Ending the tyranny of the dishwasher

I've always had a love hate relationship with my dishwasher. I had to be persuaded to get one, and I sometimes wonder if men like them more than women. Loading and emptying them seems to be one of those jobs that men volunteer for, and believe should be given priority over all else. At least in my experience.

To me the dishwasher always seemed like an insatiable monster that had to be forever fed with dirty dishes. And yes this family were great at satisfying its needs with up to three loads a day during the holidays.

Until it went wrong.

It all began with a funny smell (as these things often do). I sniffed around the sink, nope, checked the bins, okay, and finally I opened the door of the dishwasher. Ugh. But I couldn't see anything. So I cleaned the inside and the filter and ran it again. Something still wasn't right. So I consulted the internet. And discovered there were layers of dishwasher that could be removed. Which I did, and discovered a small pool of stinky water at the very lowest point. Everything was washed and dried, large amounts of baking soda and vinegar were poured in, pipes checked for kinks, and everything smelt good again. Two days ago I was convinced that I'd fixed it. Until a few loads later, when I noticed that the level of water in the bottom was increasing again. More desperate googling, I realised that there could be a blockage in the pipe.

I could probably fix it with a morning under the sink with the iPad and a screwdriver. Or those nice people at Siemens could send someone out to clean out the pipes for a €100 or so. Some time next week.

But maybe I don't want to get it fixed?

Life with an "out of order" dishwasher has been pretty sweet so far.

While idly washing up the old fashioned way I began to think about my relationship with dishwashers, and realised that I don't like them very much at all...

Things I hate about dishwashers

  • Cleaning them.
  • Loading them.
  • Unloading them.
  • All that bending.
  • Rewashing the stuff the dishwasher can't manage.
  • Pre-soaking pans and dishes in the hope that the dishwasher will manage to clean them.
  • All that planning - making sure it doesn't need to run when you're going out or going to bed.
  • Making sure that everything you need for the next meal is clean.
  • Discovering you've running out of dishwasher tablets just when you filled it. That never seems to happen with washing up liquid.
  • People loading it ALL WRONG.
  • Mugs and glasses getting broken and chipped.
  • Being asked several times a day if the stuff in the dishwasher is clean. Eyes, guys.
  • Eating breakfast and discovering later (once fully caffeinated) that everything you'd used was unwashed.

Things I love about dishwashers

  • They are somewhere to hide the dirty dishes.
  • They wash, dry and heat everything. In theory. And with varying degrees of success.

So you know I'm thinking about not fixing the damn thing at all. I might even banish it to the shed. Except I'll then have a big ugly space in my kitchen. I wonder what I could put in it? Hmmm.

But I'll be free. FREE of the tyranny of the dishwasher.

And I'll let you into a little secret. I'm starting to think that washing up by hand is actually quicker...


  1. My boarding school had a dishwasher (a big industrial one, back in the 80s and 90s) and when it was my turn to set the tables (it was done on a rota), I often noticed that some knives and forks had bits of food stuck to them that the dishwasher hadn't managed to shift. One time I gave one of them to the school cook and he said "it's always bloody well him, isn't it?". I like the convenience of them as well, but you end up with fewer nasty chemicals on the dishes if you just wash them up (I mean, do you really need a "rinse agent" that makes the water come off in sheets rather than, shock horror, leave a few spots?).

    1. True, I'd never thought of the rinse agent that way before.

  2. I've resisted one for years - hosting the family Kris Kindle this year broke me - I normally don't mind doing them and will turn down offers as I Have my way (the right way) of doing them - this year I turned around and it was me and my 5 year old grandson left - three and a half hours it took me - I'm feverishly measuring and plotting to see if I can fit one into the kitchen now

    1. No that load of dishes would break me too :(

  3. I don't like washing up, mind you I don't like anything housework related! Xxx

  4. I got rid of our dishwasher eventhough it wasn't broken, about 2 years ago, and I have never looked back. (We discovered on removing it -it was built in- that its plug was melting onto the socket, something we might never have known about until it was too late!) It IS way faster to wash in the sink and as long as you have the water nice and hot they dry just as fast in the drainer. I think it's good 'thinking' time too!

    1. Apart from the fact that I don't much like thinking time, this is perfect! So glad you caught the plug problem too, I always hate not having access to appliance plugs to switch them off x

  5. This is such a strange but oh so true post! As you said I like that it can hide dirty dishes, but it is so much quicker to wash dishes than load, wait for it to be full, then wait for it to wash and dry and unload it all. It wrecks my head when it still spits out dishes to be washed by hand and we never seem to have enough clean teaspoons! There are only 3 of us in our house so the dishwasher goes on every two days - that means a lot of waiting around for dishes!

    1. You're so right about the teaspoons - I remember buying a second set and STILL running out all the time. Half of our mugs are no longer being used either - I may be able to declutter the ones I don't like :)

  6. I will never, EVER give up my dishwasher and will insist on it being replaced if it ever breaks down! I only do one load a day so I get to save, and yes store, all the dirty dishes in there until it's ready to go. See, at the moment I get to do everything to do with this dishwasher.... loading AND emptying. I just know who'll be doing them by hand if it breaks down and I am NOT having that!! xx

    1. I'm very glad it's working out so well for you! xx