Dishwasher versus dish washer, a manly man’s perspective

I am a proud, domesticated man. I know my way around a washing machine. (By “a washing machine” I mean my washing machine. I do not know my way around other washing machines.) I know where to find virtually everything in Safeway, including canned coconut milk (ethnic foods), and I won’t hesitate to add feminine hygiene products to my cart if they’re on the list. I make homemade croutons (by toasting bread really hard). I wash dishes. My goodness do I wash dishes.

I’m not just domesticated in that I’m able to swallow my manly pride and do certain unenviable chores out of a sense of duty to my family. No, I embrace it. It defines me. I have opinions, gosh darn it.

I don’t put my whites in the dryer because they’re more apt to withhold stains. Instead I hang them on a clothes drying thingee, and if I’m feeling particularly domestic I will put said thingee in the backyard and watch the clothes blow gently in the breeze while I breath in pleasant wafts of fabric softener. (My whites are predominantly undershirt tank-tops affectionately referred to in pop culture as “wife beaters,” a phrase that somewhat ironically provides an interesting backdrop to the scene just described.) I will only buy our family’s particular brand of Greek yogurt at one specific store because I think the prices elsewhere are ludicrous. I believe no sane person should be expected to fold a fitted sheet and we should instead be allowed to crumple them up into a ball and tie them with a rubber band for storage.

But I withhold my strongest opinions for the act, as mentioned, I find myself doing most often: washing dishes.

More specifically, the dishwasher. There is an etiquette to the dishwasher, one that is frequently breached. I’m not talking about the act of loading the dishwasher, an art form in itself for which, alas, I don’t have the natural talent. (Although you can’t just maximize space by stacking dishes. You have to expose each dish to the water jets or what’s the point, you know?) I am referring to the level of rinsing a dish may require before placing it into the dishwasher.

Occasionally my wife, feeling bad for me, will volunteer to load the dishwasher after dinner. I will insist on doing it, however, since I know she will simply load the dishes as they are. Her level of rinsing is zero rinsing. (Don’t even get me started on her mind-boggling inability to soak.) I don’t even think she will scrape remnants into the garbage first, but will instead aggressively place the plate into the dishwasher as is and let the excess pasta fall where it may. No worries, the dishwasher will take of care of it! Guess what? IT WON’T.

You know who will take care of it? Me, the following morning, when I open the dishwasher only to reveal a bevy of crusted-up dishes that have not been sufficiently cleaned by the magical, scrubbing troll who resides in dishwashers because such a being does not exist.

Dishes must be pre-washed, and I am straight offended by commercials that suggest otherwise. “Use Palmolive dishwashing liquid to get out the toughest grease and stains (shows Pyrex dish with week’s old casserole-induced crust coming out like new).” ERRONEOUS. This isn’t fantasy-land, people. These dishes need some elbow grease.

Some may say I fall on the other extreme, that I pre-wash too well and thus nullify the intended purpose of the dishwasher. Well guess what? Guilty as charged.

Maybe I’ll live to see the day when dishwasher technology and that of its associated soaps will advance to the point where they can actually keep the promises they make on television. In the meantime, a dishwasher is a moderately convenient machine that adds an extra, albeit unnecessary level of clean to the hard work I already accomplished with my own two very manly hands. And let that be the final word on this issue.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some wife-beaters to soak in bleach.

This is the real "after" photo, CASCADE.

Note: This column appears in the 1/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/31 issue of the Peoria Times.


JediJeff said…
I am going to rig my dishwasher to play the Tetris song when it opens, cuz I take pride in how well I load the racks for maximum dishes with maximum cleaning.
mkenny59 said…
Teach me, JediJeff. Teach me!
troy said…
No one's ever been so right in recorded history. What I want to know is, why is it important to, just for one example, clean the floors on pretty much a daily basis, but when the knives come out of the dishwasher with crusted-over serrations, that's apparently totally fine?
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