Lessons From a Broken Dishwasher - The Dirty Dish Club

Over the years, a few friends have told me they hated cooking, but didn’t mind doing dishes. We’d joke about making an arrangement where I’d feed their family everyday if, as payment, they’d clean everything up afterward. It’s no secret that dish washing isn’t a beloved chore at our house. This is the Dirty Dish Club, is it not? In my bio on our About Page I boldly say that “I’m fairly certain the dishwasher is one of the best inventions of the 20th century.” Well, something happened a week ago that tested that theory: our dishwasher stopped washing dishes. This wasn’t just regular dishwasher ineptitude where a few bowls didn’t come clean or the glasses were spotted. We’d put dishes in and run the cycle and they’d come out not just dirty like they were before, but now the food was baked on. We are fairly adept DIYers, so we set to work cleaning the filter and checking the usual culprits without improved results. In the meantime, something interesting happened. Even though our dishwasher wasn’t working, on average our sink was less often piled with dishes than it was when the dishwasher worked.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the dishwasher, apparently, is a hindrance to cleanliness in our home. Generally, we would do the bare minimum when it came to dishes, loading  the dishwasher to the max and leaving all the remaining dishes piled in the sink. Dishes that were branded “NOT dishwasher safe” sometimes stayed in the sink for days or even weeks until we were forced to confront them in Hazmat fashion. With the dishwasher broken, the dishes would form an unsightly pile in the sink, but about once a day we’d decide we needed to wash a few and since we were already at it, why not wash them all? Once I got over my initial loathing of the task, I realized that hand washing dishes wasn’t the worst thing in the world. The dishes were easier to wash since they hadn’t sat around for ages and the quality control on cleaning was much higher. My mind could wander while I stood at the sink, or I’d have long conversations with Noel as he rinsed. We were transported back to simpler times and our dishwasher became the most expensive drying rack ever.

When my mom asked if we’d fixed the dishwasher yet, I told her we hadn’t gotten around to it, but hand washing dishes wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be. She told me a good family friend loved staring out the window at her ranch while she washed dishes so much that she turned her dishwasher into storage for her cassette tapes. I doubt we’ll do anything like that (mostly because we don’t have any cassette tapes), but once the novelty of hand washing dishes wears off and we get around to fixing the dishwasher, I’m hoping we’ll be a little more motivated to keep the Dirty Dish Club a little less dirty.

Written by Audrey

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