Dishwasher Ed 101

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.