I have very high sensitivites to fragrances and the Finish dishwasher stuff is affecting me - could you please share with me what you make as a detergent - presume it must be ok in the Fisher and Paykel dishdrawer? I have only used vinegar in the rinse as not game to use the rinse aid. Would so appreciate any advice. and is the Eco one fragrance free?

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    2. Hi Frances, I would dearly love your recipe for dishwasher powder too please.
      I am using bicarb soda but my glasses turn out streaky and cloudy. My husband can't stand the smell of vinegar so don't put that in.

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  11. Hi Rhonda - we bought a Miele dishwasher twenty years ago, and it was one of the most energy and water efficient of those available back then. It has been repaired twice and is still going strong, so you can't complain about that. When it eventually dies, we will happily buy another Miele, and it sounds like they are even more efficient now.

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  12. After the children grew up, I found myself doing the dishes by hand (which I also found quite relaxing), but I developed eczema on my hands quite badly. We found a smaller size tall tub, that takes pots and pans, and I have been using it for about three years. Luckily my hands got better (I think my homemade soap also helped). Thanks for the wonderful blog posts, Rhonda.

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  13. Good on you Rhonda for continually assessing what you do, what you value and working out a way to make them tie in together.

    I love my dishwasher, with all the cooking, baking, snack times and dishes we create as a family of 5 I know it uses far less water then I would do. I also hate dirty dishes sitting around. I think it is un-hygenic and it only takes one of the boys to grab something dirty from the sink thinking it it "clean enough" and we could have food poisoning on our hands.

    For me it is a tool that allows me more time to bake, cook and so forth, as I know the clean up will be simple. It is a piece of technology that encourages me to live more simply. :)

    I hope you find it delivers the savings you are looking for. It is an excellent brand and would be my next choice in our next house. :)

    xx

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  14. Interesting Rhonda. My dishwasher sits in the kitchen unloved and unused because I simply can't decide which way is better. Don't you still have to wash up saucepans, roasting tins, casserole dishes, plasticware and chopping boards? This is what bothers me about which is the best way to go.

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    1. Hi Rose. I think it depends on how much water and energy your dishwasher uses. When I had my old dishwasher, it was better to wash by hand. times have changed and now this machine is better than hand washing. This dishwasher manual advises against washing wood, glass and crockery with gold decorations and aluminium. Everything else goes in. I make sure there is nothing stuck on the bottom of saucepans and they go in and come out clean. Last night I put in the ceramic insert of the slow cooker. Again, I made sure there was nothing stuck to the surface and it came out fine. So to answer your list: yes to saucepans, stainless steel roasting tins, casserole dishes, plastic and plastic chopping boards. No to wooden chopping boards, aluminium cooking and baking trays and tins.

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  15. Glad this issue came up. I was always told than hand washing used less water than dishwashers but in the last 7 years as a SAHM and making everything from scratch, I was washing up three times a day. I knew that I was using much more water. When I did the research there was so many negative comments on using a dishwasher from people that were living simply. I almost reconsidered but when we became a family of four, I was literally in the kitchen all day. It has changed my life! I have more time to knit and sew now. I use eco store dish tabs and very very happy with this product; and I have never ever used a rinse aid. Glad to hear your giving a dishwasher the thumbs up.

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  16. Somrtimes you just have to be flexible, and also technology is always changing, so products become more acceptable with energy and water usage.
    I have a single dish drawer and love it, 6 litres per load, 1 load a day ,kitchen clean and tidy not chaos from 3 cooked meals plus baking.....also big enough for extras when I have guests.
    Would Frances be willing to share the recipe for dishwasher detergent, I would like to give it a try.

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  17. Rhonda, you're such a good role model for all of us. You're open to change and being flexible is a great quality for all of us to pursue. Your choice to buy a dishwasher makes good sense now. I want to open my life up to new possibilities, too. Enjoy your lovely dishwasher.

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  18. I live in California and simply cannot use up water. For one thing, the city and county laws are stringent about it now, but more than that, I have a social and ecological conscience in time of this drought. It is really bad; the worse one I have lived through. I keep finding ways to use water conservatively like taking "Navy baths" and the like, saving water while waiting for it to warm up, in a bucket that goes into my watering can for plants and trees; and saving grey water for non-edibles. Washing by hand is unthinkable; it just uses up too much water. Letting water run while brushing your teeth or washing your face is also a sin. My dishwasher uses about 6-9 gallons depending upon the cycle I choose, and it runs at night every other night. I will say this: most of us are trying like mad to conserve our water: and so far our county has earned the highest rating in the state to do so.

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  19. Great post! Food for thought.

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  20. Dear Rhonda, I faced the same dilemma about buying a dishwasher years ago when I read your posts about getting rid of yours... And you steered me clear! However this year especially with three small children I literally felt as though I was at the sink all day and had no time to spend with anyone, or if I left the dishes of a night it would take me an hour and a half the next morning plus there would be no bench or sink space for the morning...it was driving me bonkers! And ao in February I asked for a dishwasher for my birthday and we got a Bosch...it has changed my life and we are now using a fraction of the water I used to 😃 I too love the ecostore powder and tablets but have only been lucky enough to see one of each on Woolworths shelves and last time I was forced to buy earth choice instead... It is no where near as good it leaves residue and food on the dishes. A LITTLE TIP I have tested and was so happy with the results... I cut each ecostore tablet in half in the wrapper and they still clean perfectly and the box lasts twice as long for half the cost !!! Wooo hooo

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  21. I have had two Bosch dishwashers...I was very happy with the first one and not so happy with the second. But for us it is the noise decibel number and Bosch seemed to have the best one. We are just a family of two but I cook everything from scratch so lots of dishes. I could wash by hand but would dread the thought...I need to look to see if I have a speed cycle...the two hour thing drives me nuts!

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    1. I'm pleased you mention the noise factor because I meant to say something about it. This dishwasher is almost silent. It's like a very faint background noise.

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  22. I'll join the chorus of commenters saying nice to read this - we are half-way through renovating our kitchen and debating the dishwasher issue - we've both always been anti-dishwashers, but I get so sick of seeing dishes piled up when we already have so little counter space. So putting them into the dishwasher would mean out of sight. Plus this house is being renovated to sell and when we looked at it 3 years ago we heard a number of others looking say "but where would you put a dishwasher" so it's obviously something people look for. Glad to hear it!

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  23. Thanks for your post, Rhonda. My husband had a heart transplant (just celebrated his 10th anniversary) so hand washing is not an option. My hands could never tolerate the temperature necessary to kill harmful bacteria, but our dishwasher has no problem with it 😌. I hope I can purchase your Miele machine in Wisconsin when the time comes, which I think will be soon. Our "granny" is 23 years old, and the technology is vastly improved. My best to you and Hanno! Cindy

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  24. Ooh that looks very spiffy! We went with a Bosch a few years back when we were buying our first, it's never put a foot wrong and I think the star ratings are very similar to yours. My hubby used to work for Harvey Norman and he would always recommend either Miele or Bosch! We've always had a Miele vacuum :) Good on you for doing research and sticking to your principles :)

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  25. My first time reading your blog as a friend referred me - I have only just had a dishdrawer installed and having so much trouble with the fragrance of the FINISH - is the Ecostore fragrance free? I am already using vinegar in the rinse cycle....thank you so much...Love your new machine - I had to go with a drawer one as I find it too difficult to get down to the level of the bottom drawer...just got the single drawer. Would love to know why they steered you away from the Dishdrawer...tho they did tell me there had been some problems but they had been ironed out. My cousin has had one for quite a few years and very happy with it.

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    1. Welcome Margaret. The Ecostore dishwash powder is a light lemon fragrance. The Ecostore dishwash tablets are fragrance-free. Try the tablets and see if you like them.

      He told us they had many consumer complaints with that particular machine, Margaret.

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    2. Thanks Rhonda...I will try the fragrance free tablets and see how I go - the powder may be ok - don't mind lemon - depends what its like.
      I have my fingers crossed with this machine - so here's hoping. Thanks for your reply...wish I could get a sample of these things to try. Get so sick of buying things that I have to get rid of...hard on a pension

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    3. Margaret, can you get Seventh Generation where you are? They make a fragrance free product.

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  26. Thanks so much for this post, we are on the look out for our first ever dishwasher soon to be installed - love the idea of using less water especially. Warm regards, Jan

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  27. We have a Fisher & Pykel 2 drawer dishwasher in our NZ home for 11 years and love it! If they erected 't so expensive here in UK we would have bought one for our UK home too.

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  28. Thank you for this insightful post Rhonda. I've been thinking that it may be time for our family to invest in a dishwasher too. We are all at home all day and go through a LOT of dishes - at least 4-5 washes a day I would say. The convenient thing about hand washing is that we have the water in the sink and wash as needed, whereas with a dishwasher we would have to wait for a full machine to do a load. You have given us something to think about.

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  29. I have a dishwasher, but stopped using it in april after watching a programme on tv testing various products for consumers. In order to get the dishes clean enough, one had to rinse them well, preferably with soap first, before putting them in the dishwasher! I was horrified and amazed and figured that if that was the case I might as well do it by hand anyway. (A little tip if one is using a dishwasher, put half a lemon in the basket if it smells a bit stale, leaves a lovely lemon smell in the washer when the wash is done). Pam in Norway

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  30. I rue the day I decided not to bring my dishwasher here to BG. Cooking everything from scratch amounts to a huge amount of washing up and it drives me absolutely crazy, especially when the Mr cooks as he has to use every pot, pan, dish and utensil in the kitchen! Mine was a Bosch and the best and quietest one I've ever had, bought secondhand on ebay for 50 quid, used for 5 years and resold for the same amount.

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  31. I am torn because I am so used to handwashing but haven't made the change. I have always been told to pre-rinse bedore stacking the dirty dishes and when I do that I keep thinking I might as well just handwash. Do you pre rinse? What about cake tins and batter in mixing bowls? We don't wash till the dishwasher is full so otten it takes me 2 days to completely fill it and makes me wonder if all that stuff will just be caked on so hard it won't wash clean and I"d have to go through it again.

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  32. We do have a Bosch and at this point we are very happy with it. It's longevity remains to be seen. I considered the one with the flat flatware rack and decided that it would drive me nuts and have not regretted that decision. Here in the US we use Seventh Generation dish powder and would never use a toxic product. I think you will enjoy having this kitchen servant once again.

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  33. We use a very efficient dishwasher from Sears. My husband is an energy and water stickler so he did a lot of research. The dishwasher is very quiet and uses little energy.
    I am trying to use as little of packaging as possible. So I love the tabs but they are all wrapped in plastic. So am trying to find something that works as well as the tablets.

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  34. We stopped using our dishwasher for a year as an experiment. During the process we discovered it did use less water to use the "smart wash" feature on our dishwasher than if we washed by hand. I was surprised. I know manual washing doesn't use electricity, but we just decided that was a compromise to be made so we'd have more time to garden, knit, bake, and otherwise live. I am glad you found one that suits your needs. I agree that its good to flexible like that, to give things a reconsider when conditions change.

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  35. Good luck with the new dishwasher.

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  36. Thanks for yet another great post. We are looking at buying a dishwasher at the moment so your timing was incredible and post very helpful, will definitely look at Miele.

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  37. We have a Miele dishwasher with the cutlery tray (not sure which model) and it is fantastic. Must try the Ecostore powder. Thank you.

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  38. "Optimizing cleaning performance while limiting the total amount of active ingredients allows us create formulations where the waste water discharge from the dish wash machine can be made suitable as grey water re-use for gardens and lawns and also reduce the impact to water pollution if discharged directly to the environment from unnecessary chemical loading."

    What does that mean you think, 'can be made suitable'? It's not grey water safe unless it's filtered perhaps?

    Annemal

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    1. Annemal, I understand it to mean that by limiting the chemicals in their products, the water from the dish washer can be used as grey water on the garden. It isn't filtered, there are just fewer chemicals.

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