Delving the Mysteries of the Dishwasher

Is there any household appliance less trusted but more relied on than the dishwasher?

This thought came to me this morning as I was loading the breakfast dishes. We don’t, of course, put dirty dishes into our dishwasher, as that would be an abomination. Who knows what goes on inside of those things? They can’t possible work. I mean, you put the detergent into a little compartment in the door, and you might even put other stuff into a depression in that same door, and it all just drips or falls to the bottom of the machine when you close the door. So, what good is that? How does the dishwashing mechanism reconstruct the detergent in order to apply it to the dishes? No one knows.

Even How Stuff Works draws a blank when you ask about dishwashers. Doesn’t this worry anyone? Besides me, that is?

Anyway, we’ve come to an understanding with our dishwasher. We’ll put nothing but clean dishes in it, and it, in turn, will give them back no less clean. This arrangement seems to be pleasing to all concerned, and I recommend it to you.

Here’s another thing I’ve noticed, as long as we’re in the general vicinity of dishwashers. Our household uses more spoons — many more — than any other kitchen utensil. This morning, we used five (5) spoons for breakfast…and there are just two of us (on a good day).

This must not be a surprise to the utensil industry, however, as our set of “stainless” (isn’t that how you refer to your collective everyday eating utensils?) comes with more spoons than any other type (unless you add the number of short forks and long forks, but that’s not really apples and apples). Lucky for us.

Then there’s the rather annoying issue of glass- and plasticware with concave bottoms. It irks me to no end to have to dry every glass in the dishwasher again, because each one collected its own personal puddle. (Say, is a “plastic glass” an oxymoron?) So what we have is the situation where we have to wash our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and we have to dry them after taking them out. I think if we’d known in advance how this was going to work, we might have elected just to have a teenager, instead.

Finally, here’s a tip. Put your utensils in the dishwasher with the business end sticking up, except for pointy knives, which should have the sticking end pointing down. This seems to be counterintuitive to some people (well, not the knife part, surely), but…trust me on this…it works better this way.

8 comments

  1. Great minds think alike….and travel in Oldsmobiles and Corvettes.
    I concur completely with your dissertation on dishwashers……plus, ours just yesterday refused to drain sending water all over the floor. Just refused, out of the blue…..one day it works perfectly, the next Blooey…no draining.
    And your comments about the indentations on the bottom of glasses and mugs was spot on. And…..you wouldn’t believe the amount of utensils that are used on Bedford Dr. now that there are three of us. There have been many “discussion” about using one spoon to stir the coffee, then getting another right away to eat cereral……must be a guy thing!

  2. Same deal here. We clean our dishes before we clean our dishes. We use more spoons than anything else. I hate gathered water on dishwasher washed dishes.
    Also, wouldn’t a “plastic glass” just be considered a “cup”?

  3. Well, I’ve ridden in a Corvette exactly once in my lifetime, and driven one exactly once. But I know what you mean!
    My condolences regarding your dishwasher woes. Don’t rule out the sacrifice of a chicken to appease the unholy spirits who obviously rule those contraptions.

  4. Jared, I think this whole glasses/cups/mugs taxonomy is ripe for further study and discussion. These are issues which we ignore at our own peril.

  5. “Is there any household appliance less trusted but more relied on than the dishwasher?”
    Of course! The television!
    If the dishwasher breaks down, the family is inconvenienced, true. They have to start washing their dishes the same way poor people do in some backwards, third-world nation: with hot and cold running water delivered right to their faucet, a variable function spra, attachment, and a name-brand liquid soap that’s tough on grease while gentle on hands.
    But if thetelevision breaks…
    Now that’s a catastrophe!
    It’s not lost on me that cable programming services are now regulated no differently than other essential services like water, heat, and electicity.
    If most families had to choose between having cable TV or a dishwasher, the latter would come in a distant second. In my case, I have neither.
    Well, technically, that’s not correct. The previous owner installed a dishwasher. I won’t use it. I reason that if I have to rinse down everything before the dishwasher plays at cleaning them, I’ll do the job myself since I’ve already done half of it.
    Sure, it takes a bit more time, but I don’t have dishwasher spots on my glasses and silverware, either.

  6. “Is there any household appliance less trusted but more relied on than the dishwasher?”
    Of course! The television!

    Mr. Freen, I’m sticking to my guns on this one. True, the TV is relied on more, but it’s also the recipient of implicit trust, both as to function and — unfortunately — content.
    We don’t believe that the dishwasher can or will do the job which we’ve entrusted to it, and thus we take matters into our own hands (literally), while (most of us) still then rely on it to go through the motions. However, we switch off our minds as we switch on the television, because we know that it will do exactly what we “need” it to do.
    The fact that you still have a TV, even without cable, proves that you trust it more than a dishwasher! 😉

  7. You’ve made a solid point on the television being implicitly trusted more, Eric.
    In my case, I don’t trust the TV (as in a receiver of external content or the content it recieves) any more than the dishwasher.
    Unlike the dishwasher, the television simply performs an activity I can’t do myself. All it needs to do is receive UHF and VHF signals for the weather in the winter and the “news” in a crisis.
    Even then, its performance is directly influenced by whether my mad-scientist next door neighbor (who IS Dr. Frahnk -en – shteen) is doing something in his basement that will louse up the signal. So, in that sense, I don’t trust the TV to do its job because sometimes it can’t through no fault of its own. I won’t know if it can do its job until I turn it on. As for trusting TV to provide expected content…
    *guffaws* Heck, my dishwasher provides more utility on a daily basis as I use its oven-sized space to store extra pots and pans.
    I wish I was kidding. Every Monday night in the winter one local television station will have a football game on, no matter what. There’s an impending blizzard, the snow is already piling up, forecasters are projecting over two feet of heavy snow, there’s a severe travel advisory and what’s more important?
    The 11pm news and weather or broadcasting a bunch of goons running around after a football uninterrupted (except for those vital SUV commercials)?
    You guessed it! Football!
    So when it comes down to it, I can’t even trust the TV to procure the expected content or the utility of the content when it does (granted, again, through no fault of its own). At least the dishwasher will probably make a half-hearted attempt at spraying water over everything in it.

  8. Eric, I purchased two (that means I owned three) dishwashers in Midland. The third was a Maytag, and it was so good at cleaning dirty (!) dishes, I always called it the Maytag. “Put the dishes in the Maytag.” or “Could you empty the Maytag, please?” Of course, the 1/2 cup of vinegar is essential in Midland, unless you substitute citric acid. But if you want to have a device that takes dirty dishes and cleans them, get a Maytag.
    Sorry, can’t do anything about concave cups that collect water.

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