Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Fired My Dishwasher

In my quest to lower our electric consumption we have stopped using some 
of our modern conveniences. One of them is the dishwasher. 
I know there is an argument that dishwashers save money, water and energy.
I am not sure I believe that but I do know in our case, it wasn't saving us any of those. 
We have a rental and we are stuck with the relic that is installed here. 
On top of that, we have very hard well water and even when the dishwasher runs half way decent, 
the hard water drowns any attempt at cleaning. What should take one wash, takes two sometimes three. Wasting water, wasting electric, wasting soap and wasting my time. 
So, we hand wash.

Mostly the girls do and I help now and then. But we are seeing results.
Last's months electric bill was down $80 from the previous months. I am sure the dryer 
being off, the AC is off for 8 - 12 hours a day (it is getting harder to do 
that with temps in the upper 90's) and the dishwasher not running all dang time helped.
What it has also done is made us aware of our resources. 
Water is a precious resource. Clean water even more precious. 
And something that most Americans take for granted that it will always be available.
 Our family knew if we were going to be serious about using less resources and under consuming water 
was an important area to start with. Plus, whether you are on a well (like us) or on city water, when 
you use less water somewhere there is less electricity being used. When you have a well you see
the electricity reduction first hand, on the city water maybe not but it is there.
We are using less water, I know we are. 
Maybe if you have a highly efficient machine that runs once a day, then I can bet that 
hand washing would use more. But most of us run our dishwashers more than 
once a day. We home school so there are three meals made at home on any given day. 
Which resulted in the dishwasher being ran at the very least three times a day. 
More than likely it ran more like 5 times because the size of our family or it just wasn't getting clean. 
Most people I know pre-rinse before they load their machine.
That water should be taken in account when weighing which uses less. 
We could talk about convenience.
 But if our family was worried about making our lives more comfortable we wouldn't be 
doing half the things we do. 
Sometimes simpler isn't less work. 
It is however sometimes, better.


Alecia @ ChickenScratch NY said...

Couldn't agree more with simpler not always being easier! It's just my fiance and I and we have a new dishwasher so we use that, it only runs once every other day or so. We use Eco-friendly detergent and our house came with a grey-water system installed so we got pretty lucky! Thanks for sharing!

Alecia @

Jan Berry said...

I agree! We just wore out my fourth dishwasher in ten years. The hundreds of dollars spent at the appliance store has to be factored in the costs of running one too. Dishes don't get as clean (we have well water too!) and I end up hand-washing many of them. We were going to completely take the space the dishwasher was in and turn it into more cabinets, but then my dad gifted us with a new one. Which was sweet and wonderful, but, I still find myself handwashing more than anything.

Chele said...

If it were just me and hubby, I would totally use one as well. And kudos for the grey water system! I am envious! :)

Chele said...

When we buy again we will be removing the dishwasher as well. I find I would rather have the space than one. I am betting where ever we move we will be on well water again, as we are wanting to be rural again. :)

Roxie700 said...

No, I can not agree with you. We live with hard water too. Some of the hardest water in Texas. (this was in the newsletter sent to us by our city water dept.) I have a family of 4, I also do day care and have 3 infants in care. My dishwasher does run 3 times a day. I use a 'helper' in the dishwasher called Sanishine. You can get it at Walmart. A tiny bit goes a really long way. I use 1tsp in each load. Now my dishwasher (that is old) looks like new inside. The inside shines like a new penny and there is no gunk in the propellers. I use a name brand (Cascade) dishwasher soap that I buy at Sam's. I fill the cups 1/2 full and use 1tsp of Sanishine in the cup that closes. I do not prerinse the dishes either. I do use a scraper and clean the plates and bowls into the trash. I hand wash pots and pans. The small sink of water I make to wash the pots and pans I use to clean the kitchen counter tops, stove, and table. This saves me lots of time to have the dishes washed in the machine. I do not use the DRY cycle on the machine. Let the dishes air dry. Often take the clean dishes from the dishwasher to reset the table for the next meal.

Chele said...

More so than saving money, time and water, I am concerned about the chemicals in the cleaners I was using in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergents contain Phosphates, Chlorine and petroleum-based ingredients. And even though the dishwasher rinses the dishes, the toxin residue stays on our dishes. On some, they even absorb in them. Each time we eat off these items, we are ingesting these chemicals. Furthermore, I was concerned that I was dumping these chemicals back in the water by using these detergents. It is the same concern I had with what I use to wash our clothes with.
I understand this is not a concern for some, but for us it is a huge concern. I also understand that there are "green" products out there. But since there is no regulation over organic non-food products, this does not mean the additives in there are plant based safe products. Furthermore, they don't even HAVE to list them by law since some items (such as the chemical that makes items sud up) is considered an industry standard, therefore does not have to be listed. It seemed safer for me to make my own with natural products that I could control.
Again, this may not work for everyone. But I was not writing this is a primer of how one should do their dishes. I was just stating what worked for our family with all the given variables. Thanks for commenting! :)

krissydawn16 said...

So ironic that I found this post tonight! I grew up hand-washing dishes. Our house came equipped with a very old dishwasher that I used a few times and swore off. I used it as a drying rack sometimes! We just remodeled our kitchen and DH insisted we install a "built in" dishwasher to appeal to buyers when we sell this house.

I just started my first load in the new dishwasher and I'm {im}patiently waiting to see how it turns out! I am so much more confident in my ability to keep my dishes clean than I am that this machine can do it... not to mention how much water and energy it uses!

~Kristen @

Chele said...

I hope the dishes came out clean! When dishwashers work well, it is a blessing. It is so hard to change our ways. ;)