Going back to washing up by hand

29 March 2011
I've had a couple of emails lately asking about washing up.  I've written about this in the past but its over a year now since we got rid of our dishwasher so I thought it would be interesting to write about going back to washing up by hand.

In November 2009, I decided I no longer needed, nor wanted, a dishwasher and asked Hanno to remove it from the kitchen.  Today, I wanted to give an evaluation of the water and electricity saved by not having a dishwasher but we've changed both our electric and water companies in the past year and with price fluctuations and different pricing structures, it was too difficult to calculate.  Suffice to say we're saving electricity but probably use about the same amount of water. I know there is a common belief now that hand washing uses more water than machine washing.  I have seen figures of 63 litres mentioned for washing up by hand.  That is a lot of water! My washing up sink holds about 15 litres, my rinsing sink holds about 10 litres.  Even if I filled them both to their capacity I'd use 25 litres. As it happens, I use  less than 10 litres, twice a day.  I explain how below.

But water and electricity aren't as much of a concern to me as the chemicals used in dishwashers are.  Not only are they very expensive, they're highly toxic and corrosive.  Before I gave up my dishwasher, I tried a couple of homemade versions of dishwasher detergent but was never happy with the result.  I realised I could not continue using them and still say I cared for the environment.  And please, I am not accusing anyone of anything here, I'm just relaying my feelings.  The last day I used those chemicals in my home was a happy one. When we sold our machine, we gave the lady all our dishwasher detergent too. I was really glad to see it go.

Another cost that's often overlooked in the hand versus machine washing debate is the cost of the machine's manufacture, freight from the place of manufacture to where you buy it, and then to home.  Add to that the waste they become when they break down or wear out. All these costs have to be weighed up and considered.  If you have a large family, work outside the home and have little home time, you'll probably decide you're willing to pay the various costs.  If, like me, you're in a small family with occasional large family groups, you might think the cost is too high and hand wash.  Either way though, it's a private decision for all of us.  As always I don't expect you to follow what we do here; I expect you to do what suits you and the way you work and be proud of that.

For me, there is nothing like hand washing dishes.  It is a homemaker's task that hasn't changed in many a long year.  What I do is what my grandma did, and her grandma before her.  It's so simple and gentle on the dishes, it's relaxing, quiet and satisfying.  Just me and a sink of hot water with either liquid soap or dish detergent, a dishcloth, dish mop, stainless steel scourer and brushes, and a sink of warm water for rinsing.  I don't dry, I set the plates and cups on the drainer and let them air dry.  Hanno wanders along later and puts everything neatly back in its place.  

There is a line of thought that says the dishwasher washes cleaner, and I believe that is true.  Dishwasher water is so hot and the detergent so corrosive, you'd not be able to put your hands into it.  I have found that hot water you can put your hands into, cleans effectively, and easily, and we've never had an instance of food poisoning in our home.  I've written about over-cleaning before.  Cutlery and crockery you use every day needs to be clean,  it doesn't need to be sterile.  

This is how I wash up.  After breakfast the plates are scraped, but not rinsed, unless we've had eggs.  Eggs stick and will need scrubbing later if you don't pre-rinse it.  The plates and cups are stacked in the sink.  The morning tea cups and a plate are added and I wash up after we've had lunch - usually another couple of plates and glasses or cups.  If I do any cooking or preserving/canning, this is an extra and will be washed up as soon as I'm finished.  As I prepare dinner, I wash up as I go, so I add hot water to the sink, wash graters, paring knives, measuring jugs, strainers etc as I use them and leave the water in the sink ready for the dinner plates.  After dinner, all I have to do is finish off our two plates, cutlery, water jug and glasses and I'm finished.  Everything sits in the drainer to dry.  I fill my sink with about seven litres/quarts of hot water, and in a second smaller sink, about two litres to rinse, twice a day.  The soap, brushes, scourers, dishcloths, are mostly handmade and used repeatedly, with time out for cleaning or soaking in oxybleach or peroxide.

There is one small part of the dishwasher that I do miss - the ability to stack the dishes out of sight until they're washed.  But it's not enough of a reason for me to put up with the downsides. In the space the dishwasher once stood, I now have extra storage for recycled jars and bottles and my spare dish drainers.  I don't have a door there, it's a red and white check curtain.  I'm very happy with this arrangement, it suits my kitchen and the way I work and I'm pleased the dishwasher has gone.  It's nothing fancy, but neither am I.  All I need is an effective method that suits the way I work, and after shuffling around I finally have it.


  1. I noticed in your picture that you wash right to left. I've always washed left to right - I guess I've just never noticed before. Funny!

    We've just moved into a "new to us" home and are finishing the remodeling of our kitchen. It's a very small kitchen but we're redesigned it a little and it works well for us. I thought long and hard about a dishwasher and in the end decided what to put one in. For most of the time, it's just the two of us.

    The only thing I miss about a dishwasher is that I would use it to sterilize canning jars before a canning session.

    Charlene in Kentucky

  2. I learned a trick to keep dishes for hand washing out of sight, though it may not work with your setup, of course! After scraping or whatever is needed, I just put the dirty dishes in a dishpan. A dishpan is the bin, usually plastic, that fits down in a standard sink.
    It keeps everything contained and out of the sink, and you can keep the dishpan under the counter out of sight, if you want. I hate dirty dishes in the sink! I feel like I have to clean up twice to actually do the dishes. Having it out of sight is nice too, and it frees up precious counter space.

  3. For me the key to happy hand washing is a kitchen window. That's all I need for it to be meditative.

    For those who use dishwashers: instead of any dishwasher deterg, try placing a small, open bowl of vinegar on the top rack and use the lowest water cycle (if you have it). This gave me the cleanest dishes with my former dishwasher.

  4. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    Mark me down as one who also prefers handwashing dishes. I have a dishwasher, but haven't used it in over a year except to store large dishes/pans that I don't use very often. It's handy for that. I don't have a two sided sink - mine is a big, deep soapstone one. So I use a dishpan for washing like my grandmother did and then rinse them all after washing. There's enough room in my big sink to do that. In that way, if I have only a few dishes, I don't have to fill up the sink. I do differ from you in that I like to dry mine and put them away as soon as they are washed. It makes me feel better to have a completely clear countertop. I was a hard convert to handmade dishclothes though. I thought they were too thick and mostly I used a worn out washcloth. I received a couple of hand knitted dishclothes for Christmas a year ago and now that I've used them for a while, I think they are about the same (to me) as a worn out washcloth. It did take a while of using them to get the thickness out of them.

    My grandmother used a metal spring loaded contraption into which she placed pieces of soap that were too small to use for bathing. As a child I loved to swish the soap around and I guess that's where I learned to enjoy washing dishes. Some other advantages are that my hands get extra clean and if it's cold weather, the water warms them. My husband calls me a "throwback" and I take it as a compliment when he tells our friends that I wash dishes by hand, hang out clothes and darn socks. I've even picked up the same habit as my grandmother in that as soon as I finish the dishes, I usually sigh and say "Well, now that's done for now." The old ways are still the best for me.

    By the way in several weeks, you and I will be having a birthday on the same day. My birthday is also April 15th, but I'm exactly a year older than you. Happy early birthday! Just think, by then there's going to be a little fellow to help you celebrate.

    Have a great day, Rhonda.

  5. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    Oops, I forgot to leave my name just now. It's Diane in North Carolina and I'm the one who has the same birthday as you.

  6. I get angry that we CANNOT reduce our water bill--our water company has a "minimum" of a whopping $60 a month whether you use ANY water or not.

    I will say this about when I did not have a dishwasher--the dishes got done! When I buy a house again [we're renting for a while] I won't really care if we have one again or not!

  7. I am so happy that someone else does not have a dishwasher these days..the strange thing in our family is my daughter works full time,has 3 children husband and MIL that is terminally ill living ith them and they wash up by hand,my DIL is a stay at home Mum with 3 children and hubby and she has a dishwasher! there are times when i think my daughter could use one but she says thats Steves and Alex's job and she is right so well done Rhonda hands in warm water and washing dishes is a great stress reliever and just as ironing is a good thinking time.

  8. I've always wanted a dishwasher. My mom never had one when I was growing up and until the past couple of years I've loathed washing up by hand. But now that I'm a wife and mom, I actually look forward to getting my hands in the hot soapy water. If the 15 year old me could see the 27 year old me right now...
    Have a wonderful day Rhonda!

  9. I have a dishwasher because it was already installed in the condo I bought three years ago. I'd rather have the cabinet space than the dishwasher, so as soon as it breaks down out it goes. I'll put up a pretty little curtain like you have and enjoy more storage space. It is nice for when I have company, but since I'm alone most of the time it's easier to just wash the dishes by hand. Otherwise it takes me three days to have enough dishes to run the dishwasher.

    BTW, for those with no dishwasher, when someone asks you, "Do you have a dishwasher?" you can hold out your hands and say, "Yes, I have two of them!"


  10. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I actually love your reflections on this topic as our dish washer has broken down for the second time in a year and we are "taking a break" while we decide whether to fix or replace it.
    I love my dishwasher - for all the reasons that others have identified and because I am happy stack 'em all in there, press a button and do something else.
    The strangest thing has happened though.To practice different stitches in crochet I made some dish cloths. Who would have thought that that makes all the difference? I don't think I ever relish washing dishes, but can quietly say that using my own handy work improves the experience. Two years ago I would have thought it way too hippie to make your own dish cloths - now I am a convert!

  11. We had a dishwasher in 2 rented flats - the first for about 5 months, the second for almost 3 years. The dishwasher was broken for most of the 3 years though, so it just sat taking up space. I only *really* missed it a couple of times - when we had dinner parties, or got really behind on the washing up. I found though that doing it in batches when I had the energy worked better than trying it all at once.

    We're currently doing up our new house, including putting in a kitchen (not 'remodelling' - there is currently pretty much not a kitchen). I still haven't decided about the dishwasher, but this helping me lean towards "no". Thanks for that! :)

  12. I only have myself to wash up after, but I usually never go over 2 days of not washing up. When I do, it's by hand. The last time I had a dishwasher, besides myself, was over 40 years ago and I really don't miss having one. If I entertain at the holidays, usually someone else washes up - nice! There will just be a few things left for me, so not a problem.
    Great post.

  13. Hi Rhonda,

    We have had a dishwasher for the past 3 years, but before that we didn't. We are going to be moving at the beginning of May to a different rental, which will more than likely not have a dishwasher. I am not overly concerned, as I don't mind doing the dishes by hand. It will force me to slow down a bit more, I think, and I will eventually see it as a blessing. I am sure that it will be a hard transition at first, but we will get used to it! I currently use a dishwasher detergent made by Seventh Generation, and I don't think it contains anything toxic, but there isn't an actual ingredient list. Hmm... I will have to look into that, as we only use natural products in our home. We make our own laundry detergent, and do not use dryer sheets. I love your blog here, and am always so happy to read a new post!



  14. I am with you girl, I had one too, it lasted exactly long enough for the warranty to run out. I have never gotten it fixed and not wanting one anyway. I agree about the toxins in them, thanks have a great day, Barbara

  15. We don't own a dishwasher either. I always thought it was the other way round - dishes got cleaner by hand. Whenever I've seen dishes come out of the dishwasher they've always had bits of food and gunk clinging to them, but maybe dishwashers have improved since then.
    I wash up in piping hot water and wear gloves (a must for my eczema). We use a 'natural' dishwash from the healthfood store - it's expensive! Looking for alternatives.

  16. Our kitchen is tiny with next to none counter space but we make it work. We do a very quick rinse of the breakfast dishes..or place them on one side of the sink and when the water runs for other things it does it for us. Then stack them to wash. I actually put the water in a dishpan for washing and stack all in it till after lunch. The rinse water is filled in the other side in another pan but put on the right side of the counter top. The sink drainer fits into the other side of the sink and sit off the bottom. Since it is there I can really stack! And if there is extra dishes if I have done canning or baking I may dry a few if they do not fit. The only thing I miss about a dishwasher is that it bleaches out the plastic ice tea pitcher and tea spoons get tea stained on the back. I add a few drops of water and the dish water from the washing and let it sit for a while in the tea pithier along with the spoons in it and that does the beaching instead. I only do this once in a while. When it is done cleaning,I take that water and stop up the drain on each side of my sink and let some of that water sit in the sink to clean it. My sinks are 30+years old and white and stains easily. If you actually watched it takes only a few minutes to do dishes start to finish. Even when you throw in cleaning off the stove and counter etc you only spend a few minutes. No waiting for the dishwasher to finish etc!! :) I put the sink pans under the sink and yes do sometimes put some of the dishes in them if only a few till time to wash. But watch..it can attract ants! :) I love your home making posts! Feels like we are talking over the fence as we hang our clothes on our lines! Sarah

  17. I had just finished washing up the breakfast dishes, by hand, when I checked your blog. What brilliant timing!! I have a dishwasher and do use it - but find it so much more satisfying to wash by hand - and to think I hated it as a child. When the dishwasher breaks down it won't be replaced. I use the soap I made from your recipe - cut it into small cubes to fit into a tea ball (the kind you put your tea leaves in to put in the pot or cup) and swish it in the water. It works brilliantly. The kids are still amazed that you don't need bubbles to get things clean - they'll come around. I can find any of those old metal soap holders that people used to use. Does anyone have any idea if they are still being made? I'd love to find one.

  18. Thank you!!
    I was attacked by an environmentalist who told me that using a dishwasher was better for the environment and I was at a loss as to what to say to her, but felt that my dish washing can't be doing that much harm. I have a rectangular bucket that I put in our sink so that we use less water. I use 'friendly' detergent and we put the water on the garden after it has cooled. I was twice a day, and we are a five person (soon to be six person) family. I agree with you about the chemicals - I like to control what I use - which I can :) but...I hadn't thought about the manufacture, the landfill etc.. and it's nice to realise that I'm not being naughty by hand washing. Not that I care what other's do, I just don't like being attacked for my choices.

  19. Our dishwasher is about 8 years old, and I'm thinking that when it eventually breaks down, I might rather have that extra space (with the cute curtain, of course)! The biggest drawback to having a dishwasher for me is that we occasionally run out of dishes - they're all sitting in the dishwasher, waiting for it to fill up so a load can get run.

  20. I have 3 kids, so I feel like I've gone against the grain in society by not having a dishwasher installed in my kitchen. It makes me feel better to see like minded ones here!
    We are bombarded with these ads by the dishwashing companies saying how much water you can save, I never could quite believe them. And we only rely on tank water.
    I had one about 5 years ago, but found the harsh washers ruined some plates and many of my glasses.

  21. Oh how I wish I could enjoy doing the dishes. I simply hate it, therefore it sits there until there is suddenly no spoons left to make a cup of tea. Oh Dear. My hubby does it mostly so I am lucky there. Maybe if I stopped telling myself and everyone who will listen that I hate washing up...mmmm there's a thought...lol
    Have a great day Rhonda!

  22. We decided not to buy a new dishwasher when ours broke down. Into the extra space we built a 3-drawers-unit which we've had "left-over" for several years. The lowest drawer contains a bin where we put the used dishes (out of sight!) until we actually wash up. We had to handwash our silverware, tupperware and pots anyway, so there wasn't a lot more work adding four plates and glasses. Plus I like to use my knitted and crocheted cloths.
    People usually feel really sorry for us and cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would CHOOSE to wash up by hand!
    Greetings from Germany, Bettina

  23. We bought a secondhand dishwasher 2 years ago, 6 months down the track it broke. Though it is still sitting in our kitchen we haven't bothered to get it repaired, handwashing has just become second nature.

    In response to your readers comments about sterilising bottles for canning - we just use a baby bottle steriliser.

  24. At the moment the dishwasher is the bane of my life. I detest the thing but some of the household would revolt if I tried to get rid of it.

  25. I have always washed my dishes by hand and have never owned a dishwasher! My D.H also helps with the dishes and I find it is quicker!

  26. We have a dishwasher but I haven't used it in months. Our water is so hard that I usually would have to wash some of the dishes by hand after running them through the dishwasher. So we will be remodeling the kitchen soon, without a dishwasher.

  27. Hi Rhonda Jean :)
    Ya know, in all my 36 years on this earth I have NEVER lived in a house with a dishwasher (not one that worked, anyway.) I've always been a hand washer and do it exactly the same way you described (i.e. usually after lunch, and then I wash as I'm preparing dinner so I don't have much to do afterward.) Here it is just my hubby, our son, and myself so it's not too bad, although I do love to do alot of cooking and baking from scratch so there are days when I do quite a bit of washing. Still, I find it a very meditative and pleasant task...one of the few household chores that actually allows me to stand still while performing it. I do get a bit hot doing it in the summertime, so I placed a fan near my sink and now I can just stand there and let it cool me off while I'm washing on the particularly warm nights. I also enjoy looking out the window while washing and sometimes get lost in thoughts that I don't have time to consider other times of the day.
    This was really a wonderful post for me to read. It's made me realize how much I actually enjoy this daily task and that I'm not really missing out on anything by never having had a dishwasher.
    Blessings to you :)

  28. Timely post - our dishwasher has stopped working after 3 years. As we are a big family I am finding it does take quite an investment of time to get through all the dishes and that is even with the children helping out. I do want to calculate how much water we are using now - I suspect the dishwasher used more. It was meant to be a water efficient appliance - only one problem, it didn't get the dishes clean and most plates had to be rinsed well before loading. Pots and pans it was hopeless at cleaning.
    I know you did a post about brushes recently I should go and check it out. I see you have an eco-friendly dish washing brush. My chief bottle washers i.e the older teens are always complaining about the wooden brushes I buy. They say they wear out quicker and are 'useless scrubbers' - to use my son's description! I am finding they need replacing more often (even when you are just replacing the head) than the plastic ones and after a while look very unsightly with their splayed bristles and water stained handles.
    I've tried a few different brands but yet to find a wooden brush that goes the distance. I have the same issue with bamboo toothbrushes!

  29. What a timely post, I was just getting ready to ask for others' opinions on the forums. I find that I keep up with the dishes better if I'm doing them by hand, and there's absolutely NO way that I am using more energy than the dishwasher. Even though we're not an especially small family (we've 4 children)handwashing seems to be more effective for us- I hate waiting for the dishwasher to finish it's cycle, and then we need to wait till the dishes cool down before handling them to put them away. My favorite use of the dishwasher is using it for a drying rack.

  30. Once our dish washer went out we never replace it.
    If our sons was living at home I would of replace it.

    Coffee is on.

  31. Thank you for this post. I truly enjoyed reading it and getting a glimpse into your life. I wash up by hand, too. I raised 6 dishwashers and they all abandoned me! I did have an automatic dishwasher at one time when our last baby was born, and that was rather nice, but I find that my kitchen stays more clean if I wash up by hand. My mother once told me, "I've never had an automatic dishwasher, but I've had TWO STAINLESS STEEL SINKS!!!" See, she grew up when the sinks were all the white porcelain and difficult to keep clean. I love your idea of swishing the soap around in the water. I've been putting bits of soap into a plastic jar of water and pouring some of that in, but your idea would be more convenient, certainly. I sometimes make a game of washing the dishes, just to see how fast I can get it done! And I've learned that I shouldn't say to myself, well, I have to leave in x number of minutes... there's no time to do the dishes. Usually, there is just enough time. :)

  32. We have 5 people living at home and I have never owned a dishwasher. My 15yo and I take it in turns to wash the dishes and clean up. I always put them away, got tired of messy cupboards.
    Flylady had a suggestion for those that like to have their dishes out of the way and don't have a dishwasher.
    She suggested to clear out a space under you sink where you can keep a wash basin that you can place your dirty dishes in until it's time to wash.
    Personally with two littlies at home I am constantly int he kitchen getting snacks and meals that there is almost always a sink full of hot soapy water

  33. hmmnn, I've probably spent as many homemaking years without a dishwasher as with, and I'll take the dishwasher! ;)

  34. I do dishes by hand too. I feel like maybe a dishwasher uses less water if it's a newer model, mine is not. It MAY get the dishes cleaner than washing by hand if it's a newer model... mine is not. I stopped using our dish washer ages ago because it didn't get the dishes clean at all, even if I rinsed them first. It's pretty much a waste of valuable kitchen space! I DO use Dawn dish soap though.

  35. 9I love the way anything you write has this way of sounding smooth and pleasent and calming... but truth be told, we got our first dishwasher ever a few months ago, and I don't know if it's just my rose-coloured glasses or what, but I can't see us going back to hand-washing for a longggg time. It was fine when it was just my fiance and myself, but now with a toddler, and more kids planned I'm gonna lap up this dishwasher thing while I can!! I agree though, the chemicals must be so corrosive - we've had many patterned glasses fade already!

  36. I always say I hate washing up the most of any household chore but really it gives me such a great sense of satisfaction once done that I probably shouldn't say that anymore!

    When I have all of my family over for a meal they usually complain that I don't have a dishwasher for the vast quantity of dirty dishes at the end but no one complains once a tea-towel is picked up and laughter and mucking around commence during the task! We grown adults become kids again with mum telling us to settle down and behave and we kids keeping score on whose turn it is to wipe this dish and who is doing more work than the other - fun times still!

  37. I am the dish washer, always have been. I call it "Me time" because all my kids seem to find something better to do when i begin to run the water! Okay maybe it is the music I put on while washing the dishes, but I love this time. Warm water, wonderful music. I do the dishes twice throughout the day, with seven people it is a must. The first time is while I am making the main meal. I wash as I go, so I'm not spying dishes while we eat and the second time is after supper meal. I use two sicks full of water. A good trink I have learned over time is to hide dirty dishes in the oven. The tea towel on the door covers the mess, until you can wash them.


  38. I used to love washing up when I visited my Gran! I used to dry and put away, but mainly daydreamed as she told me stories about growing up and the pony all of her brothers and sisters used to ride to school. I'll always treasure that time with her. Thankyou for reminding me :)

  39. i never had a dishwasher until having children and now it's something i can't see me wanting to give up until the children are out of the house... there is SO much more washing up to do with little ones on top of all the other care they need... i spent the first year with my first child without a dishwasher and between washing up and washing his clothes- not to mention breastfeeding, nappy changing, sewing his clothes etc etc (and he was a colicky/spewy baby, and i did cloth nappies as well so was washing everyday) i had very little time for anything else... it's definitely one of those conveniences i am willing to pay for as the time savings are worth it to me! :) we had no dishwasher again last year and i was amazed at how much time i spent washing up... (as a SAHM i have so little time for myself anyway, as my husband works long hours so all those duties fall to me)
    as long as my washer is energy and water efficient i don't feel too guilty...

  40. I have a dishwasher but it takes us 2 or 3 days to fill it up. I only use a teaspoon of detergent and it works just fine. I use a lot of older crockery and cookware that needs to be hand washed, so that's when I pop on my headphones and listen to a book on tape that I've borrowed from the library. It's great! I get to "read" a book while I'm doing the dishes!

  41. I am another one that prefers to wash by hand. We have a dishwasher (we rent and it is part of the kitchen) but in 18 months have never used it. Even with my 3 week old baby I am finding I have no need for it. By the time you load and unload it you have taken as much time as to just wash the dishes by hand anyway, I think! But then apparently I am a bit strange as I also am choosing to use cloth nappies for my little girl, and dont use a dryer :)

  42. Hi Rhonda Jean, I am a longtime lurker and only very very infrequent commenter on your blog - but how I love it!

    I remember reading a Dr Karl article a year or so ago that debunked the myth about hot water being a necessary part of washing either your hands or the dishes. The basic premise was that it's the job of the soap or detergent, and vigorous washing/scrubbing, to dissolve the grease and wash the germs away. The water would have to be genuinely boiling to kill the germs. I thought it was very interesting... but have to admit I still use my dishwasher a lot!

    Thanks so much for your lovely lovely blog. It is a moment of calm for me every time I check in.

    Ally in Sydney

  43. As Sarah above has said. I keep my dirty dishes after scraping in a dish-pan that is kept under the sink. I follow Flylady's methods of cleaning and try to keep the sink shiny and clear. Rhonda I LOVE the tips on washing "as you go" when making dinner. I think I will be trying your way from now on. Never again will I spend my precious relaxation time, after dinner washing up!

  44. We do both: dishwasher and hand-wash. Both have their plusses and minuses. With our hot summers in Cape Town, can't leave dirty dishes, pots & pans etc around for too long or the insects find them (no screens on windows and no air con). So, either it's in the dishwasher once every 2 days and a push of the button. Or into the double sinks twice/day and air dry on dishrack. Husband can do either, but teenage kids seem 'allergic' to both! They love to cook, but hate to clean-up!

  45. I have never had a dish-washer or any desire to have one. I do the morning/lunchtime washing up and my husband has always washed up after the evening meal for me. I agree with you that the figure of 63 litres of water seems extravagant - we use nothing like that! When baking of course, the trick is to wash up as you go along so you aren't faced with a daunting heap at the end : )

  46. I never had a dishwasher since I moved out from home and it is working for me, sometimes more sometimes less. I hate to have the dishes waiting in the sink and my boyfriend hates to have them on the counter, so maybe we should try Sarah's suggestion. I would not want to keep washing up by hand once we have a family though.


  47. Hi Rhonda! We have one but always forget to use it. Always seems easier just to wash by hand!

  48. When our dishwasher broke over a year ago, I too just started handwashing the dishes. I need to have the hubby remove the old dishwasher though and make me some shelves like I see in your picture. Clever!! Our kitchen is not large and extra tuck-more-stuff-outta-sight space would be wonderful. Thanks for the post...

  49. I've been exclusively washing dishes by hand the past six months and enjoy having all the needed utensils clean when needed .. instead of having to pick them clean or dirty from the dishwasher. Our d/w is broken and it's a hot topic of discussion in our home about whether or not to replace it.

  50. I have always been a handwasher and very much enjoy it. Plus it gives me time to look out the window!

  51. Hi Rhonda,
    I gave up using my dishwasher about a year ago when I started reading your blog. I crocheted some dish cloths and went to it! I saved $40.00 in gas and electricity the first month! Two months ago my husband removed our dishwasher and put shelves int the space and I made a cute curtain to cover it. I've refined my process and I only wash up once a day now, unless I bake, cook or can in the middle of the day. I start washing before dinner, then as I'm cooking/preparing, then finish off with the dinner dishes. After a couple of hours of air drying, I put everything away and have a clean counter and empty sink to greet me in the morning!
    The only thing I miss my dishwaher for is sterilizing canning jars. As we kept our dishwasher, I may hook it up in one our outbuildings that I plan to use as a summer kitchen for canning, dehydrating, etc.
    Debbie in Washington State

  52. When she was still living with us, our youngest daughter liked to cook and to bake. Sometimes, she'd say, "Mom, will you clean up as I go?" :) And I always would.

  53. Hi ..never had a dishwasher at all..i love washing by hand..i gaze out the kitchen window as i'm doing it..i find it relaxing..my son puts them away when they are dry..i have some very delicate china and wouldn't trust a DW not to ruin the pattern on it...

  54. I'm a hand washer too! :) I solved my 'dirty dishes in the sink' problem by mounting a pull out drawer on the shelf to the bottom left of my sink. Now we can put the dirty dishes in a tub on that slider until it's washing time.

  55. I use my dishwasher for the time being, with 5 children at home and all three meals cooked and eaten here. The pots and pans and various items are handwashed, of course. We may do things differently once there are only the two of us home again.

    For any fellow US readers, the Ecover dishwasher detergent is an eco-friendly brand that does actually do a good job on dishes.

  56. The one thing I really find a dishwasher handy for is steralizing by canning jars and keeping them hot during the canning prep.

  57. I hand wash too, and I'm with Jenn...I use my dishwasher (came with the house) as a dish drainer, putting all the clean dishes in it to air dry.

  58. Hi,I grew up in a house with a dishwasher but my sister and I always hand washed the pots and pans.
    When I had a home of my own we have never had a dishwasher.I sometimes thought "I f only I had a dishwasher"
    The last few years Ive come to enjoy washing up I wash as soon as dishes are there I find it very theraputic.

  59. I HATE washing the dishes!
    My dishwasher is my most favourite kitchen appliance.
    I'd even put it ahead of the fridge!
    I'd even be happy to cook on a ring attached to a gas bottle rather than let go of my dishwasher!
    My husband is captain of the dishwasher, he re-organizes what I have loaded every night.

    Although... I do have many fond memories of washing dishes with my husband's Italian aunties and cousins after get-togethers. 10 people gathered around the kitchen sink, piles and piles of pots and pans and plates, rinsing and bumping into one another and chatting and laughing.

  60. I have a dishwasher but I do a lot of hand washing as well. One of the reasons I love using my grandmother's china is that it has to be hand washed and I use that time to think about the meal and the people I love who were there and dream away with my hands immersed in warm water. Also, when my boys are with their dad and I'm the only one here to make dirty dishes, I usually wash up by hand.

  61. I've never had a dishwasher and I've never wanted one. Apart from my environmental objections, if I had one I would have one less cupboard in my modest sized kitchen. I wash up by hand twice a day, using Ecover liquid which I find very good. I enjoy standing at my sink looking out at the garden and the bird table.
    We have a dishwasher at work and the cost of the detergent for that is horrendous. I've yet to convince my workmates to do without it. Thay all have dishwashers at home and think I'm completely eccentric! Can you believe that one morning I emptied the dishwasher to find that the contents amounted to 3 mugs! Someone had put it on for that. As you can imagine, I'm a bit of a lone voice crying in the widerness.

  62. I too wash dishes by hand and don't even own a dishwasher. Even after a great big feast with lots of people, it takes less time than using a dishwasher. Once I'm done w/the dishes - I'm DONE! There is no waiting around for a dry cycle, etc. My dishes are put away while others still need to unload the dishwasher. No thanks!

    Besides that - some of my favorite memories are of my mom and me cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes . ..singing and dancing to Patsy Cline!

  63. We moved from a house to a 30' Travel Trailer and hand washing is my only choice.
    We plan on buying a mini-farm when we retire in a couple years and I DO NOT want a dishwasher or microwave. BACK TO BASICS is our theme.

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  65. Here I am again with another comment, years after the original post - wondering if anybody will ever read it?
    I've never had a dishwasher and never wanted one, but given there is only two of us, I don't think it is necessary in our household. On occasions when we have guests, my girlfriends love congregating in the kitchen fighting over who is going to wash or dry ;-)
    My husband gave me a choice years ago for a birthday gift - microwave or dish washer? We could only afford one. I took the microwave without thinking twice. I probably don't use it every day, but it is very handy for certain tasks - not just thawing out frozen food!

  66. You brought up some interesting thoughts here, and the comments are interesting too. I have a dishwasher and I'm glad of it! I've read that it takes more water to hand wash, although I don't really see how they've figured that one out... at any rate, after I've stood for over an hour cooking and then cleaning up the kitchen, I'm thankful to have a machine to put my dishes in and do them for me. As the dishwasher runs, I do other tasks or I sit and visit with my husband. As there is just my husband and I here, I run the dishwasher perhaps once every day and a half. My Aunt never used her dishwasher for dishes, she stored snacks in there instead. Thankfully, the Kitchen Police do not yet exist, so we are free to use or not use a dishwasher. ;) Joy from the U.S.

  67. Can anyone give me a simple natural recipe for a dishwasher to clean the dishes?
    thanks , Maree.



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