Saturday, January 26, 2008

To wash dishes or not? That is the question.

Our new apartment in Rome doesn't have a dishwasher. I knew this coming in, but figured it would be okay. I washed dishes in college and when we were first married, so I can easily do it again. Many people I met here have eventually bought one and I, always the martyr, thought that I was too good to cave in and it would be good way to live simply.

Well, life with a baby is definitely different and our meals are more elaborate. After two weeks of washing dishes upon mounds of dishes, I'm tired and my hands are a wreck. Not only are my knuckles dry, but a few of them actually have cracks. I know that I'm probably using water that is too hot, but I won't back down on that. Using hot water kills more germs than anything. On top of that, we actually have space next to the sink where the previous tenant had a dishwasher, so that all but clinched it that we should get one to fill the hole in the kitchen!

Am I totally ridiculous to want a dishwasher? What uses more water... a dishwasher or my hand-washing the dishes? Conservation is important to me. Keep in mind when you answer this that when I wash dishes, I would say I'm moderate on water usage. I wash each one, turn on the hot water to rinse, and then let them air dry. As for dishwasher use, I only run mine about every five days on the energy saver cycle. I always wash pots and pans myself to save room so I can fit more plates, bowls, and cups in the dishwasher and use it less.

Money is not a factor in this decision. We can afford one and will probably sell it when we leave. What should we do?


Jacquie said...

I have a dishwasher now, but I still do dishes by hand (mainly my plastics and pot/pans), we run 1-2 times a week. Have you tried the gloves? Maybe that would help your hands as I agree there is no point in washing in anything but hot water.

That being said, if you have the space I'd say splurge. You deserve it.

Cheri said...

My honest opinion? Get the dish washer. I avoided using ours here, but I got so tired of the constant dish washing, and dishes on the counter, and dishes in the sink (and we only have an itty bitty sink). You could definately look into the energy saver models, which may help the resale too.

Oh - and think of how much better your hands would feel. Mom's spend enough time washing and sanitizing their hands as it is!

Susan said...

The Germans claim that dishwashers use less water than even the most efficient hand washer. Also, it is good storage space for dirty dishes, helps with order in the kitchen. Two very important factors in German society, conservation and order. Also Wikepedia had a article that said several companies found the same findings.

Personally I think the dishwasher was a wise investment! I hope that encourages you to sleep better tonight:)

tootie said...

I've heard before that dishwashers actually use less water than hand-washing, too.

By the way, I feel your (hand) pain. My husband and I living temporarily somewhere that doesn't have a dishwasher either. Can't wait until we move soon and we can have a dishwasher again!

*carrie* said...


According to the book I've been reading/quoting (SG,STP), dishwashers always use more energy. He did a study in which he measured the amount of water and energy used in each method, and said it was "no contest."

I'm with you, though. For some things that need to be more disinfected or really cleaned, I have more confidence in the dishwaster. Not to mention your poor hands! We only use our dishwasher a couple times a week, too, and I turn the dry cycle to no heat.

Sara said...

I was just thinking about this yesterday when a friend of my mother in law's was saying that she didn't think it was any easier to have a dishwasher than to wash by hand since you have to rinse the dishes anyway. I thought "only someone who doesn't have a dishwasher would think that!" I would go for the dw for sure. I only run mine 3/week or so, but it keeps the dirties contained and helps my kitchen stay relatively clean. I've also heard that it uses more water to wash by hand, but I suppose that depends on your "style" of washing!

Anonymous said...

If you can get your hands on (no pun intended) some bag balm, its fantastic and will heal your hands in no time. Its the consistency of vaseline but if you rub it all over your hands for a week, they'll feel like you've never washed a dish in your life! Bag balm was originally invented for farmers to put on cow udders which are very sensitive and get chapped easily. The stuff works