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Job Certification for Kids: Dish-washing

Updated on March 1, 2019
Standard House Rule.
Standard House Rule. | Source

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step One

Go around the house and gather up all the dishes. Bring them to the kitchen.

Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Making it fun. Focus. Go into "Seeker Mode"

“Boring” and “tedious” thoughts and feelings can make any chore seem very

      l   o   n   g     and     b   o   r  i   n   g . . .

...while enthusiastic thoughts can make them fun and fast.

These thoughts and feelings are under your own control if you choose to rein them in. Avoid the pitfalls of tedium by sidestepping the bad thoughts and feelings. You may find yourself thinking, “This is so senseless…” That kind of thinking leads to a long, boring outcome. Instead, jump up onto the balls of your feet and prepare for action. Pep yourself up as you would for a sports event. Take some deep breaths, whoosh them out, and look around expectantly. Focus. Become the hunter.

Your prey: the stray dish.

Finding dishes is boring and tedious if you expect it to be that way. The Dishwasher must become creative and throw away all the inhibitions that stop them from doing their job well. At this point, go into “seeker” mode. Finding dishes can be a challenge; consider it to be beginner training for detective work. When a person is assigned Dishwasher Duty, they can hate it, or they can actually enjoy it. Show some enthusiasm and begin the chore determined to complete it. A person that goes into a chore acting uninterested, bored, and tired will probably end up having to redo the chore again and again. Remember, you have the power to control your bored, disinterested feelings. You can make it fast and fun, or desultory and miserable.

For instance:

Examples of "Prey" for "Seekers"
Examples of "Prey" for "Seekers" | Source

The first example is a dish that has been overlooked because the Dishwasher is not in the proper mindset. In this instance, they are thinking, “I didn’t leave it there!” or “It isn’t mine!”

This is an example of the negative thinking that will stop you from completing any chore properly. Dishwashers are responsible for every dish that is out of place in the house. When in the “seeker” mode, every stray dish is your prey. It doesn’t matter who put it there or why. Collect the dish and move on.

The second example is a dish that has dropped to the floor and rolled under a bed.

These dishes are often missed because dishes aren’t supposed to be lying on the floor. They are supposed to be sitting on tables. (Actually, they are supposed to wind up the kitchen.) The Dishwasher in “seeker” mode isn’t thinking of this. They are on the hunt and will check odd places for any trace of stray prey. Like any good hunter, over time, the seeker will become familiar with the habits of family members and will be able to figure in advance the most common locations for stray objects.

The third example is lying on a bookshelf.

These dishes are missed because for the same reason as in example two; it isn’t supposed to be there.

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Two

Rinse all the dishes in the sink. Use a dishrag or scratchpad to remove any remnants of stuck-on food.

Fig. 1 Dried on foods. ____ Fig. 2 Thick liquids.
Fig. 1 Dried on foods. ____ Fig. 2 Thick liquids. | Source

Figure 1: Dried Food

Rinsing dishes right after use will make the job much easier; every household member is expected to do this when taking their dishes out to the kitchen. In the event this doesn't happen, use a scratch pad to remove the bits of dried on food from the dish.

Figure 2: Thick Liquids

Liquids like milk and gravy will dry out and harden inside the dish if they are not rinsed out right away. Rinsing the dishes ensures they will come clean when they are washed, even if they aren't washed right away.

Questions that (Probably) Will Arise
Questions that (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Examples of Dishwater

The first sink shows soapy water filled with dirty dishes to compare to the soapy water in the second sink, which is filled with rinsed dishes. Both sets of dishes will come out looking “clean”. Which dishes would you prefer to eat from?
The first sink shows soapy water filled with dirty dishes to compare to the soapy water in the second sink, which is filled with rinsed dishes. Both sets of dishes will come out looking “clean”. Which dishes would you prefer to eat from? | Source

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Three

Washing the dishes. This can be accomplished using an automatic dishwashing machine or by hand-washing in the sink. Both methods will be covered here.

If using an automatic dishwasher: Load the dishwasher.

Place the dishes in the dishwasher. The glasses go on the top rack, the rest of the dishes go on the bottom rack. Load the dishes in neat in rows with the openings facing downwards.

Questions that (Probably) Will Arise
Questions that (Probably) Will Arise | Source
The white bar spins and sprays pressurized water upwards.  The water jets inside and around the cups and glasses to clean all surfaces of the dish.
The white bar spins and sprays pressurized water upwards. The water jets inside and around the cups and glasses to clean all surfaces of the dish. | Source

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Above are some examples of improper loading and rinsing.
Above are some examples of improper loading and rinsing. | Source

What are some examples of incorrect loading? What could happen if the issues aren't corrected?

Some possible answers:

  • Dishes may rattle against each other and break.
  • Dishes that aren't placed upside down will be filled with dirty water when the washer is opened.
  • All the surfaces of each dish will not be washed.
  • Note that the glass on the front left wasn't rinsed and has a chocolate ring on the bottom of it.

Like the top rack, the black bar underneath the bottom rack spins and sprays water upwards at the same time. The jetting water shoots into and over the dishes and comes back down to clean them on all sides.

The bottom of the dishwasher includes a heating unit and garbage disposal.
The bottom of the dishwasher includes a heating unit and garbage disposal. | Source

The black wire that surrounds the grey drain (and garbage disposal) is a heater, used to heat the water to higher temperatures, and during the heat drying cycle. Heat is also used if the machine has a special cycle for pots and pans. These cycles can get hot enough to melt plastic dishes.

The jetting water from both of the spinning sprayers wash all the food particles down to the bottom of the machine. The water drains out through the circular grey area, which has openings small enough to prevent larger items, such as a fork, from going down the drain. This prevents the garbage disposal from being damaged when it grinds up the food pieces.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Here are some examples of improper loading of the bottom rack.
Here are some examples of improper loading of the bottom rack. | Source

What are some examples of incorrect loading? What could happen if the issues aren't corrected?

Some possible answers:

  • Dishes may rattle against each other and break.

  • Some dishes cover others so that not all surfaces of each dish will be washed.
  • Glasses should go in the top rack, (but it’s okay to put one or two on the bottom if needed).
  • Wash pots and pot lids separately as the metal can get hot enough to damage other dishes, mainly plastic ones.

Examples of Correct Loading

Notice how the bowls have been loaded into the bottom rack. The water will clean the inside of the bowls because the even distribution and the space left open between each bowl will allow the water to pass freely between them. The top rack has also been loaded evenly with properly rinsed cups and glasses. All open ends are all facing downwards.

Examples of correct loading.
Examples of correct loading. | Source
Extra Credit
Extra Credit | Source

Loading Silverware

The silverware goes in a rack specifically designed for silverware. Place the silverware in the rack so that the handles point down toward the bottom of the rack.

The ends you eat with should be the cleanest.
The ends you eat with should be the cleanest. | Source
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise.
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise. | Source

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Here is an example for improper loading of the silverware rack.
Here is an example for improper loading of the silverware rack. | Source

What are some examples of incorrect loading? What could happen if the issues aren't corrected?

Some possible answers:

  • Most of the silverware has been loaded upside down so if any standing water or food particles stay in the rack, the end you eat with will be sitting in it.
  • One knife hasn’t been properly rinsed.
  • A spoon hasn’t been placed in the rack properly and could fall out of the rack and drop into the bottom of the machine.

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Four

Add Detergent. Once the dishwasher is properly loaded, fill the cups with dish detergent. These cups are often located on the inside of the dishwasher door. The manufacturer has determined the correct amount of detergent you need to use.

Fill both the covered and uncovered cups evenly to the top without overflowing. The amount of detergent required to wash a load of dishes is generally small. Close the cover; make sure the cover clips closed and stays shut.

One example of a detergent cup holder.
One example of a detergent cup holder. | Source
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Five

Turning on the machine.

This part must be determined by you and your family, based on how your household decides to use their dishwashing machine. Most of the time pushing the start button is all that is required.

Dishwashers can have a variety of settings. You can set it for washing pots and pans, to dry the dishes with or without heat, to start at a certain time, or to run with extra rinse cycles. Heat settings will help to “sterilize” the dishes, ensuring that bacteria and viruses on the dishes are killed. Using no heat will use less energy.

Dishwasher control panel - Options
Dishwasher control panel - Options | Source
Dishwasher control panel - Cycles
Dishwasher control panel - Cycles | Source

We have discussed how to wash dishes using a dishwasher. Now we will discuss hand-washing dishes in the sink.

Some households don’t have dish washing machines, but even if they do, some dishes will not fit into the dishwasher and will need to be washed by hand. The following are instructions for hand-washing dishes.

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Hand-Washing Dishes

Repeat Steps One and Two

Step Three: Preparing to Wash the Dishes

Make sure you have the necessary supplies; a dishcloth, scratchpad, and dish soap. Fill the sink with warm soapy water.

Liquid dish soap is concentrated. A small squirt added to the water is enough to wash an entire load of dirty dishes. Read the instructions on the bottle for exact amounts of soap to add to the water.

Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Place the dishes into the warm soapy water and use a dishcloth to scrub all surfaces on the dish. A scratchpad can be used to scrape off the more stubborn food, but this can be avoided by rinsing the dishes in advance. If food will not come off because it has been cooked onto the dish, do the other dishes first and let that one soak longer in the soapy water. Make sure to wash every surface, front and back, and remove any remaining bits of food on the dish. Wash pots and pans last, as they will need to soak longer to loosen any cooked-on food.

This is an example of how not to fill the sink with dishes.  Why are those aluminum drink cans in there?
This is an example of how not to fill the sink with dishes. Why are those aluminum drink cans in there? | Source
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Note: Our grandparents often referred to the friction we use to clean by hand as “elbow grease”. When something wasn’t clean, they would say, “You didn’t use enough elbow grease!” Elbow grease can also be referred to as physical activity, or exercise, which recent studies have found is actually good for you. Exercising while doing something productive serves more purpose than running on a treadmill or going to a gym, both of which cost extra money to do. Cleaning the house is a free work out, and has the perks of making your entire family happier and healthier. Changing your perspective on household chores will make you more willing to participate, and you will also find them much more pleasant to do.

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Hand-Washing Dishes

Step Five: Rinse with Clean Water.

Rinse each dish thoroughly using fresh water. Place the dish in a drying rack. Continue washing the dishes until the drying rack is full.

Huh.  Didn't see that one coming, did you?
Huh. Didn't see that one coming, did you? | Source

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Six

Drying and Putting the Dishes Away.

At this point, dishwashing is complete whether by machine or by hand. This part of the chore will need some hand drying regardless of how the dishes are cleaned. For machine washing, once the cycles are complete, open the door and check the dishes for water. Use a clean, dry dishtowel to remove any excess moisture from the dishes as you put them away.

Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Note: It's not a good idea to store dirty dishes inside the dishwasher for too long; this is also an invitation for mold, mildew, and bacteria to grow inside the machine itself. If you don't have a lot of dishes, it's more cost effective to wash them by hand.

Every household puts their dishes away differently, but it’s common for the glasses, cups and bowls to be stored upside down inside the cabinets to prevent dust and other particles from getting inside the drinking and eating part of the dish. Also, families vary greatly on where they want their dishes kept. Some may hang their pots from the ceiling, while others store theirs in a drawer under the stove. Your family will need discuss the details for this part of the chore.

Questions That (Probably) Will Arise
Questions That (Probably) Will Arise | Source

Responsibilities for Dishwasher Duty: Step Seven

Completion.

When all dishes have been washed and put away, wipe down all the kitchen counters, the stove top, and rinse away any debris that remains in the sink. Make sure that the garbage disposal is empty. Survey your work. Look at what you did. Doesn't it feel good, to know that you did this job to the best of your ability?

Report that the task has been completed. At first, you should report this in person so your work can be checked. Over time, this can be recorded by initialing a chart.

"A Chart? Why do we need to have a chart?"

Charts can be useful. They help remind you of what tasks need to be completed each day. At the end of each day, the tasks on the chart can be tallied to influence the amount of compensation. At the end of a week, that tally can be impressive.

Households may choose to award compensations once a week, every two weeks, or at the end of each month. All household members should agree to these terms and go over them together as a family.

NOTE: Compensation can come in the form of an allowance, or in privileges such as a special outing, or being granted extra computer and video game time.

Certification Test: Dishwashing Duty

view quiz statistics

Congratulations!!

If you scored better than 80% on the test above,

You are now CERTIFIED to perform the duties of Dishwasher on Duty.

Congratulations!

If you complete your duties as written, you will begin to feel a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction in yourself, and you will notice a happier family atmosphere. What can be better than that?

Any additional compensation should just be icing on the cake.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Victoria Ratcliffe

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