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Dishwasher Ed 101

November 26, 2012

I’ve had a dislike-hate relationship with my dishwasher for over fifteen years.  It’s the dishwasher the builder put in the house (translated:  it’s the cheapest thing they could lay their hands on.)

Almost vintage?

My parents offered to lend us money in 2003 to get a new dishwasher, but I didn’t take it.  I couldn’t replace an appliance that still worked…it seemed wasteful.

My definition of “working” might be a little skewed.  Yes, the dishwasher runs, but we’ve always had to pretty much clean the dishes before loading them (i.e., not one speck of food left.)  You may think I’m tolerant, but the fact is, I’m just cheap.

Finally, this dishwasher seems ready to kick the bucket (or perhaps that bucket was kicked long ago.)  Our pre-cleaned dishes come out dirtier than when we rinsed them.  I’m leery of the dishes that look clean.  It’s time to replace it.

I’ve spent the last two weeks obsessing over reading Consumer Reports reviews.  I’ve been frustrated to find that Consumer Reports’ highest rated often have low customer reviews.  I’ve read some of the customer reviews.  Almost every dishwasher has several reviews urging “not to waste money.”

After several days, I left the computer and hit the stores.  I feel like I stepped out of time machine.  My dishwasher is white and black.  It has knob (yes, a knob) for the wash setting (normal or light) and a switch for air or electric dry.  That’s it.

My dishwasher wants to know what happened to rotary telephones

I’m amazed at some of the features they have in dishwashers now:

  • 5 or 6 different wash settings and a heavy scrubbing feature
  • Foldable tines (the tines in our dishwasher don’t fold…the kids just bend and break them off when the dishes don’t fit :))
  • An adjustable top rack (right now, Dawn cleans the dishes that are too big for the dishwasher)
  • A cute little light that shines on the floor when the dishwasher is running (I adore this because I can’t imagine a dishwasher running without me and all my neighbors knowing it.)
  • There is one that touts being able to clean a pan with the cake still in it.  Call me crazy, but I want to try this just to see if it really works!
  • Then there are the choices:  plastic vs. stainless steel tub, 46 vs. 55 decibel, hidden top button panel vs. front buttons, $499 vs. $1,800 on up.

Whoa.  Hold it.  A dishwasher costs HOW MUCH???  And that doesn’t include delivery and installation.  Can’t.  Breathe.

The frugal side of me has trouble digesting the price of all the niceties that make a dishwasher desirable.  The value side of me is looking for best balance of features and cost.  We spent several hours on the computer last weekend researching dishwashers we looked at in stores.  The one my husband liked, because of its great sale price, had several comments about the circuit board shorting out after a couple months.

That makes me nervous.  I wonder why they didn’t stick with knobs.  Those don’t short out.

Sometimes less is more…in this case, “less” is less electrical repairs

I left the computer with a giant headache and one solution to my inability to make a decision:

Can be carried by one person…just bend at the knees

Dawn doesn’t need costly repairs.  Dawn takes grease out of the way.  (She works on grease stains on clothing as well.)  Dawn is easy to use- no complicated manuals.  Best of all, Dawn is relatively inexpensive.  A bottle from Costco lasts for years.

Too bad the kids’ washing reliability rivals that of my dying (dead?) dishwasher.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 7:32 AM

    Do you have a crazy clothes dryer too? Suggest you look into new solar dryers. Two poles and a rope.

    • November 27, 2012 11:48 PM

      I’ve heard of those solar dryers, Carl – they work great until a dust storm rolls through! :lol:

  2. November 26, 2012 7:48 AM

    We replaced ours this past summer. I was a little intimidated by all of the new technology as well…no more knobs, lol!

    • November 27, 2012 11:48 PM

      I kind of like the knobs myself, but I guess I’ll have to accept change. Thanks for stopping by, Suzicate!

  3. November 26, 2012 8:55 AM

    From a draft post that’s not ready for posting:

    “Dishwashers have more features than the cockpits of WWII fighter jets. Most of the features don’t interest me. Two do.

    I want a dishwasher that (1) washes dishes with (2) a minimum of commotion.”

    Our last two dishwashers have been Kenmores ~ one in MD and one here. We’ve been pleased with both.

    • November 27, 2012 11:51 PM

      Yeah, things are getting a bit much (feature and price wise.) Clean and quiet are good things to have, Nancy (those are two big selling points for me). We almost got a Kenmore but changed our minds at the last minute. Only time will tell if our choice was a good one.

  4. November 26, 2012 11:28 AM

    OMG, I have lived with this exact dishwasher for the twelve years I’ve been in my apartment…I agree that it is a cheap piece of….well you didn’t call it what I’m thinking but we’re both on the same page here. I wish I had a home of my own where i could have decent appliances – I totally feel your pain on the dishwasher front!

    • November 28, 2012 12:08 AM

      Funny you should write that, Jennie. I originally described it as a cheap piece of &@$# but decided to soften it a bit :)

      I’m sorry you’ve had to endure the same dishwasher. It definitely isn’t one of Whirlpool’s finest!

      • November 28, 2012 9:01 AM

        LOL So we’re totally on the same page then. Whirlpool’s finest? Not even Whirlpool’s worst;) I’m glad at least one of us doesn’t have to endure this pseudo-dishwasher anymore.

        • November 28, 2012 9:55 PM

          Oh yes, we’re on the same page (same sentence), Jennie! I’m really excited to get rid of it. I wish you could get rid of yours as well. It’s a bit harder to do that living in a a rental, though :(

  5. November 26, 2012 11:32 AM

    We now own a Bosch dishwasher. We bought it 3 1/2 years ago. It was expensive but seems to be working well. We had a Sears Kenmore brand previously and it held a lot more dishes but it’s life expectancy was shorter.

    There was one time in our lives when we had a non working dishwasher for over a year. My husband, who was making more money than I at the time, was the breadwinner, did not see it as a priority. We hand washed the dishes OMG. That is why I have a job and make my own money, because I want to be able to purchase necessities whether my spouse does not see it as a priority.

    Dishwashers are funny because I found out that the soap for them is more environmentally friendly so it doesn’t clean your dishes as well. I had a Sears rep tell me that I need to run the dishwasher about once a month with a cup upside up with white vinegar in it to clean the inside of the dishwasher. Go figure.

    • November 28, 2012 12:11 AM

      Bosch dishwashers were highly rated in Consumer Reports. (I like the light that shines on the floor when it’s running.) Luckily, my husband agrees that we need a dishwasher. I couldn’t imagine going without one for a year. Yikes!

      I didn’t know that about the cup of vinegar, Patty. We have hard water, so I may have to try that vinegar trick. Thanks for sharing the tip :)

  6. November 26, 2012 12:22 PM

    Somehow humans can’t just leave things alone…must make everything as complicated as possible – and as expensive as possible! (oh, and now I’m worrying the dishwasher is running without me…at least it could help out a bit and take the dog along!)

    • November 28, 2012 12:16 AM

      Ha! If only the dishwasher could run with the dog. I’d buy that model :) Thanks for dropping by, Phil!

  7. November 26, 2012 12:45 PM

    You sound too much like me, obsessing over things like features and prices! We replaced our dishwasher and have been kicking ourselves ever since — its cycle seems to last forever, and there’s nothing to let you know how much longer it will run. The guy at the store told us it’s best NOT to scrape all the food off before putting the dishes in, though. Something about a laser that detects food particles and cleans the dishes, which it can’t do if they’re too clean beforehand. Sounds a bit peculiar to me!

    • November 28, 2012 12:19 AM

      Obsessing is right…glad I’m not the only one, Debbie (drives hubby nuts sometimes). I can’t help myself and it drives me nuts because there’s hardly ever a clear choice – it comes down to settling for something that has most of the features or paying extra for additional features that aren’t needed. I can’t wait to run a load of dishes that hasn’t been rinsed first. I hadn’t heard that about the lasers, but it sounds cool :)

  8. November 26, 2012 3:58 PM

    We got a new dishwasher about three days ago after having a very old noisy one for years (it’s easier and cheaper to leave the old one in our old house instead of paying a removalist to cart it’s rattling old body this far).

    We put the new one in and turned it on and hubby kept saying ‘ It doesn’t work!’ We turned it off and on about ten times before we realised it does work, it’s just so quiet that we can’t hear it :D

    • November 28, 2012 12:21 AM

      How funny, Dianne! I hope our new dishwasher has this “problem”! Now if it’s quiet AND it cleans well, it’s worth the price :)

  9. November 26, 2012 4:38 PM

    One of the best features of ours is that it is quiet. It is a Bosch and I have had no complaints about it. You have to get used to the concept that the steam drying leaves the dishes a bit damp But they are clean…..
    My husband is the obsessive Consumer Reports investigator. Then we never make a decision because there is no clear winner.

    • November 28, 2012 12:25 AM

      Oh, I can relate to your husband not being able to make a decision, Chlost. It would be so much easier if the best choice were obvious. Bosch dishwashers were highly rated, but interestingly enough, the less expensive models often rated better than the high-priced ones. Go figure!

  10. November 26, 2012 5:22 PM

    We got our dishwasher via Craigslist … $70 … works great, and it has nobs!

    • November 28, 2012 12:26 AM

      Oooh, I like that price, Widdershins. I’m glad your Craigslist deal worked out…I’d be too afraid I’d end up with something like the dishwasher I have :)

  11. November 27, 2012 1:00 AM

    I cannot live without a dishwasher… yes they are not that expensive and a time saver so you can work on your writing. That is what I like. You are wonderful, and love coming by here. Thanks for stopping over at my blog today…..Doing college and work full time is my time consumer…Ugh..wish me luck…Jackie

    • November 28, 2012 12:27 AM

      Thanks for stopping by, Jackie. Hand in there – college and work is hard…especially as we get older. (Man, I hate to admit that :))

  12. November 27, 2012 9:01 PM

    Your dishwasher sounds like my microwave. Actually it’s my parents’ microwave; it is literally older than I am. It doesn’t have buttons to set the time; it has a knob. The light that’s supposed to let you see inside doesn’t work. And you have to cook things longer than usual. I think it and your dishwasher would be friends. :)

    • November 28, 2012 12:29 AM

      Yep, that microwave would be friends with our dishwasher, Michael. Our microwave is over fifteen years old, and it’s much the same way. It takes forever to heat something up in it, but hey- the interior light still works :)

  13. November 27, 2012 9:28 PM

    We have a dishwasher that came with the house and it is hardly used. I figure I spend so much time pre-cleaning the dishes that I just as well wash them and dry them and be done with them. I am a cheapo – the dishwasher takes 2 hours to do its job. There as a time when we used the dishwasher more than a couple of times in a month and our electricity bill spiked considerably upwards. So, we plan to ditch the dishwasher and put in its place some cabinets. Washing dishes are so tiring, that should be an excellent exercise. However, I cannot convince my doctor of that. Hah! :-)

    Anyway, good luck with your search.

    • November 28, 2012 12:33 AM

      The thing I like about the dishwasher is that it can do its two hour cycle without me standing over it. I see what you mean about the electricity. We’re on a plan that has better rates after 9PM and all day on weekends, so we usually just run the dishwasher before we go to bed.

      The extra cabinet space will be nice (I could use that, but I want the dishwasher more!) Thanks for the wishes for good luck. We’ve made our choice and it will be installed on Sunday. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for stopping by, Imelda! I’m so far behind, but I will read your recent posts this week.

  14. November 28, 2012 3:32 AM

    Technology! I’m still smiling at the idea of a dishwasher cleaning a tin with the cake still in it!
    Yeah, I’ve been through lots of dishwasher ups and downs too and can honestly say it’s possible to live happily without one. Although, we have a great one now as we’re minding the house of some friends who bought well. It’s a relief when the glasses come out without all those grainy bits inside (or worse, bits of soggy bread) :-) What an exercise in futility it is to have to take everything off the racks and wash them by hand again!!

    • November 28, 2012 9:49 PM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one intrigued by that….can’t imagine the dishes coming out without cake pieces dried onto them!

      A good dishwasher does make life easier, GodGirl. I’m crossing my fingers we picked out a good one. It will be delivered on Saturday, so we’ll soon find out!

      • November 28, 2012 10:41 PM

        Awesome! Enjoy discovering its many talents, and all the best with it :-)

        • November 28, 2012 11:12 PM

          Thanks, GodGirl. If it cleans and I can hardly hear it, I’ll love it :)

  15. November 30, 2012 10:38 PM

    Anyway you look at it, a newer model will be much quieter and save energy (yours and the electric bill).

    • November 30, 2012 11:56 PM

      I can’t wait to find out, Patti. Our new dishwasher will be delivered tomorrow :)

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