Is dishwasher a necessity?

While Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) have been there long before I started work back in the mid 1980s, New Zealand’s Kiwi Saver was only launched in 2006, a year after I started work in New Zealand.

Although somewhat backwards in that aspect, the amazing thing I found what New Zealand has and what Malaysia and Singapore did not have (in those days, not sure now) is the presence of dishwasher in every average to luxury homes.

As per New Zealand Statistics, dishwashers started to become known as a home kitchen appliance in the 1950s. In earlier years, only restaurants, hotels, and wealthy families had dishwashers, as they were large and expensive appliances (Thompson, 2009). Over the following decades, they became smaller, cheaper, and more efficient, which saw them grow in popularity among households. In 1980, dishwashers were added to the CPI basket.

Even with a dishwasher, however, it is a common practice in every household (that I have seen) to hand wash and rinse the dirty dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.

I wonder if that is a habit, or can we not just let the dishwasher do its job?

Other than throwing away the scraps, if we have to pre wash and rinse off beforehand, why do you even need a dishwasher in the first place?

Appliance maker Electrolux have launched a “Stop washing up” campaign suggesting that in we should just “let the dishwasher do its job”.

It is also common habit here in smaller households, the dishes would first be hand washed and rinsed and then stacked into the dishwasher till it is full (maybe after three or four dinners) and then run the cycle.

In my case, I still keep my habit of having a drying rack and hand wash my dishes immediately after meals.  It is only when I have a party or group dinner that I use my dishwasher.  My friends would start the pre-hand wash and then into the dishwasher.

At times when someone offers to wash the dirty dishes (when this person probably because knows I don’t usually use the dishwasher or he sees the drying rack), after throwing the scraps, he or she will fill up the basin with water, put in the dishwashing liquid and with a brush, wash the dishes.  You often see soapy wet dishes towelled dry.

My method of hand-washing would be  –  throw the scraps, add dishwashing liquid and wash (with brush) the dishes under running water (some may think I am wasting water).  Leave to dry on rack and if not too lazy, towel dry after.  Otherwise, they will be dry tomorrow so I can then just store the clean dishes away.

When I host bigger parties, I usually use disposable cutleries, plates and cups.

So back to the question, “Is dishwasher a necessity?”

Or a luxury for laid back people who store away dirty dishes till they run out of clean ones?

Or is it for hygiene?

To kill most types of bacteria, water needs to reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit (scalding hot).  In my house we have a brush (with handle) placed next to the sink that we use when we hand-wash dishes to avoid contact with the hot water. Drying dishes with a cloth that is not sanitized may not be that hygienic either.

So what are your thoughts?


3 thoughts on “Is dishwasher a necessity?

  1. The answer is [no]. In my family I am the dish washer, never the 3 children. My wife cooks, I wash dishes, fair is fair. Children wipe the table, sweep the floor, feed the dogs, cats etc.

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