The Random Writings of Rachel: The Dishwashing War

The Dishwashing War



Did you know that there's more than one way to wash dishes?

Betcha didn't. Many people do not. At least, that's what I've discovered. I grew up in a home where the kitchen had one kitchen sink and no hot water from the faucet. For that reason, it never seemed practical to fill up a sink with cold water and dish soap, place dishes in the sink full of water, wash them, stack them wet and soapy on the counter, empty out the sink, and rinse the dishes. Instead, I got into the the habit of keeping the water running slowly while I scrubbed dishes with a soapy washcloth, washing and rinsing at once, and stacking the clean dishes in the dish rack when I was done.

Since moving back to America, I've discovered that the preferred method of washing dishes--here in the land of double kitchen sinks and faucets spouting hot water, is to fill one sink with steaming, soapy water and wash the dishes in that sink, afterwards stacking them in the other sink, and running the water again to rinse the dishes.

That is okay with me. I do not mind the fact that many people use a different strategy of dish washing than I do. Where the dishwashing war begins is when I wash dishes at someone else's house. Because, guess what? People who wash dishes differently than I do highly disapprove of the way that I wash dishes. I find that odd. I mean, if someone ate dinner at my house, and washed the dishes afterwards, I think I'd say, "Thanks for washing dishes!" not "Apparently, you don't know how to wash dishes."

It's funny, the reactions I get. Some people tell me that the dishes don't get as clean the way I wash them--and I wonder how allowing dishes to sit in a sinkful of grimy water that gets progressively dirtier gets dishes cleaner than my method does. I've also been told that it's a wasteful way to wash dishes--that it wastes too much water, a valuable resource. Again, I beg to differ. If you've ever had to wash up after dinner for nine on a daily basis for years of your life, you'd be a speedy dish washer too. I've timed it by plugging the sink while allowing the faucet to run continuously while I wash the dishes, and I regularly finish all the dishes, both the washing and rinsing, before I get a full sink of water. Therefore, the method which first fills the sink with water and then runs the water again to rinse dishes actually uses more water than mine does.

But you know what? I have two sinks. If I have you over for dinner, and you want to help clean up afterwards, feel perfectly free to use the two-sink method if that's what you're used to. I don't mind. I'm happy and grateful that it's not me washing dishes!

In my view, there's two ways to end the dishwashing war. Either, the people who I wash dishes for could decide that they don't care how their dishes are cleaned, or I could adapt to their dishwashing culture while in their homes and use the two-sink method in order to not upset my hosts. Since I can only control my own actions and not those of others, it appears that I will accept this difference and I will be using the second strategy in future dishwashing ventures outside of my own kitchen.

This appears to be one of those random cultural differences that many people have decided are worth fighting for. To me, it appears to be on the level of which way is the toilet paper roll installed.

How do you wash dishes? One sink or two sinks or--what in the world?--do you have one of those newfangled dishwasher contraptions?

36 comments:

  1. Growing up we used the two sink method you described. My hubby and I got stuck with a few apartments with a single sink and we HATED them. Now we have a double sink and our current method is usually the left side of the sink is filled with dirty dishes. The right side is used for washing and/or adding water to pans to cook, etc. We have a dishwasher and usually fill that once the left side of the sink is stacked to the ceiling. LOL

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  2. I have a dishwasher, but still fill the sink with soapy hot water and wash like that. Then I rinse each one and set it in the other sink. My girlfriend washes like you. She grew up on a farm. I don't care as long as the dishes get done.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  3. At home, we always used a dishwasher because it was faster and the dishes really pile up with 9 kids! I don't have a dishwasher now that I'm living on my own, and I have two sinks, but one side has the dish rack in it so I use the one sink method like you do. I actually prefer that method now. Glad I'm not the only one that washes dishes that way!

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  4. We have a dishwasher, so most of our dishes get washed that way. With things that don't go in the dishwasher, like pots and pans, we use one side to wash, the other side as a drying area.

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  5. I have no idea how my husband washes the dishes, and he always does it because it is my most hated chore. If it were up to me, all of them would go in the dishwasher.

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  6. I've always washed dishes the same way you do. We tend to let the dirty dishes pile up. So even though we have a double sink, both sides are always full so there's no room for a soapy soak.

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  7. I use the same method you do! Run water continuously and wash :P

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  8. .......guilty of having a dishwasher.....................sorry......... ;-)

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  9. Our house is too tiny for a dishwasher and I've always washed dishes like you described, it's the way my family always did it! A sink full of dirty water grosses me out :)

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  10. I love how this is 7 paragraphs on how people wash dishes. I agree with you - if someone wants to wash my dishes, I would not critique the job they did! I hate washing dishes though...I would pay someone to do it if I could.

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  11. Um, I'm totally with you on this one. We do have a dishwasher now, but I used to wash dishes the exact same way as you - one at a time with the water running. It never made sense to me how dishes sitting in a sink full of hot DIRTY water would get them any cleaner than just scrubbing them one at a time, then rinsing them, under the same RUNNING stream of hot water. I tend to apply the same principle to taking baths. Showers 4 life. ;)

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  12. I wash the dishes like you do. My husband fills the sink with soapy water. He thinks I'm crazy. He said everyone in the world but me washes dishes with the soak and rinse method. All I can think is how grossed out I am by having dishes sitting in nasty, dirty water with food grime floating around in it. Uck.

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  13. I used to wash the dishes like you do when I lived at home, because we didn't have a dishwasher. Now, I rinse them off and then just plop them in the washer. It's a godsend. :)

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  14. Lol people need to be more grateful than as company in someone else's house you took the initiative to wash the dishes - I have ONE sink and it's a HUGE one so I love it. I am fast too so I turn the water on hot and keep it moving. I only use the dishwasher if there is a large load and I'm just not having it. :) Have fun with the dishes Rachel! -Iva

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  15. We have a dishwasher but don't use it. It doesn't work well. We store some pots and things in it. We have one sink and I wash dishes more like you though I'm sure I use more water than you do.

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  16. I can't believe people would get upset with you for not washing dishes their way!!! That's crazy!!! And, for the record, I wash dishes your way. ;-)

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  17. We have two sinks and wash the dishes off before placing them in the dishwasher. I hate doing dishes and touching them, so my husband does it. I'm the main cook though, so it balances out.

    I would be so annoyed if someone said I was doing it wrong and not their way. I would shoot them a look that could kill haha

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  18. I have a double sink but I pretty much do everything in the dishwasher! haha! Wash them however you want girl, if someone tells you that you are doing it wrong just tell them if they want it done there way then they can wash your dishes for you! I am giving away a Starbucks Verismo Brewer on my blog. I would love if you would check it out. http://thediaryofarealhousewife.blogspot.com/

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  19. I do it like you too! I don't wanna put my hands in a sink full of water that has floaties in it... bleh!

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  20. I am totally with you! I wash dishes with the water running slightly and washing-rinsing each item at a time. I haven't had too many comments about it though.

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  21. I'm a two sink dishwasher, but I have to admit your way sounds more efficient :)

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  22. I prefer portable dishwashers, but when I use the sink, I wash dishes the same way you do. I hate the thought of sticking my hands into a sink full of dirty dish water!

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  23. Haha! I wash dishes the way you do, all my housemates do. My parents always just fill a bowl up and wash them that way but that makes me feel a bit ick. We don't have two sinks, my parents have a main sink and then like a little one next to it, like a third of the width of the main sink. I've never thought what it's for though but maybe it's for the rinsing?

    I just washed the dishes and broke two wine glasses. Including on of my housemates favourites. She is due home any moment and I'm terrified!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  24. I can’t believe someone would say anything if you’re being nice enough to wash the dishes at their house! Next time just take it easy after dinner and let them wash the dishes the way they like to

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  25. I have a dishwasher. I'd be thrilled if anyone who came over even helped me load it! Help is help, I'd never turn it down.

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  26. We have dishwasher at home, but I prefer wash dishes by hands. I wash dishes same as you do with little water flowing. It works fine with me that way.

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  27. Malcolm and I have different methods, but I don't really care if he washes them his way it's one less dish for me to wash! I do miss the 4 blissful months that our rented apartment had a dishwasher though!

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  28. Well, I actually have a dishwasher and am lazy when it comes to washing. But when I did hand wash things, I washed with a one sink method. This likely has to do with the fact that if my kitchen has two sinks, it probably has a functional dishwasher as well. I also grew up in a one sink house and could only wash my dishes out of one sink. Now my parents use the two sink method, but I feel like your hands get prune-y that way. How did I just write this much about washing dishes?

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  29. I wash dishes your way! Not because I grew up without a double sink...it just seems cleaner to me to not use dirty water to wash my dishes. My hubby has adapted to this method now too...maybe we're just germ-o-phobes? I've never had anyone complain when I did dishes that way at their house though!

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  30. Dishwasher! I am eternally grateful for it...although I hate having to empty it. Then again I quite liked washing up but hated the drying up/putting it away.

    My boyfriend does a lot of the washing up and does the two sink method. We always just used one sink growing up and didn't really rinse. I'll definitely consider using your way in the future...but definitely won't be telling people how to wash my dishes. The fact they're doing it is more than enough!

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  31. I wash dishes the same way you do- but I'd never correct someone for doing them another way if they're helping me. It seems super gross to use the same dirty water to wash all the dishes, IMO.

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  32. I have a dishwasher, but am very particular about how it gets loaded. It's some serious OCD when it comes to the dishwasher. I wish I could just let someone else do my dishes, but I get twitchy. If I'm hand washing, I do it like you. Growing up, I was taught to fill one side of the sink with hot soapy water to wash, and the other side with super hot clean water to rinse.

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  33. Confession: I wash dishes the same way you do ;] Always have. Washing dishes in a sink full of water just seems . . . well, I just end up feeling like it's counterproductive, cleaning dishes in water filled with other dirty dishes? I'm sure it's totally fine, though :]

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  34. I have one sink, and I wash the same way you do!

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  35. i wash the dishes the way you do, and my husband does the opposite way. i swear, his dishes are never fully clean even after they are "washed." they're still greasy that i often have to wash my own dishes before i use them, since they're not really clean. so gross!

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  36. haha!
    My husband (who is from Brasil) washes dishes the way you do! I also thought it was really wasteful at first!
    It DOES make sense, though - dishes must end up cleaner than when I fill the sink with water that continues to get dirtier and dirtier...
    I now use both ways. Since I'm not quite used to the art of washing dishes with the tap running, if I have a large load I sometimes wash cutlery/plates/glasses and those kind of items in a plugged sink, and then finish by washing the larger items under the running tap.
    When there are only a few dishes I usually just wash them under the running tap!
    Both ways are good for something ;)

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