The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

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 Michelle

    Good idea. I’ll ring Graham.

    I did notice that the Bosch has loads of insulation, when the workings were exposed.

    I don’t mind the steam train jiggles. It’s doing the washing up and I can get on with my writing! This happens at the kitchen table so I’m used to noise except on bad nights when I have nothing to write about and need silence. Danny can flit with the softness of snow.

    Hi Sam

    This happened to us too. I discovered that the apparently clean rubber strips around the door had a build up of grease and the dishwasher was weeping from the front. One zing of a cloth and I was almost a goddess. Well anyway revered.

    Thanks for your tips. Will try the six monthly spring clean. Washing powder is a great tip, much cheaper than those little expensive bottles that you can buy to clean your machine. The lemon is just the perfect touch. Forget the Sunday lunch gin and tonic let’s use it in the dishwasher!

    Hi Veronica

    I agree – it’s best to invest in good kit. Our’s was the best slimline Bosch dishwasher on the market. A joy. Every part of the beast felt deluxe. The TB is a different experience but there have been unexpected expenses this month and we just couldn’t afford a £300 replacement.

    The TB washes well on the eco cycle – even burnt on stuff. So it’s fine.

    Hello Amanda

    I got my first washing (clothes) machine when I was I was forty! Before I had used other peoples machines or the launderette.

    I washed everything washable in the house. And smiled through every cycle.

    Our first dishwasher was six years ago. I’d never be without either of them. We have a small kitchen so a dishwasher is essential for just clearing the sides of debris. We don’t have time to go to the laundarette.

    HI Caslaba

    I do hope that Sam’s overhaul worked!

    Hello Carol

    Dishwashers like every machine have come down in price over the last few years. But the people who wash dishes by hand have gone up in price (minimum statuary pay). Why not suggest that he does the washing up if you do the cooking. The washing up should only take 15 minutes (if he does it after supper) and the cooking will average an hour. Or offer to swap the cooking for the washing up. He’ll see sense rapidly.

    The dishwasher will sterilise the dishes. Flu?

    Hi S.O.L.

    I came home to the dishes and pans still on the side (I cooked last night) and D cooking around them. He is very acrobatic!

  2. My excuse for having a dish washer is that the bright spark who owned the house before us, put a fake belfast sink in. So I have no draining board.

    but in our defense, we bought a 15 place hoover dish washer. we put it on every 3 days and it uses 9 litres of water. so that is less than one bowl full of water to wash 9 sets of meal plates and all the other bits, cups etc… I am very pleased with it, the water savings far out weigh the electric use… and I am glad that we arent the only ones who bicker about it. Now I just have to find out how to make sure the dishes go straight into the DW and not on the top above it, or in the sink!

  3. Carol, I’ve found that with just the two of us the d/washer goes on every other day. That’s more economical than heating the water 3 times a day after b/fast, lunch and dinner.

    You are reminding me of a friend from Milan who said: “The man who invented the dishwasher deserves the Noble Prize for women”. (I later found out it was invented by an American WOMAN!)

    Try Kate’s advice, or just follow Quentin Crisp’s theory on the Fish Barrier.

  4. kate (uk)

    Washing up strike?

  5. My DH won’t let me have a dishwasher for all sorts of reasons to do with water use eco-ness etc – but probably to do with not wanting to part with the money. I mounted a campaign of pointing out how useful one would be at Christmas when the house was full to bursting and he countered by washing up at the slightest pretext – a strategy that lasted about three days. Any ideas on how I should proceed???

  6. This is so timely. My dishes have started to come out grubby and I’ve been washing pans by hand for a couple of weeks, because it just isn’t doing its job. I’m going to give it the overhaul that Sam suggested.

    And, thanks for sharing that link – what a brilliant find!

  7. I’d never had a dishwasher until about 10 years ago. Hubs had to teach me how to load it. Now I don’t know what I’d do if we didn’t have one – I think I’d sulk like a spoiled child.

  8. Veronica

    LOL, Michelle! Our d/w has a timer, so it always gets run at 3 a.m. (benefitting from off-peak electricity too). Mind you, it only whispers gently (it’s a Neff, the quietest one in the shop). We were sceptical about the value of dishwashers before, but I am so glad we had one installed when we re-did the kitchen — it’s worth every penny!

    Six years doesn’t seem long to me — we’ve had ours about that long, and never had a single problem with it. It works as well now as it did on day 1. Our washing machine is about 15 years old and though it has its problems it still basically works. I think in the long run it’s well worth spending a bit more on good-quality kit.

  9. It was a warm sunny evening, a rare on at that last year when sidney started going wrong ( siemans dishwasher). It was like a tragdy dirty cup and plates going in and coming out the same. After eight years of faithfull service it had come to. That time. Sidney had to go. But after being told it was too late to savehim a replacement would cost £400. That day came. Sidney got wiped downand movd out of his hole. But wait, what’s that dirty black bit? On closer inspection it was a large blockageor DIRT the shame. But once we’d cleaned all pipes and plastic nooks. SIDNEY was back. Lesson- use a cleaner every six months. A cup full of washing power and bicarb is Perfect. And a whole lemon cut in two. Will sparkle and smell spankin. Go do it now.

  10. michelle sheets

    Fiona, did you ask Graham if you could install a insulation blanket around the back of the dishwasher? Maybe a water heater blanket, modified? I’m not sure if it would make you dishwasher too hot and shorten its life, but its worth a try.
    I usually turn my dishwasher on when I go to bed so I don’t have to listen it it. Even as quiet as my dishewasher is, i’d rather not hear it at all. Though, if its a choice of listening to the dishwasher, or listening to the complaints of whoever has to wash the dishes by hand, i’d rather listen to the dishwasher.

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