Washing Dishes

Do you own a dish washer? If no, who washes the dishes in your house?

We do not own a dish washer and I find that people give me funny looks when I say I don't have one. When we got the kitchen re-designed there wasn't enough space and I wasn't willing to give up on cupboards. To tell you the truth, I don't mind washing the dishes, it gives me time to think and day dream.  It is one of those home duties I am quite joyful about doing!!  However I am not so fond of drying the dishes.

According to my 1933 cook book "New Standard Cookery", there are rules that we should follow when undertaking dish washing:
Washing-up is usually looked upon as one of the humblest and more irksome of household tasks, and therefore performed without much method. Actually it is a job, which requires careful planning, so that it may be executed as satisfactorily as possible. If the task is performed in a careless or slovenly manner, for receptacles become tainted, and silver, glass and china lose all their lustre.
So what should we be doing:
  1. Sort piles of dishes, never throw knives and silver together
  2. Washing up water should be very hot - have a second kettle ready for those greasy items
  3. A small quantity of soup is necessary (soap flakes or powder)
  4. Wash glasses first and dry whilst they are steaming hot
  5. Next wash silver utensils and give them an extra rub while drying so they shine
  6. China should be next, cleaner plates first
  7. Last of all the pots and pans - hard scrubbing may be required for pots and pans and you may need to use a steel-wool cleaner
  8. Never completely immerse the knives in water otherwise their handles will spoil
  9. If water becomes dirty change
  10. Don't forget to rinse items in second basin
and . . . don't forget to have three drying up clothes  - one for glass, one for silver and one for china and other wares.

and . . . don't forget to take care of your sink: wash dish-cloth with boiling water and squeeze, next wash basin, pour more hot water into sink to clean vent pipes and remove any grease. It is a good plan to always carry the water in which cauliflowers, cabbage and other greens into the garden or to throw it down "the gulley outside the scullery".  When poured down the sink it leaves a very unpleasant smell.

My only comment to these instructions - a lot of boiling water is used, meaning lots of kettles being boiled and what of the women's hands - they must have been tough!!


  1. No dishwasher here either. ☺ I don't mind washing up but I don't dry. I stack everything neatly in the drainer & put it away when it's dry.

    The method you mention is the one I learnt when I was a brownie.

  2. I LOVE my dishwasher, prior to having one, it was dh who was the dishwasher, lol! So, he's thankful that we have one:)
    I found the quote from the book very interesting! I grew up in India and we washed dishes (still use the same method now when I have to) in a very different way!

  3. No dishwasher here... and I wasn't a real fan of the dishwasher when we lived at Ian's... I'd much rather get in there and wash the dishes myself. Sometimes I dry them up, sometimes I leave them to air dry, sometimes I get the kids to dry them... Regarding the method of washing - glassware gets washed first, then the cleanest dishes next and the dirtiest ones last. Always use piping hot water and detergent. Oh - and I use Aldi rubber gloves - they are very tough ones and last well.

  4. That's what I need to wear Clara - gloves - my hands are getting very dry. I will look the next time I am at Aldi.

  5. I don't have a dishwasher now, but have had one in the past, when we lived at a different house. I don't mind doing the dishes and sometimes air dry them and sometimes wipe them (depending on how busy I am).

    My mother told me to always do glasses and glassware first, so that's what I do... along with mugs next then plates, bowls, cutlery and finally the pots and pans.

    At first I thought the lady in the first picture was smiling... after reading about the 'boiling' hot water, I think perhaps she was wincing! lol.

    Fun article Jo!

  6. We've never had a dish washer either. On really bad days I have thought it might be nice to have one, even if it didn't work, to hide the pile of washing up in!!!
    After 24 years of marriage hubby has started doing the washing up regularly for the first time ! Never, never, never give up!
    I actually don't mind doing the dishes but we don't dry either. Now ironing....that is another story.

    We always did the knives seperately after glasses at mum's because they had bone handles. Don't worry about that these days.

  7. Bow Tie Man and I take turns. He's more likely to wash dinner dishes, but I'm more likely to do breakfast dishes. He likes to tease me that the way I cook, I produce twice as many dirty dishes as he does. And, I think he might be right!

    I don't really like the feel of dishes that are washed in a dishwasher...too many of them have a weird residue on them. The ease of it is nice, but in 26 years, I've only had a dish washer for about 9 months, while in an apartment at college (university). Considering how often it broke, it didn't inspire me to make room for one in my own kitchen, at the cost of a cupboard. Besides, isn't doing dishes by hand historically accurate? :)

  8. We did have a dishwasher but it is broken at present.
    Till we moved to our current house I had never used a dishwasher. I really actually enjoyed having the convenience of a dishwasher. I didn't use it all the time, but it sure helped out on days when pressed for time or when had visitors so that I wasn't washing for hours thereafter.
    With a larger family and children not old enough to wash up properly I would actually like to have the dishwasher back to help out again - my kitchen maid. ;)
    In terms of the order of what things are washed I do the exact order that you mentioned on this post.

  9. Jo,
    I do have a dishwasher, and I remember saying to my Beloved, when I thought the dishwasher was at the end of its life, that we'd need to get another one. He seriously said that it wasn't a necessity. :) I chuckled..we sometimes use it twice a day with 10 people in the house. But, I do enjoy washing dishes by hand, too. Still, I'm so grateful that I can buy some time with this wonderful invention. Enjoyed reading the quotes from your book.

  10. No dishwasher here, either! I wash and Ian dries. I'm not sure we are as careful as all the advice listed, but when I thought about it, we do follow that general order of things. I don't mind doing dishes at all. Like you, it is a time for reflection. And there is satisfaction in having prepared and eaten a good meal, then washed up and put everything away, in preparation for the next day. Having a dishwasher is not even on my list of priorities. Now my clothes washer... that's another story!


Post a Comment