Living the simple life without a dishwasher in the kitchen, means washing a lot of dishes. In our home, we hand wash everything in the sink, plates, glasses, pans and utensils.
Here are my simple easy tips and tricks for enjoying the process of hand washing dishes and living life without a dishwasher.
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Growing up Without a Dishwasher
Growing up, I lived without a dishwasher. For the most part, it was my duty to hand wash all the dishes. I grew up in a home with eight people, and my mother cooked all our meals from scratch. There was no shortage of dishes.
A few years after getting married, my husband and I moved to Mississippi while he attended seminary. It was there, living in an apartment, that I experienced what living with a dishwasher was like. I fondly remember thinking how great it was that I would never hand wash dishes again.
Disadvantages of a Dishwasher
When we recently remodeled our kitchen, I intentionally designed it to leave out the dishwasher. I have been asked many times, “where is the dishwasher” well, the answer is, I do not have one. Here are a few reasons why I chose to not have one installed in our kitchen.
I found using a dishwasher more time consuming than hand washing our dishes. It was the time of rinsing the dishes, loading it correctly so everything would fit, waiting on it to go through the cycle, and then having to unload it before starting the process all over for the next meal.
Having to Fit the Dishes In
Cooking from scratch means using a lot of dishes. Once a meal was complete it was always a hassle to get everything to fit properly.
Not Everything Can be Washed in a Dishwasher
Some of the things that should never go in a dishwasher include, sharp knives, nonstick coating cookware, cast iron, stoneware, wooden cutting boards, wooden utensils and utensils with wooden handles.
Many times the dishes never came out of the dishwasher clean without pre-washing. So, many times I would have to re-wash the unclean dishes.
Benefits of Hand Washing Dishes
Washing dishes by hand has become a stress relieving experience for me. Being at the kitchen sink, looking out our windows, and pondering on my thoughts has a way of relieving the stress that I may feel.
Dishwashers consume a lot of electricity by heating the water to wash the dishes and the heat to dry them afterwards.
Generally, the view out my kitchen window causes me to feel relaxed. I often watch the birds, leaves blowing in the wind, butterflies flying through the yard and I see the beautiful blooms on the flowers. There is always something captivating in nature to relax my mind.
I enjoy washing dishes by hand but many times I have help in the kitchen from the children. It is an essential part of our home that everyone helps with the task of cleaning up. Washing dishes is often a time of teaching life skills, important conversations, and time with my children.
Tips for Life Without a Dishwasher
Hand washing does not have to be the dreaded chore for each day. It can be enjoyable and it can become a task that you look forward to doing as part of your daily life. Here are a few tips for handwashing dishes that we follow in our home.
Clean as You Cook
This is one of the tips that I share in a post I wrote called, Daily Habits for a Clean and Tidy Kitchen. In our home, I clean as I cook. Before I begin to cook or bake, I first run my dishwater in the sink. Then, I wash up the dishes as I have time while waiting for meals to cook or bake.
Wash Dishes After Every Meal
There are very few rare exceptions for not washing the dishes after every meal in our home. As soon as a meal is finished everyone begins the task of cleaning up. There is satisfaction in walking out of the kitchen knowing that everything is washed, dried and put away.
Get Rid of the Clutter
In our kitchen, we have very little on the counters. It seems that anything close to the sink can take up to much space and make hand washing dishes more difficult. It also takes time to wipe down items close to the sink that may become dirty or get wet while working.
Make it Beautiful
In living life without a dishwasher, I believe in making the task of hand washing dishes beautiful. This can be done by using wooden brushes for scrubbing dishes, having a pretty dish drainer, and using special linen towels for drying the dishes.
On the back edge of my sink, I have a vintage cheese box that I use to hold the hand/dish soap in a pretty pump jar. I also store some of scrubbing brushes and ocassionally a bouquet of flowers from the garden.
It may seem like simple touches, but it makes a difference in the way that I view my daily tasks.
Essentials for Life Without a Dishwasher
Aesthetically, I prefer to use a wooden dish rack or a vintage metal one. Wooden dish racks are nice, because most of them will fold up and can be put away when not in use.
Recently, I purchased a vintage metal dish rack which is more of a primitive style. My metal dish drainer is from eBay. To find one similar, try searching for these words:
I really like the metal and wood style of the vintage dish racks. However, one of the draw backs is many of them don’t have a bottom drainboard.
In our home, I layer a linen towel over the top of a dish drying mat. Then, those are layered over the top of a wooden cutting board. It is very important to hand dry the dishes right away if using this method. Otherwise, the towels begin to smell and the cutting board can warp.
Once, the dishes are hand dried, I put them away. Then, I hang the linen towels to dry on a wall mounted drying rack.
Wooden Scrub Brushes
Using a long-handled wooden dish brush is wonderful for cleaning dishes and pots. Not only are they functional in the kitchen, the wood scrub brushes look beautiful stored on the counters. It’s the perfect match for where function meets aesthetcally pleasing.
Linen Hand Towels
Linen towels are my go-to towels for drying dishes because they are inherently anti-microbial, and stay fresh longer because it dries quickly. Towels made of linen are able absorb water without leaving behind lint on plastic, glass, and crystal.
In our home, my special linen towels are stored in a pretty antique basket that sits on the shelf. Again, this is where making housework more beautiful than it has to be, makes the task more enjoyable.
I love all-natural dish soaps that have a pleasant aroma and that often double as our hand soap in the kitchen. Instead of storing our dish soap under the counter, I like keeping it in a pretty jar in the vintage wooden cheese box that sits on the back of the counter by our kitchen faucet.
Living life without a dishwasher does not have to be a dreaded daily task. With a few easy, simple tips, it can become a task that is enjoyed.
I value homemaking. While taking the extra steps to create a beautiful space to work in may seem insignificant, I believe that it has a profound meaning to my family. I find joy in working in my home, for those that I love.
I hope this post inspires you. Whether you wash dishes by hand or whether you prefer to use a dishwasher to create a beautiful enjoyable space in your home.