No dishwasher? No problem! There are lots of ways to live without a dishwasher. Here you’ll find times and tricks for hand washing dishes without losing your mind.
Growing up without a dishwasher
We didn’t have a dishwasher when I was a kid. In our small home, we don’t have one now, either.
This has been an.. interesting experience. With 3 kids and feeding them non stop, there are ALWAYS dishes to wash. Thankfully, I find dish washing relaxing!
Granted, now that I’m washing about a million more dishes than ever before, it’s a bit more of a chore, but it is still a task that relaxes me.
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Some people think we are totally insane for not having one. How we can stay sane with three kiddos and washing dishes by hand.
I thought I would share some of the essentials for hand washing dishes and living without a dishwasher.
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Tips for Living Without a Dishwasher:
- Wash dishes after each meal. I know it sounds like such a pain. Washing dishes after every meal means your pile will never get to an unmanageable level where just the thought of doing your dishes makes you anxious.
- Go to bed with a clear sink and dish drain. Nothing is worse than waking up to a sink full of dishes or dishes that need to be put away. You’ll thank yourself in the morning handling it at night.
- Declutter your space. While it might be fun to make your sink all pretty with pictures and prints, the clutter can make your space overwhelming. Not to mention, they can get dirty or damaged from the water.
- Try to make it fun. Blast some of your favorite tunes! Dance it up! Make a game out of it. Challenge yourself get them done quicker than the time before. I also like to use the time to brainstorm and plan out my day.
Essentials for Hand Washing Dishes
I used to dread washing dishes because I knew that it was going to wreak total havoc on my hands. They would feel so, so dry and crack after each wash. Seriously just go get a pair and then tell me how much you love me in a week.
Some gloves I love:
- Scrubbing Gloves
- Hot Pink Gloves <- I’ve had great experiences with these lasting!!
- 10 Pack of Gloves
For a while, we just dried our dishes on a dishtowel, but it would get soaked and stink quickly.
Invest in a dish drain to place your wet dishes on. Look for a version with a tilted tray to drain the water into the sing.
Some Dish Drains to Check Out:
- Roll up dish drain.
- Two tier dish drain.
- Dish drain with wine glass holder.
- Bamboo Dish rack.
- Foldable Dish Rack.
- Collapsible Dish Rack
- Mini Dish Rack
One of my biggest pet peeves is a sink sponge that has that gross smell. While ringing it out before you leave the area helps, if the sponge is sitting on a flat surface for a while, it won’t dry.
Pick up a sponge holder that will mount to the side of your sink to help keep it clean and out of the way.
Some we like:
Labeled sponge holder.
Suction Cup Holder
Adhesive Sponge Holder
Sponge and Brush Holder
Perfect for drying dishes or hands, a pretty dish towel is a must-have.
Like I said, making dishwashing more fun is essential to making hand washing dishes enjoyable. I love to blast some music on my phone to make it go by a little faster.
Some kid-friendly playlists:
Good Quality sponges
I love Scotch Brite and have never had an issue with quality!
Scotch-Brite® sponges are always the perfect tool to get your job done. They have
Here’s another tip I’m loving since getting my dish wand – at the end of the night, use your dish wand to quickly scrub down your sink!
It has made my kitchen look cleaner and made my ‘big’ kitchen clean up easier! Just scrub the inside of the sink with the dish wand and rinse it off when you’re done.
Here’s the thing – while living without a dishwasher may mean a bit more work, it isn’t impossible. Not to mention it will save you money. Knowing these easy tips and stocking up on all of your dishwashing essentials will make it not only feasible to hand wash all
So tell me – do you use your dishwasher? Is dishwashing relaxing to you? What’s your dishwashing essential? Let me know in the comments!
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
This is helpful! I grew up with a dishwasher in the house that didnt work too! We used it to store baking sheets and baking pans! I now have a dishwasher and dont know how i ever lived without one! Although, these tips definitely ring true!
They’re definitely nice to have. Especially when I’m doing recipe testing and the dishes pile up!
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
Before living in my college apartment last year, I’d never even thought of life without a dishwasher. So while I was used to washing pots and pans, it was a little different to have to wash plates, etc., too. I totally agree about doing dishes with each meal. One of my biggest pet peeves was roommates who would pile dishes in the sink for days without doing them. (Obviously, our communication skills were lacking.) But doing them as you go really does make it so much less overwhelming!
HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THAT?! I will never understand. Alex lived in a house with a bunch of other poeple when we first met and they were the same way. So gross.
Thanks for these tips! I also grew up washing dishes, so it’s something I usually enjoy. These pointers are so great though, especially when my mom hosts a lot of people, and the dishwasher is full and hand washing becomes less fun and more stressful.
Guests definitely makes dishes even more difficult – it’s one of the few times I wish we had one!
Heather Johnson says
I love love LOVE my dishwasher. We had an apartment without on last fall, and I hated it! I love my house and my dishwasher. I *can* live without one, but I don’t want to lol!
There are definitely times when I wish we had one – especially when I’m doing a bunch of recipe testing!
I didn’t have a dishwasher while I lived temporarily in Texas for nine months. It actually wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The biggest problem for me was running out of kitchen counter space for dishes to dry. I love these sponges too. You just have to replace often so you know you’re cleaning with a clean sponge!
Yeah, the counter space gets frustrating, but dish drains definitely help!
I love that you added music to the list of essentials! Sometimes, I like plugging in some headphones and listening to a podcast while I do chores. Most of the time, it makes me completely forget I’m doing something unpleasant because my mind is elsewhere!
Yes! I always listen to fun stuff when I’m cleaning – it helps the time fly by!
i hate washing dishes, but once im done i feel like my kitchen just got 50% cleaner and i feel way more organized
YES! When my kitchen is a mess I start with the dishes – it always feels like i got so much done!
Lisa/Syncopated Mama says
We have a dishwasher, but never used it – until I learned that it will rot and be worthless unless we do, so now I try and wash at least the “easy” stuff in there. I certainly don’t want a ruined dishwasher biting me in the tush when it comes to reselling this house! However, I wish we just didn’t have it – to me, it’s so much easier to just wash everything by hand as I use it!
That is crazy! We used to have on in our apartment and every once in a while it would have a funny smell so I would just let it run a cycle to rinse it out.
We have a dishwasher, but rarely use it. I am not sure why, but I just don’t like it. I think there is something calming about washing dishes after a meal! Thanks for sharing at the This Is How We Roll Link Party!
I totally agree – except for the few days that it’s just another task on my long, long list, I find it calming and relaxing.
We don’t have a dishwasher in our house either. We’ve considered putting one in, at some point, but it’s not been the time. We actually have to rewire our entire house in order to adequately support a dishwasher anyway, so there’s that. Nonetheless, I many of these things. I love to listen to podcasts while I’m washing dishes or doing kitchen work and really can’t stand to have a sink full of dishes. I wash every evening after dinner and am always much happier and *feel* much better about the kitchen when I’m done! 🙂
Oh man, that’s crazy! My MIL needs a new one (hers is officially just sitting, dead in her kitchen) and in order to get it out and a new one in, she literally would have to rip out her kitchen counters. So much work for a non-necessity!
Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says
I haven’t had a dishwasher for years!! Great post!
We don’t have a dishwasher easier and except for the times we have company for supper, I don’t really mind. I would throw out there one other suggestion: give yourself a break once in a while and use paper plates. While not ideal or environmentally friendly on a regular basis, if we have a super busy day or one of the kids is sick and I don’t have time/energy, paper plates can be real handy for a couple of meals. 🙂
Yes! Paper plates are such a great tip to have on hand for crazy days!
All good advice! I lived without a dishwasher when my children were younger. Didn’t have one until the kids were teens.
Visiting you from the Saturday Sharefest at The Sits Girls
It’s not as hard as people think!!
Although all of these are great advice, I do think the first one is the major one – if you don’t want to have to live with a sink stacked with dirty plates, just don’t let it get that far!
Visiting from #smallvictoriessunday
Yes! The higher it towers, the more likely I am to keep putting it off!
Shirley Wood says
Me and my dishwasher are on a first name basis. I am always especially nice to her and would bring her roses if I needed to. Nice tips, there are still things we wash by hand. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday. We’re pretty excited about fall and looking forward to seeing lots of fall ideas shared at the next party.
Bahha this just killed me. When I lived with my MIL we had one and it was definitely a beautiful thing.
How do clean/disinfect your sponges?
How many times do you use those scrubby sponges?
True, once you get gloves makes washing dishes more enjoyable, lol. No longer have to get your hands icky with food and no smell either once done. I for one have become dependent on using gloves, and can’t go without them now, it feels so icky. Also with them I can get the water very hot without it hurting my skin. It makes a hell lot of difference. That’s the next very reason women will wear gloves. I now understand why some guys do too…haha I’ve seen it myself 🙂