According to my upbringing, this is the proper way to load a dishwasher:
1. Thoroughly rinse every dish.
2. Use an abrasive scrubbing device to remove any microscopic food particles.
3. Occasionally (like, really occasionally) squirt dishwashing liquid on particularly tough areas before scrubbing.
4. If egg or cheese touched any of the surface at any time, begin the process over just to be safe.
5. Silverware: if you can’t see your face in it, it ain’t goin’ in yet.
6. Once you have thoroughly scoured each and every item with soap and water, and your fingers can run smoothly across every surface, your dishes are ready to be loaded into the dishwasher.
Surely, you can understand why I always felt the need to go to the bathroom for a long period of time the nights I was assigned to dish duty. I figured that if I spent a long enough time in the bathroom, the poor sucker at the sink would get through at least steps 1-4 without me.
My parents were always talking about our neighbor’s, the Goffs, dishwasher(s). The Goffs never rinsed their dishes, and apparently they went through a new dishwasher every three days. It’s as if my conservative, skeptical of all things magical, parents couldn’t believe the theory. Dirty dishes go in and clean dishes come out? Sorry, that’s impossible. Clean dishes go in and clean dishes come out? Now, that’s more like it!
My own grown-up dishwashing experiences have followed in their path. My first dishwasher at our old house was a hundred and fifty years old. Every day I expected it to break. I tried not to make it work hard at all. Basically, all it had to do was spin around a little water, blow some hot air, and let out a steamy, exhausted sigh when I opened it up as if to say, “I didn’t think I had it in me, but the good Lord has blessed me with one more day.”
When we moved into our new house, complete with new dishwasher, I decided to dip my toe in the dark side of dishwashing. Occasionally, I put in a fork without rinsing it. One time I put in a bowl with a little bit of yogurt in the bottom. Twice I put in the beaters covered in brownie batter. I was never very happy with the results. It seemed as if there were always bits and memories of what once was.
My dishwasher died thirteen months after we moved in. The warranty covered it for twelve months. As much as I didn’t want it to be true, my parents were right on this one. Dishwashers are not for washing dishes. They are more of a day spa for clean dishes to go to for relaxation.
The other day at the grocery store, I needed to pick up some more dishwashing detergent. I didn’t have my kids with me, which is a blissful and rare experience. I think their absence gave me the time and clarity of mind to look over the vast array of dishwashing detergents. Did I want lemon-flavored dishes, or should they be rinsed in Cool Arctic Rain? My eyes finally rested on the packages of Cascade with Dawn gel packs. I picked one up. I was immediately intrigued because obviously I believe it takes dishwashing soap as well as dishwashing detergent to get a dish truly clean. I decided to give it a try. I mean, it wasn’t like I was going to stop pre-cleaing my dishes anymore, but it seemed like it might be fun to try something new. And it didn’t hurt that these little babies are adorable:
Max really wanted one for a snack.
I’ve been using them for a few days, and they’ve done an amazing job cleaning my already clean dishes! Everything comes out extra-shiny and squeaky.
I’m not saying that I’m going to go all Goff on you, but yesterday I loaded a lightly rinsed dish, for a simple test, and the preliminary results were impressive to say the least. My dishwashing manual assures me that somewhere inside is a decent garbage disposal mechanism that can handle a fair amount of debris. I’m not sure I can fully trust that information, but I’m thinking that if there is help for people like me, it might just start in the shape of a squishy orange and white cube.
Now, what about you? How do you load a dishwasher?