True confession: I don’t use a dishwasher. In fact, I don’t even own one. It didn’t seem like a big deal when we bought our home, ten years ago, when it was just my husband and me. After all, we were only going to live in this house for a few years before moving on to something bigger and better.
Before this house, we had lived in numerous apartments outfitted with noisy old machines, which took forever to fill up and then, never got our plates and glasses completely clean. They worked pretty well, if you wiped and rinsed the dishes before loading them up, but then, where is the time savings in that?
I blame in on the way I grew up. Again, we always had a kitchen full of Amana appliances. But the dishwasher always sat empty. Occasionally, it was used as a glorified drying rack. It may have had something to do with the fact that we ate meals, Chinese-style, with lots of little bowls and few plates. The top rack would get filled up while the bottom rack sat empty. While we waited to collect enough plates to fill the lower rack, we’d end up washing our rice bowls by hand. Very rarely — like after a big dinner party — we would actually use the machine for washing the numerous plates and bowls used. One time the machine overflowed and flooded the kitchen. It seemed that one of the lines had developed build-up and clogged up. Something which could have been prevented by flushing out the tubes with regular use. This machine created more problems than it solved.
But after having children, I viewed the dishwasher with a new set of eyes. Instead of scrubbing bottles, nipples, and the numerous intricate parts of a sippy cup by hand (in near-boiling water) I could see the usefulness of the machine. Not to mention the fact that pediatricians always recommend sterilizing chew toys in a hot wash cycle. Now that my boys are too old to for sippy cups or teething rings, I can get by– sort of. I’m still dreaming of a dishwasher. A new kitchen, really. Make that a new house.
As for my mother, when she remodeled her old kitchen, she replaced the avocado green dishwasher with a stainless steel Bosch. In the even that she ever wants to use it, I’m sure there’s an old box of Cascade lurking under the sink.