We haven’t had a dishwasher for 8 weeks…

And you know what? It’s been fine. Ish.

My Dad & Step mum did a renovation on their house many moons ago and when they got to the kitchen, they made the decision that they weren’t going to put in a dishy. Dad reckons that washing & wiping up is all part of the social part of entertaining, having grown up without one and washing and drying up his entire life. I always thought that when we are all there and there are an extra 15 or so there that it would be much more social having a glass of wine around the dining table rather than washing up, but still, I do love seeing the kids get stuck into the wiping up, much as we did when we were at his parents place after a Sunday roast washing up with our cousins. It’s the kind of stuff you remember from your childhood, the memories that stick, maybe from pleasure maybe from pain.

About 3 months ago our dishy started to go on the blink. We have a dish drawer thingy that started flashing and beeping at us endlessly for days on end. We moved to the bottom drawer only, tried to fix it through Youtube tutorials from plumbers in Canada, and then eventually one Friday night when I was VERY premenstrual and ANGRY (as Mothers are wont to do) I slammed that top drawer from the flashing and beeping so loudly that it got very stuck and very broken. Rob attempted to fix it and found himself being thrown back onto the kitchen floor with one hell of an electric shock.

It got unplugged from that moment on.

We had a repairman come and look at it, and eventually had a replacement ordered and when we had some money, ordered ready to go again.

That was 8 weeks ago. No dishy for 8 weeks. 5 of us, and plenty of times guests staying and dinners held with friends and family. That’s a whole lot of washing up.

It’s been an interesting time, a love of linen tea towels have absolutely come into their own, but we have both decided that it’s been not too bad. That has surprised me. Of course the washing up NEVER stops. Especially when everyone uses 3-4 knives in any given sandwich making process. But after every dinner when I usually wash up the heavy duty stuff and stack the dishwasher while the girls are in the bath, Rob and I have done it together, having a natter as we go.

And then…well, it’s done. No unpacking the dishy all by myself the next morning. It’s done, put away, and everything is ready to go the next day. No searching for the coffee jug to the do the milk etc etc. When we have had big dinner parties or cousins visiting, it’s been a group affair to get it all done and away, especially getting the kids involved. Of course, our girls will unpack the dishwasher, but there has been something more social about the process.

And there’s this at the end. Complete kitchen wipe down that obviously is deeply pleasing to a freak like me.

As Daisy, her sister and her cousins wiped everything up for me after our pork roast the other night, she turned to me and said “Maybe Pa is onto something Mum”.

And I have to say, maybe he is.
And I NEVER thought that would be the case.

Of course our new dishwasher arrived yesterday and will be installed probably next week and we will back to normal, and it will be great and all that, but I must say, there might be something in this washing up business.

Have I lost the plot and the suds gone to my head?
Are you a no dishy family?
Could you live without yours?


  1. I have a houseful of teenage boys at the moment because its holidays, and cannot for the life of me find a clean glass anywhere. I can’t decide if the dishwasher makes that between or worse, but I think they wouldn’t use a clean glass for every bloody drink if they had to wash them.
    I just collected 12 on one sweep.

  2. You know what I dislike about having a dishy…somehow I end up with dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the rack and either clean or dirty dishes in the dishy. Why is it harder to keep on top of dishes when you have a dishy????

  3. Kids used to complain about emptying and then we moved and turned out the dishwasher didn’t work. Fast forward a few months of hand washing and it was a different story when new dishdrawers installed. Would love to say it lasted forever but kids eventually returned to complaining.

  4. I’ve just collected 12 glasses in one sweep through – maybe no dishwasher would stop them from using a clean glass for every sip of water. Teenage boys on school holidays!,

  5. We did a mini kitchen make over when we moved in 17 yrs ago. I was talked into a different brand dishy than the one I wanted, it was hopeless and I hated it. Stopped using it at all, then after about 18 mths I pulled it out and sold it. I put some shelves into the space and hung a curtain over it so it would be easy to fit a new dishy if I wanted to. Still has the shelves and curtains. We are a family of 6 and I loved to bake so lots of dishes. I think it was good for my kids and good for hubby and I, time to talk with whoever was helping. And my kids learnt how to clean up the kitchen, although I think the boys may have forgotten quite a bit judging by their kitchen last time I visited 🙄.
    I think having a dishy made me lazier, I hated unpacking that thing. 🤷

  6. My mother-in-law is always going on about how much she loves washing up but that’s only because her partner does it all! Our dishy died and hubby kept saying he could fix it for about 8 weeks until I demanded that a new dishy be part of the family. It’s hard to beat the convenience and time saving luxury that a dishwasher affords – enjoy your new machine!

  7. Our (my) dishy started leaking so one day, I just stopped using it. And made it my kids job to hand wash. Each night, one washed while the other fed the dog. Swapped each night. Of course, there was the usual whingeing and me cracking it every now and again when they would slacken off but they did it. For probably a solid 12 months, dishy sat there, forlornly ignored while we handwashed beside it. Then Masters came to town with their shiny affordable whitegoods and suddenly, Dishy was up on a pay-it-forward site (happily claimed by a handy husband who’s wife had only recently expressed a desire for one) and Dishy 2.0 was welcomed with open arms by my kids.

    Oh the dirty dishes! They just seem to multiply beside the sink! I spend more time unloading and loading the bastard, complaining that no one else seems able to load it IN ANY FASHION I DON’T CARE IF IT’S HOW I DO IT JUST SOMEONE ELSE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CLEAN UP THE GODDAMN KITCHEN!!!

    Still, at least I know that my kids have learnt at least one life skill. However, Dishy 2.0 is going down….

  8. I recently moved into a place with a dishwasher after living somewhere without one for 9 years, and I do not miss the washing up! It rarely ended up being a social activity, it accumulated on my benchtop and took up my kitchen space, clean dishes still lived in my drying rack and it made the idea of doing baking or elaborate cooking much less appealing. The dishwasher system is not perfect or without its irritations, but I still much prefer it!

  9. We have been married 38 years. Until 6 months ago we never owned a diswasher. Haven’t wanted one. Still don’t. A huge reno , our builder suggested you must put in a dishwasher in case you want to sell. That was June last year. It is in. I have still not used it. The kids have when they come home but I still think they are cleaned better by hand. Old school I think.x

  10. I love watching the kids wash up after dinner (it’s mainly the pots and pans etc) they still pack the plates and knives and forks in the dishy but if the teenagers boyfriend eats dinner, he does dishes too and hubby and I sit on the lounge and it is my favourite part of the day, just watching them – mainly whinging about who is doing more and who isn’t washing them properly or who is spending ages wiping down benches and therefore not contributing the actual dishwashing/drying but still!! Well apart from the actual dinner time when we all sit and chat (my daughter had a friend sleep over last night and had to come to us as we were preparing the dinner to say her friend had never sat at a dinner table and she was nervous and we weren’t to critique her table manners – poor bugger, as if we would but it reiterated to me what a special time of the day it is!

    • Oh that’s a bit heartbreaking that your daughter’s friend has never sat at the table for a meal…. we always had dinner around the kitchen bench as a family. Always.

    • A special time for our family too – every night! And some of my best childhood memories too 🙂

  11. When we renovated the kitchen in the house we bought (ild one was unusable) I absolutely refused to have a dishwasher. Only 2 of us so no point. I’m also *very* particular about my cutlery/crockery/glassware (although I don’t have fancy stuff) Cannot handle sitting down to a meal and having fingerprints/watermarks/specks of dried up food on ‘clean’ things. The result is that most of my crockery, pots, pans etc still look brand new. Some of it is up to 18 years old and was bought when I first moved out of home at 20.
    I’ve recently started back in hospitality after an 16 year break and the cleanliness/presentation standards are appalling. I swear some of the people I work with have never handwashed a dish in their lives or need their eyes tested!!!
    I sound like a whinging old biddy! 😂😂😂

  12. We recently moved and high on the list of must-haves was a dishwasher. We looked and looked at rentals and couldn’t find anything that we could imagine living in. Finally found a great house – 200m from kids’ school and 700m from the beach . . . . no dishwasher! We decided we would make it work, and while I wouldn’t say no to a dishwasher, it hasn’t been terrible. Might need to get my husband’s opinion on that though – he’s the main dishwasher in the house. I am the main stove cleaner and I do like the companionable time in the kitchen cleaning up together now that the kids are big enough to manage their own baths.

  13. Amyangela says

    Dishwasher emptying is a big topic of argument in my house. Basically 1 week on 1 week off ( because i couldnt remember who was on or off daily so a week is easier. Then it became whomever was on emptying was sitting in front seat . Then when 1 got license and front seat was of no interest, the rules changed.. who knew dish wash emptying job could be so bloody complicated. Its 2nd argument in our household after hairbrushes.

    • My kids empty the dishwasher on set days. Oscar does Tue, Thu and Sat, Claudia Mon, Wed and Fri. I do Sunday. But you should hear them bitch if it gets washed twice on the same day, and they have to do it again!!

      A bigger gripe that I had was who takes out the rubbish after dinner. This conincided with neither of them wanting the first shower. So now, whoever has the second shower has to put the rubbish out.

    • Hairbrushes! I thought that was just us!

  14. I love that you made the best of the situation and could see many positives! I love our dishwasher because I’m lazy! I could live without it, but I also couldn’t haha.

  15. We don’t have a dishwasher but there are only two of us, so it’s not that much of a hassle to wash the dishes by hand. I do the dishes at the end of the day (my husband cooks, so I feel this is a fair arrangement) and then I stack them away in the morning when they’re dry. Ish. This gives me a weird sense of satisfaction whenever I walk into the kitchen and see an empty dishrack and everything in its place.

    On the other hand, my parents have always had a dishwasher and putting away the dishes was my most hated chore, so this may have influenced my current preferences.

    P.S. I recently found your blog through She Sows Seeds and I’m enjoying it very much.

  16. I am a solo dweller, renting an old place that has no room for a dishwasher and I admit I often let the dishes pile up until I am down to my last fork, then it’s sudsageddon and everything is sparkly and drippy and it makes me very happy. During the week, things get rinsed and stacked, and sometimes I’ll get up and do a sinkful if I can’t sleep. I’m often left wondering how can 1 person create so many dishes??

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