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We didn’t have a dishwasher when I was a kid. Okay, that’s a lie. We didn’t have a working dishwasher when I was a kid. So my brother and I became the dishwashers. It came in handy when I moved into my apartment with Alex and to save money, we never used the dishwasher that was in the apartment. In fact, it became the ‘dish dryer’, where i would place all of our dishes as I washed them.
My dad and I joke that there is some kind of weird family trait where we like to wash dishes. For some reason, washing dishes and staring out the window is incredibly relaxing to me, and my dad agrees. 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.
When we bought our house we live in now, I didn’t ever realize there was no dishwasher – it’s just not something that was on my ‘list’. Like I’ve talked about before, we live in a very tiny house – a dishwasher would just take up valuable space in our kitchen. Some people think we are totally insane for not having one, asking how we can stay sane with a toddler (you guys – how does such a small boy make so.many.dishes?!) and washing dishes by hand. Today I thought I would share some of my handwashing essentials and tips for living without a dishwasher.
Tips for Living Without a Dishwasher:
- -Wash dishes after each meal. I know it sounds like such a pain. But starting each meal with an empty sink is vital to keeping your sanity. 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. (just me?) Just do it. You’ll thank me.
- -Go to bed with a clear sink and dish drain. Again, save your sanity. Nothing is worse than waking up to a sink full of dishes or a bunch of dishes that need to be put away. While it might be a pain to do it before bed, do it – you’ll thank yourself in the morning. Also, leaving dishes overnight means they might start stinking and may be harder to clean (unless you’re soaking them, of course.)
- -Declutter your space. While it might be fun to make your sink are all pretty with pictures, prints, and figures, the clutter can make your space overwhelming and they can get dirty/damaged from the water. Leave the pretty stuff for other parts of your kitchen.
- -Try to make it fun. Blast some of your favorite tunes! Dance it up! Make a game out of it – challenge yourself to I also like to use the time to brainstorm and plan out my day.
- –Time it well. Another tip for making sure you get it done in a timely manner is to time it before you do something you want to do. For example, I like to time my after dinner dishes for before a show I want to wash – I need to finish them before I can watch my show, so I start them about 15 minutes before I know my show will be on. That way I have the drive to finish quickly and efficiently.
Essentials for Living Without a Dish Washer
- Gloves – I’ve talked about them before, but dish washing gloves were a total game changer for me. 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.
- Dish Drain – For a while, we just dried our dishes on a dish towel, but it would get soaked and stink quickly. Invest in a dish drain to place your wet dishes on. Some styles are meant to be places on top of a dish towel, but I like the 2 level kind where the water drains on to a tilted tray that drips into your sink. I just got a small, plastic version for about $5, but there are prettier or collapsible versions available.
- Sponge Holder – One of my biggest pet peeves is a sink sponge that has that gross smell. It’s from being wet too long, and while ringing it out before you leave the area helps, if the sponge is sitting on a flat surface, like your sink, 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. (TIP for getting it to stick: clean and dry the wall of your sink well, and then rub it with alcohol. Before suctioning the holder, wet the suction cups a small amount.)
- Dish Towel – perfect for drying dishes or hands, a pretty dish towel is a must have.
- Music – Like I said, making dish washing more fun is essential to making living without a dishwasher enjoyable. I love to blast some music on my phone to make it go by a little faster.
- Dish Soap – Choose a fun smell that makes you happy – I like tropical or citrus-y smells, and right now I’m digging this grapefruit smell.
- Scotch-Brite® Sponges – Obviously, the most important tool for the job is a sponge! I remember my parents always having the iconic green and yellow Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges when we were younger and when it was time for me to buy my own sponges, I immediately bought the same. I’ve never been disappointed!
Scotch-Brite® sponges are always the perfect tool to get your job done – they have they right tools for every surface! Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponge are perfect for your toughest messes – from the kitchen to your garage. I love to use them on my huge stainless steel pan when making Spinach and Feta Egg Nests and my big cast iron pot (minus the soap!) when making Easy One Pot Jambalaya, while Alex loves taking them outside to scrub at the grill. My new favorite is actually the Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Soap Dispensing Dishwand – it cleans tough messes 50% faster and I can get my pots and pans done quicker since I don’t have to worry about continuing to add soap to a sponge.
Here’s another tip I’m loving since getting my dishwand – at the end of the night, use your dishwand to quickly scrub down your sink! It had made my kitchen look cleaner and made my ‘big’ kitchen clean up easier! Just scrub the inside of the sink with the dishwand and rinse if off when you’re done.
Have a gentler job? Be sure to pick up the blue Scotch-Brite® Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges – perfect for all of your non-stick cookware, countertops, and even shower tile! I love how versatile these sponges are.
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 live without a dishwasher, but enjoyable!
So tell me – do you use your dishwasher? Is dishwashing relaxing to you? What’s your dishwashing essential? Let me know in the comments!
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