The Cottage Smallholder

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Dishwasher Dramas

Photo: New dishwasher

Photo: New dishwasher

Doing the washing up was a real bone of contention in our household before we bought our dishwasher.
“Leave the washing up. I’ll do it in the morning.”
“But you always get up with seconds to spare. Just enough time to pour some coffee granules on your tongue before running for the car.”
“Nonsense. It’s my turn so I’ll get up early.”

Many mornings I woke to stacks of pots and caked with dried food. It drove me nuts. I’d soak the lot all day and wash up when I got back from work. Then the whole scene would start again.
“As you washed up for me it’s my turn tonight. Leave the washing up, I’ll do it in the morning…”

Eventually we invested in a top of the range slimline dishwasher. Happy to wash dishes and saucepans, it gently hummed in the background and the rows abated. Until last week. Suddenly it did not heat the water or dry the dishes. In the digital window it displayed unusual cycles which bore no relation to the actual cycles. We dried the dishes by hand.
”I think it’s the heating element.” Danny reached for a dry tea towel.
“I suspect it’s more serious. It’s had some sort of brain storm. Let’s ring Graham.”

Our electrical consultant pointed to a dark burn mark on the plastic that holds brains of the machine in place.
“That panel for my dishwasher costs £120. Maybe I can repair it.”

But the machine had washed its last load. At six years old it was likely that other parts would wear out soon. I had considered going back to washing by hand but with the amount of cooking that we do it was taking at least an hour a day. And the roles had reversed. I was rushing off to work in the morning and D was left with the piles of pans. The possibility of rows began to smoulder.

Graham gave us a very good deal on a nearly new Tricity Bendix machine that he had taken to write off a bad debt. This is no whispering workhorse. The machine washes well but is keen to make its presence felt and rattles through the eco cycle like an old steam train. But it uses far less water than the previous incumbent so will be cheaper to run and it cost less than the spare part.

I also found a great site for downloading free user manuals so now we know exactly how to get the best out of our new expert in dispute resolution.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Mandi

    I laughed out loud at your comment!

    Danny thinks he’s the bees knees when it comes to stacking the dishwasher. And this is a trait that I want to encourage. If I stack it and put it on he says nothing as he empties it but I know that inside he is thinking
    “I could have squeezed another mug in here. Why is there a yawning gap in the bottom.”
    “This dishwasher is overloaded.”
    He then gently tells me about the physics of the DW.
    “Look at the rotating arms.” The ones in the machine – not his.

    I love our nearly new DW. The cycle is much shorter than the Bosch (Cheaper?). The water used is 5 litres less per wash (definitely cheaper). And I love hearing it tearing along like an old train towards the destination of clean, dry crocks and cutlery.

    Hello Jo

    I do indulge in a little hand dishwashing myself. If I find myself in front of a bowl of hot soapy water I wash up anything that needs to be washed and is queuing for the dishwasher. This makes me feel very virtuous.

    Men and domestic promises are a minefield. Danny is pretty good and he is a much better housemaid than me. Hoovering and putting on loads of washing when he has run out of boxer shorts. He also does his own ironing and mine on the rare occasions that I need a crisp blouse or shirt. I have worked on making a non iron wardrobe. It has taken many years to perfect and D only needs to iron for me once or twice a year. I’m happy to iron for myself but D (along with past paramours) reckons that my ironing skills are dubious.

    I could live without a dishwasher but would prefer not to. The DW just takes one onerous task out of the day and any saving on time has to be applauded.

  2. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Hi folks –

    Veronica, sorry; but you should see our kitchen…we REALLY do not have either the space nor indeed the plumbing (ancient Welsh farmhouse set into the side of a very steep hill) for a DW, no matter how humble (but I do dream…!!).

    Also we simply cannot afford the capital outlay; & as our dear old Rayburn faithfully churns out oodles of hot water 24/7, this would be a frivolous expense – especially when you consider how frequently we might have to replace it (not to mention, the potentially negative damage to the environment).

    FN – many thanks for the tip ref the mangolds. I already soak them for about 12 hours; it makes sufficient difference for me to enjoy a leisurely lunch hour, educating myself with the news on Radio Four whilst hand-chopping roots, before bothering with a bite to eat for myself. But I’ll try leaving them for double the time to see if it makes things easier (every little helps, after all!) – I’ll let you know how I get on.

    I’d love to have a DW though; if only because of Mandi’s comment. Tony seldom cooks & although is full of promises to do the washing up rarely does so; thus I end up doing the cooking, the washing up, the farm chores, the clothes washing, the cleaning etc….whist he gravely consults his laptop or relaxes in front of the TV (hence I started writing this comment at 2am – I kid thee not!). I know that for some curious reason men seem to love loading dishwashers; & I’m sure Tony could be persuaded on a reasonably regular basis. So the sneaking in there & doing the ‘dirty & jumbled’ thing certainly appeals….! Mind you, he only discovered where the cereal/pasta bowls are kept, a couple of weeks ago; & we’ve lived here for three years, now.

  3. Loading the dishwasher is a topic that always raises a giggle amongst my brother’s friends as another (male) friend of theirs once went into considerable detail at a dinner party about the best way to load a DW and failed to notice that they were laughing at him and not with him. For my brother, the DW is essential as it is difficult to reach the sink from the wheelchair and he can’t stand long enough to wash up these days. He does operate some weird rotation system which involves having both clean and dirty dishes in at the same time. He knows how it works but when I am there I frequently find him looking for clean mugs when I have put them all away.

  4. I brought a cheapo candy DW about 5 years ago now it was only about £200 on offer at the time. Its got 1 dial and 2 washes ( you can’t actually see the washes now cos the writing has been rubbed off the machine with cleaning, but you can tell by the clicks if you are on wash 1….super pre wash or wash 2 … just wash.) Its got a button for ‘super hot’ 60 degrees which is in for on or out for off ( I’m presuming the water is at another temp I’ve never read the book).
    I have put those cleaners through it maybe every 8-10 months on average and we have house water filtration to get the yukkies out of the water at source but apart from that ..nothing and it still brings up the pans sparkling over night.
    I laughed to myself at Amanda’s comment that her hubby teaches her to load it as its a standing joke in our house that MY husband who is inept at practically everything in life considers himself an expert dishwasher loader and will practically unload whatever i have put in and re arrange it ‘how it should go’ to ensure it washes properly?
    This however does give me a small amount of domestic payback on days when I am feeling particually niggled and I can deliberately ‘mess up’ the dishwasher knowing he will open it with gasps of disapproval and with venomous looks will slam cups plates and saucepans back out onto the side looking up out of his eye brows at me whilst I lean casually against the worktop sipping a cuppa with a look of pure innocence on my face.
    ha ha revenge is sweet best served dirty and jumbled thats my motto.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jo

    I do admire you slogging away with the dishes. I couldn’t do without our dishwasher – it even does the saucepans.

    I just wondered could you soak the mangolds in a large tub of water for 24 hours, they’d be much easier to clean. Can’t think of an easy way to chop them though.

    Hi Veronica

    Our kitchen was designed for someone who didn’t cook. There’s very little worktop. So like you we find that the DW is a boon for clearing the kitchen.

    We were sad that the DW only stayed with us for 6 years. Presumably Graham will use it for spares. It wasn’t a green one and although the nearly new one is not such a classy make it does have a green cycle, which can only be a bonus. We were really lucky to be offered a bargain with a guarantee too.

  6. Veronica

    Hi Jo

    Actually a dishwasher is a positive plus in a small kitchen; instead of dirty dishes cluttering up counter space or draining board, you can pop them in the d/w out of the way! Our kitchen is *much* smaller than yours, and the d/w earns every inch of the space it uses. We actually didn’t bother with a draining board at all, because it’s better used as counter space.

    There are only 2 of us too; I run the d/w about every day and a half to 2 days (you can run a quick cold rinse cycle if you’re worried about stuff festering in there!).

    I agree about lifespan; six years for a top brand of d/w doesn’t seem long enough to me! Not much point having an energy-efficient “green” d/w if you have to replace it every few years 🙁

  7. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Cor, you lucky-lucky things….

    We haven’t had a dishwasher for years (well actually, we have; it’s called ME). Admittedly the pleasure after a long-&-dirty day on the Ffarm of plunging my arms into hot, soapy water is deliciously relaxing & cathartic (albeit a bath would be soooo much nicer!) however conversely, when the going gets tough the tough just want to crash out after supper without a sinkful of dirty pots, pans & dishes to worry about – me included.

    At the moment I’m spending a couple of hours every day just scrubbing & slicing mangolds for the sheep & goats’ lunchtime snack; the girls are worth every second but you can imagine the work this involves. I’d pay any money (within reason!)to find a n easy way to do this & wish I could find a mangold-washing machine….! We do have an old root chopper on the Ffarm but it will take a LOT of work to restore it to its’ former glory.

    In some ways there’s no point in us having a dishwasher. For a start, there’s only two of us; & with the Rayburn on all the time I have a constant supply of hot water – so running yet another electrical appliance would be a wasteful
    indulgence. Also we just don’t have the space: ours is a galley kitchen & although it’s 30ft long it is only about 6ft wide – with no upper cupboards (just a Welsh dresser, plate rack & larder cupboard.

    One of the frustrating things is that white goods just don’t last as long as they used to. A few years ago you would naturally expect your washing machine, fridge, cooker or whatever to keep on going for literally years; not any more. If they last two or three without developing a major/terminal fault it almost seems to be a bonus. So why don’t these items enjoy the longevity they used to…? I cannot believe we have become such a consumerist, throwaway society that we should be happy to accept this.

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