Use your dishwasher as a dish-drying rack

I can’t imagine how hand washing dishes could be a time saver, but AJ‘s friend disagrees:

A friend with several kids told me her dishes get dirty so fast it’s not effective time-wise to have the dishwasher running nonstop. Her solution is to handwash dishes and use the dishwasher as a drying rack. That tip came in handy last winter when we were without power for 24 hours.

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  1. says

    I guess I don’t understand this one. Doesn’t it imply never using your dishwasher to really wash the dishes, lest ye constantly be looking into it and then yelling “Are these clean or dirty??”

    My wife and I tend to deal with the rapid buildup of dishes by deciding at each meal whether we’ll hand wash or just throw them in the washer. Depends on how much of a mess the kids made, but also how much time we have to spend cleaning up.

  2. Serena says

    I’m a big fan of Flylady’s run the dishwasher every night and empty it every morning system – if there’s a few that wont fit, we wash them by hand, but generally this works for us much better than waiting for the dishwasher to be totally full (in fact, once we started doing it that way we realized that it usually is 75-100% full every night, this just keeps the dirty/clean state predictable).

  3. says

    Duane, you understand correctly. They use their dishwasher as an elaborate drying rack. I only have one child, but I can see their point. It’s possible to run through so many dishes so fast that either you spend 10 or 15 minutes washing by hand, or you have the dishwasher running for 90 minutes several times per day. In both situations you are loading dishes into, and out of, the machine, so your only time loss with handwashing is the moments your hands are sudsy.

    That said, I also know several parents who occasionally dry dishes in their dishwasher in situations where they have a small amount of dishes to clean. In my home that wouldn’t be confusing because there is clear division of labor. I always do the dishes.

  4. Jessica says

    We’ve found that dishes are less likely to pile up if we do them by hand as they get dirty, and it allows us to have less dishes.

    We use the dishwasher as storage for my son’s plastic cups and bowls – he can easily reach in and get them himself, and there’s a water dispenser right above, so he can fill them all by himself too.

  5. Michael G says

    We use it as a rack for drying.

    It is low enough so the kids can get their favorite cup or bowl.

    Plus if we wash them we do not have a lot of counter space for them to air dry. So the DW is the perfect spot. Water runs down the drain. and not on the counter.

  6. mamajud says

    funny…my dishwasher broke recently and i’ve been washing and littering my counters with drying dishes….it occurred to me last week..duh, i have built in drying racks!! I dont even miss the washing function anymore

  7. says

    I’ve always been a huge fan of dishwashers. In the past year I started handwashing bottles because a friend told me that her dishwasher had taken the increment markings off the bottles.

    Actually, hand washing is pretty fast, and it uses far less water and energy than machine washing.

    I find myself finishing the bottles and then deciding to wash a few items that hog space in the dishwasher. After that, there’s not much left, so I usually wash everything else on the counter too (by then I’m in some kind of Zen groove). The drawback is I always run out of drainer space… This hack is brilliant.

    Also, I have friends who dislike dishwashers’ energy consumption, but bought homes where they were already pre-installed. It probably seems obvious, but their dishwashers sit unused- and they could at least be used for drying or storage.

  8. Annie says

    I’m a single parent and took to washing the dishes and using the dishwasher as a rack also. I had a brand new dishwasher that came with the house and practiced this for 6 years.

    When I decided to mover, the dishwasher didn’t work. I was told that they will stop functioning if not used occasionally. So we wash dishes once a week just to maintain the new dishwasher – in case we ever need it or the new homeowners want to use it.

  9. says

    my mom uses her dishwasher as a drying rack for the opposite reason – she lives alone and hardly uses any dishes, so it makes more sense to her to wash a pot and a fork and a plate and a glass and leaving it to dry, rather than running the dishwasher only once a week.

  10. Heather says

    My mom has used her dishwasher as a drying rack for years.

    The first time my hubby tried to put a dirty glass in the dishwasher, she practically had a fit, yelling “that is for CLEAN dishes only!” It made for an amusing conversation on the ride home.

  11. says

    As an NYC mom who lived (ie barely got by) without a dishwasher her whole life, now that we have one? No way in the world I’m using it only to dry! Fill that sucker up and let ‘er rip.

    Maybe the real issue is that you don’t have enough dishes or silverware? Consider stocking up.

  12. Dede says

    Totally agree with using the dishwasher as a large drying rack. For some reason the 2 of us (myself and my husband since we’re not pregnant yet) can really do a number on a kitchen – daily. It’s just easier to wash by hand when the urge comes on and stick them in the dishwasher to dry.

  13. says

    Dishwashers use a ton of energy and water, and they never get my dishes clean enough. I end up pre-washing, and then cleaning what the dishwashing missed, and thus save no time whatsoever. So our dishwasher is always a drying rack for us. But we wash every day, and don’t have a ton of pots and pans.

    I have a very efficient sink-washing method–crusty plates stacked inside the frying pan, fill it all with hot soapy water. Put all silverware in glasses to soak w/ hot soapy water. Wash smaller things like glasses, cups, bowls first, put in dishwasher. Wash silverware, glasses that held them. Then wash big items that have been soaking and getting rinsewater run over them in the sink. Works like a charm, and avoids greasy cold-water filled pans that had to soak overnight.

    Oh, and don’t get dishpan hands by using a sponge…use a brush with a handle. No gloves needed unless you have to Brillo something.

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