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We don’t have or use a dishwasher with our large family. Yes, you read that right. We wash all dishes by hand in our house.
I have found that this small fact about our family surprises a lot of people. There are many reasons we don’t use a dishwasher. If I am being completely honest I will have to admit that our handwashing days began because our dishwasher broke. We burned through three or four dishwashers in a decade. Some were new and some were used. We bought the cheapest we could find and expensive “super-capacity” washers. In the end, we’ve decided the best dishwasher for our large family is hot, soapy, water.
Here is why we choose to hand wash our dishes.
1. When you use a dishwasher, the dishes are never really done.
Even in a regular family dishes are never quite “done” with a dishwasher. Even if you clean the kitchen, put every dish in the dishwasher and run it, you wake up to a dishwasher full of dishes that need to be put away. When hand washing, drying and putting away is part of the built-in process. Even if I leave the dishes for half an hour to air dry, I can put them away quickly. With a dishwasher you need to wait an hour or so while it runs, then wait for the dishes to cool off.
2. There is too much “extra work” with a dishwasher.
I put “extra work” in parenthesis on purpose. For some reason, my kids perceive washing any dishes that don’t fit in the dishwasher as “extra work”. Back when we used a dishwasher the kids would ask nightly, “Do I have to wash the pots on the stove?” and inevitably they would overload the dishwasher, stacking dishes on top of each other even, to avoid having to hand wash. Now everything is hand-washed so it doesn’t seem like extra work.
3. No more wondering whether dishes are clean or dirty.
My grandma had these lovely clean and dirty magnets that she used for her dishwasher. Lovely idea…but with a house full of kids (especially babies and toddlers) they were never left on the dishwasher long enough to make a difference. And who hasn’t unloaded half the dishwasher only to suddenly discover it hadn’t been run yet? EW!
4. Doing someone else’s work.
When we had a dishwasher my kids often “couldn’t load” the dishwasher because their sibling hadn’t unloaded it and unloading the dishwasher wasn’t their work. I have written many times about my kids’ biggest fear: that they would do more work than a sibling. Yeah, having no dishwasher eliminates this issue entirely. Each child (except for Mordecai and Apollo) have a dish night and I do them on the seventh night.
Do you have a dishwasher? Do you feel like it saves time and work?
Be sure and check out my post on how to teach kids to clean the kitchen.