Why I Stopped Using My Dishwasher

Does the thought of not using a dishwasher cause panic? Do you think it’s impossible? Hear me out…

We have a perfectly good, working dishwasher in our kitchen. It sits empty. I no longer use it. And get this: I don’t want to use it.

Some time last year, our dishwasher got clogged. It just needed a good cleaning, but in the meantime, I started to do the dishes by hand. While I started off griping about it, I ended up stumbling across a number of unexpected benefits:

It saves time – Can washing by hand really be faster than using the dishwasher? In most cases, I believe the answer to be ‘yes’. By the time I rinse, load and unload the dishwasher, I’ve handled each dish or glass twice. When I wash by hand, I also handle each one twice – once to wash, once to dry. The difference is, it’s done all at once. I don’t have to wait for a two-hour wash cycle and then go back into the kitchen to finish the job.

It promotes slowing down – Doing the dishes is an intentional task. But when you do them by hand, you have a few moments to slow down and, if your sink is in front of a window, enjoy the scenery. I also do a lot of thinking and relaxing during this time.

It’s good for bonding – My daughter helps me do the evening dishes. I’m amazed at the pleasant, and sometimes deep, conversations we’ve had during this time. In fact, she’s also grown to enjoy it and often grabs the dish towel before I even ask. That in itself is reason enough to never use the dishwasher again.

It saves energy – Three minutes filling a sink of water to hand wash dishes, versus two hours of extreme-heat washing and rinsing in the dishwasher. No contest.

There is less waste – It’s easy to grab endless glasses or cups to use throughout the day if you are just going to stuff it in the dishwasher when you are done. When you do dishes by hand, you are more likely to reuse the same cup and be more thoughtful about the amount of dishes you use. In the end, this also saves energy.

I realize there are people reading this thinking that there is no way their schedule would allow them to give up their dishwasher. But then, isn’t being too busy another problem? Maybe intentionally doing the dishes will help prioritize other areas of your life. I challenge you to try it for a month…