Archive for February 8th, 2013

Make you Fink on Friday

Why I hate dishwashers

This supposed labour-saving device promises so much but delivers so little – and I like doing the washing-up anyway

‘Dishwashers are where your vital kitchen stuff goes to hide.’ Photograph: Alamy

In certain circles it’s akin to admitting you find Jim Davidson’s gags funny, only it’s slightly more baffling. It’s like saying you think fax machines are better than email or that the safari suit is the last word in sartorial elegance. It is a last hurrah for the luddites; an outbreak of domestic piety. None of that troubles me. Even at the risk of having my middle-class licence revoked I am out and proud: I hate dishwashers and I don’t own one.

At dinner parties, which of course is where these things are discussed, guests who had offered to help clear up find themselves standing in the middle of my kitchen, paralysed with fear when they realise helping means “washing up”. Then they do the sidehead sympathy thing at my wife, who pulls her “see how I suffer” face. I really don’t care. For here is the undiscussed truth. Dishwashers are where your vital kitchen stuff goes to hide. Whenever I’ve used one – in a holiday let, for example – I have discovered that anything I want is in the dishwasher, dirty, because it wasn’t turned on. So you get out the things you need and wash them by hand anyway. Ah, say my friends, the solution is two sets of everything. What? To make a labour-saving device work you need to buy twice the amount of crockery? And where are you supposed to store it all? Why, in the dishwasher of course.

Then there’s the feel of plates and glasses that have been through the bloody thing, that sickly-squeaky, dry-skin-on-linoleum feel of the over-soaped. If it’s worked, of course, for it doesn’t always.

Dishwashers promise so much and deliver so little. The only thing worse than a dirty plate is a half-washed one that’s been baked in the dishwasher, leaving skidmarks on the porcelain. Not forgetting those items that either won’t fit or are too greasy for which you have to fill the sink anyway.

And here’s the thing: I actually like doing the washing-up. It’s engrossing, a perfect means to an end. It is the forging of order from chaos; an enforced pause in a busy day. Plus it’s a brilliant domestic task to give your teenage children. Watching a 13-year-old boy up to his elbows in Marigolds is very special indeed. Watching him fill a dishwasher just wouldn’t be the same. And doubtless he’d forget to turn the bloody thing on, which would mean that the next morning all I’d have is a cupboard full of dirty plates inconveniently placed close to the floor. I mean really: who needs that?



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