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Monday, December 2, 2013

DISHWASHER RULES - a Cranky re-run

This re-run from December 2011 generated many comments but no general consensus on "The Rules."

Is there a list of official “dishwasher rules?”  I think every woman has their own set of rules.  I am on my third marriage.  I have had to learn a new set of conflicting rules with every wife.  As soon as I learn the rules, I change wives and have to relearn a new set of rules.  It is hard enough for a man to learn how to perform a task, it is impossible to have to relearn new rules.

PLEASE!!  Women, please get together and agree on dishwasher protocol.

Here are the rules I have to adjust to after every new marriage.

1.    Knives go in pointy side down or pointy side up?  Make up your minds, one way or the other, I really don’t care!

2.    All plates and flatware must be scrapped clean before loading.  Some say yes some say no.  It seems to me the dishwasher should be doing this work, but many women say the washer only sanitizes the load.  I don’t really care; just decide one or the other!

3.     Tupperware?  Yes or no? Come on women, either you can put it in the washer or you can’t.  Please, one rule!

4.    Silverware? See #3.

5.    Fine china?  See #3.  Keep in mind most men cannot discern fine china from Corningware.

6.    When can I turn the washer on?  Does every nook and cranny need to be bursting with dishes or can I do a load every day?

7.    If #6 requires the washer to be bursting with dishes before starting, is there a time limit to overrule that requirement.  Two days? One week? Make up your mind and tell me!

8.    Can I wash stainless steel?  I’m told it might rust.  Really, rust but not stain?  Really?

9.    No plastic, plastic will chip or might melt, or plastic is no problem; come on, what is it?

Currently these are the rules I have been forced to follow:

Knives go pointy side down so you do not stab yourself as opposed to pointy side up so the business end gets cleaned.  Everything needs to be scrubbed clean before loading; the washer only sanitizes the dishes.  Tupperware…..NEVER, it will lose its whoosh when burped.  Silverware…no, I have no explanation.  Fine china…no, it will chip.  Why won’t crappy china chip?  The machine must be filled to the brim and then not turned on until the wife has a chance to inspect and redistribute the dishes to optimize capacity.  Dirty dishes must be washed within two days if washer is not filled to capacity.  No stainless steel, it might rust if the drying process is not complete (I don’t make the rules, I just follow.) No plastic, it might melt (I know, dishes have to be scrubbed clean before loading into a machine that could melt plastic.  WTF?)

These are the rules I currently follow.  Please ladies, get together and make one set of rules, I refuse to have to relearn dishwasher protocol again.

Or, I guess I will just have to stick with Mrs. Cranky and her rules.


  1. Would you believe I have never owned a dishwasher?

    Just me and my dish-pan hands,


  2. pointy side down. don't use fine china or silver. plastic and tupperware on top shelf only. try to run with full load but 1 week is my limit. stainless steel? not sure i have any. and definitely pre-scrape.

  3. I scrape plates before putting them in the dishwasher but Mrs. Chatterbox washes the plates so well that they might as well be put back in the cupboard because I don't think they can get any cleaner.

  4. Except for a brief period in an apartment, I haven't had a dishwasher until now (and by now, I mean since the middle of November). I'm still trying to figure it all out.

    I know the manufacturer of the stainless steel knife set says not to wash them in the dishwasher, so I don't. I do wash just about everything else in it though (I don't have fine china). And since the remaining knives aren't pointy, they point up for better cleaning.

    I scrape but don't rinse... something about the enzymes in the food helping to wash better? I dunno. All I know is that everything turns out clean and intact.

    I do wait until the machine is full though.. why waste energy?

  5. I am the dishwasher here meaning I do the dishes by hand so I can't really contribute to the dishwasher rules post but I did read a really cool piece this weekend about Chef David Burke who once poached a salmon in his dishwasher and this year poached his Thanksgiving turkey in the dishwasher.

  6. The only suggestion I can make is to STAY with Mrs. Cranky!!

  7. I'm the Master of the Dishwasher in this house, so my rules apply.
    We don't do that "up or down" thing with the flatware, since there's a tray at the very top of the machine for all that. In addition to which, there's a "china" setting if china is in the mix. I scrape off the big bits, but everything goes in there. The kids used to call it the "Miracle Machine".
    Don't ask.
    There's still a couple treasured beer glasses that I wash by hand, but it's only beer.
    We would not ever consider NOT having a dishwasher. Doing dishes sucks. Helps too to have a really good, quiet model. Ours is a Miele. A bit pricey, but man oh man.

  8. I would normally say leave your knives pointing down for reasons you listed. However if you plan on being attacked by a bad guy while at home in the middle of doing the dishes, then movies and TV have taught me to leave them pointing upwards since the bad guy will inevitability fall during your fight and impale himself on them.

  9. 1. no silverware. if's it's plated it wears away. if it's solid it just tarnishes.

    2. other cutlery is alternated since we have little sections you can fit about 6 pieces in so if there are 2 forks, 2 knives, 2 spoons one of each is up and one of each is down so they don't nest.

    3. absolutely no wooden spoons in the dishwasher. the heat dries them out and they crack.

    4. plastic only on the top shelf so it doesn't melt.

    5. never put my sharp knives in there. it dulls them quicker.

    6. scrape off big pieces of food but i don't bother rinsing because that's the job of the dishwasher. why wash the things twice.

    7. only run it when it's full because it's a waste of electric and water otherwise.

  10. People with a lot of rules about the kitchen routine should not be surprised when nobody will help with the chores. I say stuff the dishes in, add the soap and turn on the machine. If your automatic dishwasher won't do the job, go with Pearl's method.

  11. no rules, just right. she doesn't necessarily agree but after 27 years she's almost gived up.

    i'm not following no unwritten rule. write it down or live on the edge!

  12. Well, there goes my pre-Christmas argument that I am the only woman in the continental U.S. without a dishwasher.

    I should be glad that I have indoor plumbing, and don't have to haul my dishes down to the creek.

  13. Yep...If my husband loads the dishwasher, I usually redistribute. He packs it and puts things in positioned so that some dishes block the force of the water to other dishes. And... some dishes have standing water in their, uh, cavities when the cycle is over.

    I usually hand wash the plastic bowls and containers because the dishwasher doesn't do a good job of drying them.

    good luck... Sounds like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. :) Load the dishwasher, that is.

  14. Pointy side down, that's the only one that will cause me bodily injury. Everything else we use daily is crap so I really don't care if it lives or dies.


  15. "Everything needs to be scrubbed clean before loading"
    so what's the point in having a dishwasher at all? As long as you are scrubbing everything clean, then just rinse and dry immediately and you're done! Saves time and water. Just like in the old days before dishwashers were invented. I don't have one, have never had one and don't want one. I wash and dry my dishes, takes a half hour from start to finish for a family sized load, or ten minutes if it's just me.