I never use the dishwasher.Dishwasher_Vortex

There are a host of reasons why, not the least of which is that I grew up without one and therefore became accustomed to doing the dishes by hand. As a result, I actually find solace in the peaceful process of hand washing, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing the gradual fruit of my labors, which demonstrates a crucial difference between the two—active versus passive, and I tend to prefer action.

When it comes to dishwashers, however, I have numerous complaints about the entire “dishwasher process” not to mention the typically dissatisfying results.

Yes, as a conservationist, I am aware of the argument and research to support the notion that using the dishwasher actually saves water. And whether the carbon footprint of electricity use offsets the savings in water remains uncertain to me. Nonetheless I prefer to wash by hand, keeping the water at a trickle for most of the process.

I should probably emphasize that most definitely I see where a dishwasher has its place. Specifically, when hosting large groups for dinner or assisting a family of 5 or more, I get it. But in the typical day-to-day, for a small household like mine, the dishwasher seems more of an inconvenience, even a nuisance, than anything else.

And so begineth my rationale:

1) The Black Hole – When there are only one or two people in your household the dishwasher doesn’t fill up very quickly: a fork here, a bowl there, a couple of plates at dinner, one butter knife at a time. Before you know it you go to the silverware drawer in search of a single GD spoon and there aren’t any there. Why? Because they’re all stacked up and caked with gross in the dishwasher! NO SPOON FOR YOU!

Ever try eating ice cream with a cheese spreader? It sucks.

2) Inconsistent Cleaning – The only way I have found to consistently clean all dishes in this contraption is to rinse (and sometimes scrub) each of them immediately after eating and before they go into the racks. So long water savings! Hello waste of time. Fer cripe’s sake, I might as well just add a dollop of soap into that equation and wash the damn things by hand.

If I don’t rinse first and instead let them sit in the black hole, the dry, encrusted awfulness that results invariably greets me as the dishes return to their homes, or worse, surprises me in the midst of the next meal.

There is nothing like concrete marinara bleeding slowly from your utensil into your freshly milked cereal. Blech!

3) Clean? Not clean? WTF?! – Perhaps improved on newer models (ours is from last century), but after a cycle a little LED indicates the dishes are clean, right up until you open the door. So you grab a spatula out of the top rack and then shut the door in haste, intending to unload the rest later. LED goes off and the mystery begins. Life happens; later becomes tomorrow, and now you have no f-ing idea whether they’re clean or not because every ounce of moisture in the box has dissipated (except, of course, the little crevices of the Tupperware lids that empty like open floodgates when you grab them, sloshing all over the floor and soaking your house slippers, but more on that point next).

So you grab a few forks to see if they’re clean, maybe a plate. Some days you can tell, most you just say to hell with it and run another cycle…a vicious one.

4) Lurking Catch Pockets – It is AMAZING how much water can hide in the underside of a coffee mug, or in the flanges of a plastic storage container (both of which are in the top rack, mind you, above the other dishes). If ever there were a severe drought, I’m confident a small family could survive for weeks on the water found in these tiny, imperceptible crevices.

No matter how hard I try, how closely I inspect before touching, time and again I am duped into overturning a secret slough and inadvertently soaking either myself, the dry dishes below, or the interior of a cabinet. MDF and water—what could go wrong?

5) Out of sight, Out of mind – A sink full of dishes (dirty or clean) is a constant, obvious reminder that I must deal with them. A dishwasher full of dishes looks just like a dishwasher devoid of them. With so many other things going on in life to distract me from emptying the damn thing, do I really need another surprise chore at the least convenient moment?

For these reasons, I find it best to avoid the apparatus entirely. I don’t fill it; I don’t run it; I don’t unload it. If only I could get my lovely partner to do the same, then maybe, for once, I’d know where all of the cutlery is.

At this point I’m left scraping the ice cream into my mouth with the two prongs of a corn skewer, which I suppose is probably for the best.

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