If you stopped by for coffee this afternoon, I might draw you into engaging conversation . . . about that all-important topic of . . . washing dishes! I know, fascinating, right? I have found through the years that the everyday, mundane topics are often the best way to get to know someone. And there is always something I can learn. So, let’s get to know one another, learn from one another, shall we? Dishwashing? Really? Yes! I’ve washed a few in my time. I imagine you have to. Avoided washing dishes many a time. Please tell me I’m not the only one!
Washing dishes, how do you? In the dishwasher or by hand? For me, washing dishes is a chore. So my dishwasher is my favorite household appliance, my most favored household servant. I have actually
employed raised eight dishwashers, the two-handed kind, but in our household once they reach the age of 4 or 5, the mechanical kind is favored.
Do you have a favorite detergent, or do you care? I have tried cheaper off-brands (I’m frugal that way) and I have made my own (I’m crazy that way) but I always come back to my good-old stand-by Cascade with Lemon (I’m loyal that way).
What about a rinse agent? Is it really worth the extra money and trouble? I say yes. I have noticed that glass dries with significantly fewer water spots and streaking and greasy dishes and utensils come out without a film when I use a rinse agent. I have not noticed much of a difference between brands so I go with the less expensive or let my coupons do the talking or change it up just for the fun of it. I did try straight vinegar for a while – cheaper, healthier, more natural – but it began eating away at the rubber seal around the door. Not a good thing. I stopped.
Do you rinse before loading? I know people who put perfectly clean dishes into the dishwasher because they’ve rinsed their dirty dishes so thoroughly they might as well dry and put away! I mean, does rinsing really require hot soapy water? In my book, a quick rinse may be necessary to wash away large particles of remaining food, but isn’t the idea to let the machine do the work? I once heard Martha Stewart say our modern dishwashers are built to clean away the gook and grime from our dishes, no rinsing necessary. If it’s good enough for Martha, it’s good enough for me!
How do you load your dishwasher, anyway? Are you of the ‘tines up’ philosophy or the tines down?’ Our household rule is flatware gets loaded pointing up, giving the stream of water more opportunity to do its job. I understand why some choose to place them pointing down, so that they can grab the handle for putting away and not the clean put-in-your-mouth end, but so much food gets trapped in the utensil basket (remember, I don’t much rinsing). Do you place same with same? I don’t for utensils – spoons tend to nest together. I do for cereal bowls, juice glasses, dinner plates. It’s more efficient.
What do you NOT allow in the dishwasher? Me? Sharp knives (it dulls them) anything with wood (it dries them) my good stainless pots and pans (just because, I don’t know why) and larger items like mixing bowls (it blocks the water spray). So that does leave me with some handwashing.
Speaking of handwashing – maybe you are from the camp of those who enjoy washing dishes! Tell me about it! You just might convert me! Or maybe you don’t have a choice. You may not have a machine, or the space for it. Tell me how you cope.
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