I don’t like them. I don’t use them. Even when I have one — and I usually do, since rare is the rental without a dishwasher to sweeten the deal — I don’t avail myself.
Why not? Because dishwashers annoy me and always have. If I have to rinse off a dish enough to put into a dishwasher, I might as well take the extra 20 seconds and wash the thing, right?
I know what happens when you don’t rinse well enough: The dishes pulled from my mother’s old dishwasher routinely came out dingy and half-washed, compelling me to wash them once again with a sponge and hot soapy water. What’s the point of that? I never fathomed.
I have not used a dishwasher since moving out on my own at 18, which was back when Michael Jackson really was the King of Pop. At this point my bias against them have internalized, and I am unlikely to be swayed.
You can really throw a person when you decline to use the dishwasher. They will stand blinking at you with their mouths open. They can hardly grasp it. You don’t want to use a dishwasher? You can get the same look when you admit to not having (or desiring) cable TV, too, but less so. There’s a certain sub-genre of people who decline to get cable, but these same people will always have a dishwasher.
People get annoyed at me. They try to sell the dishwasher concept.
The new models are so much more efficient, they argue. They don’t require that you rinse off the dish so thoroughly before putting them in the rack. They sanitize the dishes better. They save water AND time, they insist.
But they don’t.
I say that there is a way to wash dishes that is quicker and more efficient — not to mention vastly more pleasant — than any dishwasher. I can wash, dry and put away an entire dinner party’s worth of dishes in the time it takes you to unload a dishwasher’s first capacity cycle.
But it’s a lost art. Two generations of dishwasher-users have rendered most people under 60 ignorant of the ways of the hand wash. And this is unfortunate.
Washing up after dinner is like the warm-down of a workout, the shavasana of a meal. There is quiet. There is industry. And also time for reflection if you desire. You can’t twitter when you’re washing the dishes. You can’t check your email. You might choose to listen to your kitchen iPod, but you could also try having a conversation with your dish-dryer (hand washing is always most satisfying in groups of two or more).
Collect the dishes at the end of the meal. Scrape. Stack. Fill one side of your sink with hot, soapy water, the other with clear, hot water. Methodically wash, rinse, and stack in the dish rack or hand to your dryer. It’s really not so horrible. It’s the pause after a good meal. Enjoyable communally or solo. And I’ve always enjoyed the zen of dishwashing.
As the monks say, “wash the dish.”