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Do the Dishes Yourself & Dump the Dishwasher

Updated on June 17, 2015
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Which is better - the dishwasher or hand washing?

I've read lots of debates and discussions online about this. Most people, it seems, want to justify the dishwasher. Mostly, people hate doing the dishes.

Save power, water and time

I just don't get it. I've read so many arguments in favour of the dishwasher, 'especially' people say 'the new energy efficient models'. I still don't believe it.

Do the dishes yourself in five minutes

As I recall, from the dim and distant days of being a dishwasher owner, piling the pots in there and then emptying the appliance takes at least five minutes or probably much longer. Goodness knows how much electricity and water the machine uses.

Yes mum, I'm writing about doing the washing up

My mum would be amazed. In a way, I'm amazed too because it surprises me that today people don't know how to do the dishes (especially, ahem, the 50+ year old bloke who co-inhabits this space and should do the dishes since I do the cooking).

So for him and those who want to do the dishes the green way, here we go.

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Instructions:

1. I impress upon him that the first essential is a clean sink.

We can't clean anything in a dirty one.

No gribbly bits of onion in the sink drainer, no empty cans (why does he do that?) and no used teabags, just a beautifully clean sink.

I also need, as you can see, a plastic bowl that takes up about half the sink area and an over-sink drainer, plus a drying mat (see below)

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2. This is day's worth of our crockery, cutlery and pans. Cereal bowls, small plates from our lunchtime sandwiches, large dinner plates, three pans used for curry for dinner and a whole bunch of silverware and utensils that now sit inside the pan.

The larger items, plates and so on, are at the bottom of the plastic bowl with smaller items above and drinking glasses right at the top.

If I have a casserole dish or oven pan, they are right at the bottom of the plastic bowl. Note that these items are not left to soak and they have been scraped of any bits of food, just as you would if they were going into the dishwasher.

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3. Making sure that the sink plug is firmly in place, add cold water to the sink to just-below-pan level (about an inch in this case).

Fill the plastic bowl and the pans with warm soapy water. I use the spray attachment to fill them - it makes the bubbles go further.

At this point, I might wander off to open a bottle of wine or check my email, giving the dishes a chance to sit in the warm soapy water for a few minutes.

Notice that the small over-sink drainer has been moved to the adjacent counter top.

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4. Start with the most delicate items - the glasses in this case - and work your way down the bowl.

Mostly, because the items have all been rinsed or scraped before adding to the bowl, they need little scrubbing or cleaning.

All that's needed is a quick wipe and then rinsing in clean cold water.

Small items like the cups and the glasses can be rinsed in the cold water you added to the main part of the sink. With plates, I have to run them under the cold tap.But I'm not wasting water - the sink is firmly plugged.

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5. Now that the glasses, bowls and plates are washed, I grab all the knives, forks and spoons.

Holding them all in one bunch, I swish them about in the warm soapy water for a few seconds.

Then rinse them under the running tap.I don't want to taste dish soap next time I eat.

As I do so, I examine them to ensure that there are no bits of food still sticking to them.

The whole process so far (apart from going to open a bottle of wine and checking email) has taken no more than a couple of minutes.

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6. The silverware then goes into the drainer which is sitting on the drying mat.

I use the drying mat on the top of the ceramic stove - but a counter top would be fine.

Then I deal with the spatula, wooden spoon and all those other bits and pieces.

The garlic press is usually the trickiest.They too go into the drainer.

Once they are dry - always let everything air dry - I only need to take the drainer to the cutlery drawer to put them all away.

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7. Here's an image of my drying mat in action. I prefer to use this and let the stuff air dry for two reasons.

The first is because I am too lazy to dry them by hand. I'd rather open another bottle of wine.

The second is that, no matter how hard you try to keep up with dishtowels, some slob in the household is going to use them to wipe their hands, mop up a spill or otherwise introduce some sort of bacteria.The drying mat is an essential for a small kitchen like mine.

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8. Nearly done. I then use the soapy water to wipe down work surfaces and anything else that might need attention. If I felt like cleaning the oven (which is very rare) I'd use it for that.

My mum (who was a much more skilled housekeeper than me) would use it to wash the kitchen floor. She wouldn't waste a drop. The plastic bowl would then be carried outside to be thrown over the garden to water the plants.

My final thing though it to make sure that I'm back where I started with a lovely clean sink - ready to go into service tomorrow.

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9. Now this is my piece de resistance, the clever-clogs bit.

My plastic bowl is a plastic storage box. The lid, when not in use, lives down the side of my fridge where it's out of sight.

Once I've finished the dishes, I add the lid. That way, any stray wine glasses or coffee cups that find their way to the sink will be hidden from view until the next evening's washing session.



Extra tips

  • We do the dishes once a day. In between, we try to clean as we go.He uses one coffee cup per day and I use one teacup. We don't use new every time we have a drink.The same goes for glasses. His morning glass of orange juice uses the same glass as his evening wine. We rinse them and use the over sink drainer.
  • Everything is rinsed if necessary before going into the plastic bowl. Food scraps are scraped into the garbage.Really grim pans are wiped with any old bits of paper before they go into the sink to remove any excess sauce or oil. I keep used paper bags and so on in a drawer for that purpose. If you scrunch them up, the surface becomes a pan scourer.

There are just two of us - I admit that this method of doing the dishes might not work if we had three young children :)

Above and below you'll find the simple and inexpensive products I use to do the daily dishes. I am convinced - totally- that this is quicker, greener and possibly more hygienic than using a dishwasher.

Why am I writing about doing the dishes?

If you know me,you're probably a little surprised that I am writing about something as boring as doing the dishes, right?

Don't worry, I haven't turned into a domestic goddess.

It was really just an excuse to watch the video below...

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

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    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Country-Sunshine - I agree! Apart from the hot water - I like to keep the electricity bill down :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Hannah Writes - it must be very difficult when you have kids. There are only two of us in our household so it's easy.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @mbgphoto - actually the whole article was just an excuse to post that video :)

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 3 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      LOL love that video...but I'll stick to my dishwasher thank you!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

      I have never owned a dishwasher, and can't imagine why anyone needs one. It is so simple to wash dishes as you go. I hate to see dirty dishes in the sink!

      My sink has two sides, so I fill up one side with warm, soapy water. The other side I use to rinse in hot water. The hotter the rinse water, the quicker the dishes dry in the drainer. I've never heard of rinsing with cold water; perhaps it is just a preference.

    • profile image

      Hannah Writes 3 years ago

      My dishwasher broke a month ago and a new one will be delivered this week. I cannot wait! When you have kids, there is an endless amount of dishes to be done and my hands are getting dry. It is great if you don't mind it, but I do!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      That's a great tip, @LindaSmith1 - thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      That's very interesting Linda,thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Haha - thank you @Adventuretravels - isn't it a terrific video? And in an article about doing the dishes, too. :) There's nothing like adding a little spice to a boring subject!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      Yes ! Yes! Yes! I want that guy to come and do my dishes!! What a laugh Jackie - you sure HubPages won't be scandalized!

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      Brit: LOL! Yep, if you have too many suds, cold water zaps them. Great for trying to get suds out of containers when you are rinsing them out after washing them.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Hi @bravewarrior - no he hasn't read it.That's why I'm still alive :) I use cold water because it seems to remove the bubbles from the detergent. Hot water seems to encourage them. Thanks for the reminder though - I must point it out to himself before he heads for the sink this evening. ('To wash the dishes' he calls it. 'To break something' I call it).

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 3 years ago from USA

      I have a dishwasher but don't use it all of the time. However, I did a little test. I not only pay for electric, but I have to pay a water bill and a sewage bill. I used my dishwasher on a regular basis. There was not any increase in my water, sewage, electric or gas bill since my water is heated by gas.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Jackie, this is too funny! Has your husband read it? I do have one question though: why do you use cold water to rinse? I know it saves on electricity, but doesn't hot water rinse more thoroughly?

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @John Dyhouse: I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for dropping by!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @paperfacets: Thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Faye Rutledge: Thank you - I'm so glad that others still wash by hand.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Rhonda Lytle: Thank you!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Elsie Hagley: That's fantastic!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @esmonaco: Thanks for visiting!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @TerriCarr: You could use it for storage - keep pots and pans in it. Or books. Or anything!

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 3 years ago from UK

      My wife insisted on a dishwasher the last time we re-designed our kitchen. I am dead against them. I will not put dirty dishes and utensils in the washer but always swill any food off them. I do not believe that many utensils with burnt on grease and food will come out of a dishwasher clean. They need scraping first. And then the filters on the machine need cleaning. Of course any food particles trapped by the filters also fllter the clean water used for washing - Ughh!!I can do a proper job by hand in much less time and using far less water and power. And what about those items which are not capable of machine washing. Aluminium, glass, wood, utensils which are glued. You often need to do a hand wash for those few awkward items anyway.Dishwashers are a total waste of space IMHO.

    • NellyWerff profile image

      Nelly van der Werff 3 years ago from The Netherlands

      I also prefer hand washing my dishes and I let them dry in the air as well!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

      There is so many dishes I do both. Someday when we have two in the household the dishwasher will get less use. It does use a lot of water. The hand wash rinse water goes into a square container then outside on plants. I like how you use the square container and I will keep mine in the sink as dirty dish storage and rinse bucket. Good tips.

    • kittyhappykitty profile image

      kittyhappykitty 3 years ago

      Terrific information! I prefer hand washing, too. First, it is faster for me than filling a dishwasher. Second, I am not a fan of the steamy, chemically smell that comes from a dishwasher. Third, I get so frustrated when things don't actually get clean (even in the best of dishwashers). And last, I am not a fan of the extra maintenance when something goes wrong! You have made me happy!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Growing up in a large family I'm used to washing dishes. Having to pay for water we don't waste it and use the rinse water in the yard or for plants. Have to say I miss one when I'm really busy. One thing I do like about hand washing is that I spend a lot of time talking to God and get lots of inspiration.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      I just have to buzz back to say, my pet peeve is going to my son's house and seeing piles of dirty dishes around, and he HAS a dishwasher. When I ask him why so many dirty dishes, he says it's because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes and he hasn't had time to put them away. Ha Ha.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      I've never owned a dishwasher. Grew up washing dishes and still do. If you just go ahead and do them and not let them set around, it's no trouble at all. You can almost wash them in the time it takes to rinse and put them in the dishwasher. And, as you say, it saves a lot on the electricity bill. Great tutorial. :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I've had a few dishwashers. When we moved, I left that out on purpose. I have the space but prefer to use it for storage plus I'm convinced hand washing gets them cleaner. I know it's way faster and quieter too. Love the plastic bin. Great way to not only conceal any strays waiting for a wash but it keeps the sink from getting scratched too. Very cool.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I have never owned a dishwasher. Always washed the dishes by hand for 65 years, always healthy so must have washed them the right way.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      We do have a dishwasher, but we don't use it often, we do use it when we have the kids over for dinner and there are a lot of dishes and glasses. Pots and pans are mostly washed in the sink by hand. Thanks!!!

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      My landlord plans to install a dishwasher in my apartment in the near future. It will be nice for sanitizing things occasionally. But for day to day use, I don't even have enough dishes to get fill it - halfway!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Arachnea: It was mine too but I don't mind it these days :)

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      BION, I use both. I hand wash the dishes then put them in the dishwasher for the hot water sterilization. I've known quite a few families who pass illness around to its members one after another even though they bleach the dishwater. One of them switched to this method of washing by hand (with or without bleach) and then washing in a dishwasher. Great lens. Reminds me of growing up with dishwashing for my chore.

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SteveKaye: Thank you Steve!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Craftypicks: You've bred your own dishwasher, Lori :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Sundaycoffee: I think that training the other people in the house is 90% of the battle :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: I have to admit that necessity is the mother of invention here. My kitchen is too small for a dishwasher :)

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      Great tips.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 3 years ago from Las Vegas

      I literally gag doing dishes by hand. I grew up with a dishwasher and have always had one. I never do the dishes. My Middle girl is the dish washer. She hand washes them and then we sanitize them in the dish washer.

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      Sundaycoffee 3 years ago

      You would be amazed to see the mountain of dirty dishes we find lying around every day in the kitchen, in the living room, in our daughter's room! I'm very happy that she cooks or prepares all kinds of snacks for herself, but I'd be even happier if she'd have the courtesy to clean up afterwards, too.Regardless, washing dishes by hand is still the most economic way, I find.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      It does seem more efficient to wash them by hand. I do some of both. When I'm cooking/baking, it is a treat to just stuff it all in the dishwasher! But I'm doing pots by hand anyway, so why not all? Good topic for a do-it-yourself!

    • BritFlorida profile image
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      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Lady Lorelei: I used to hate it when I was a kid too. And we had the same agreement 'I'll cook and you do the dishes'. Which is all well and good but I kept getting 'clean' plates out of the cupboard and finding dried bits of last night's dinner on them. :( The way I look at it, is that it's a good way to justify the expense of hand lotion :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Washing dishes by hand is my least favorite chore. Before I moved in with my husband I actually made him agree to do the dishes at least 3 days a week or said that I would not move in.( Having a man means more cooking and more dishes.) It is still a battle to get him to do them when it is his turn so when he does not comply I throw the lot into the dishwasher. I think it is because my sister and I were washing and drying dishes for a family of eight before I could even reach the sink. We would pull up kitchen chairs and go at it for what seemed like hours. I have so hated washing dishes by hand ever since.