The UK falls behind the rest of Europe when it comes to sales of dishwashers with only 3 out of 10 households owning a dishwasher compared to 7 out of 10 households over the rest of Europe.
But statistics show that dishwashers are no longer considered a luxury purchase but more of a necessity in our increasingly busy lives and the appetite for modern kitchen appliances. However there is still the misconception that they are inefficient, costly to run, wasteful and an extravagant purchase.
Benefits of having a dishwasher
There are many benefits to owning a dishwasher; Time savings, energy savings, water savings, more hygienic and a lot less hassle than hand washing.
Plus the added benefit of there not being piles of dirty dishes cluttering up the worktops or clean dishes drip drying on the sink drainer- a dishwasher can hide a multitude of sins! Technology has turned these work horses into domestic goddesses.
Based on a family of 4 hand washing 2 meals worth of dishes a day, 7 days a week (56 place settings + all the pots and pans and other kitchen detritus) there could be financial savings of over £200 a year on water (up to 150 baths worth of water) and power consumption. There is no need to pre-wash, soak, scrub and rinse with a dishwasher, all you need to do is to scrape off the worst of the food scraps and the dishwasher will do the rest.
Handwashing equates to about 4 hours a week as opposed to 10 minutes to stack and unload a dishwasher. So think what you could do with an extra 4 hours a week, or an extra week a year:
Take an evening class and learn a new skill, homework, visit friends, spend quality time with the family, read a book, get some exercise or absolutely nothing!!
What can you wash?
Almost anything is the answer to that question! Crockery, utensils, pots and pans, ornaments, toys, cooker hood filters, garden tools, flip-flops, hairbrushes and combs, shower head, fridge drawers and shelves, oven shelves and pot stands, and even your hub caps. Look out for the ‘dishwasher safe’ label when purchasing. You can even wash your potatoes and cook a salmon in your dishwasher!
The list of things you can’t put in is shorter. The following items should be hand washed.
- lead crystal
- wood or bone handles
- antique hand painted china
Plan for a dishwasher
If you are having a new kitchen, or revamping your current kitchen, then plan a dishwasher into your design- or remove a floor unit if fitting retrospectively. They can be freestanding or integrated. Have it close to the sink so there is easy access to the plumbing, water supply and waste outlet, and you are keeping the ‘kitchen triangle’ intact.
There is a dishwasher to suit everyone’s needs- singles, couples and families and even the most bijoux of kitchens can fit a dishwasher. No more breakfast dishes in the sink all day waiting for you to get home from work and cleaning up after dinner takes a fraction of the time- leaving you time for the important things…..
With meal preparation, snacks, splashes and spills not to mention the odd pet or two, our kitchens are a party venue for germs and bacteria- in your sink, drainer, washing-up bowls, dish clothes, tea towels, sponges and chopping boards.
Temperatures above 60C will clean, and kill germs, properly and most hand washing is done at temperatures less than 28C potentially leaving harmful bacteria behind. Some dishwasher programmes will wash at 75C, infinitely more hygienic especially when combined with the very powerful detergents used in a dishwasher. Even economy washes are still more efficient at killing bacteria and germs than hand washing. A dishwasher will dry the load as well so there is no need for tea towels which also harbour harmful bacteria.
A Must for Young Families
Health and safety is a huge consideration if you have a young family. A dishwasher will ensure that worktops are clutter free- nothing for little hands to grab and spill because all the dirty crockery, pots and pans, cutlery, knives and kitchen gadgets can be put out of the way in the dishwasher.
Babies have a habit of putting everything in their mouths so, providing the plastic is dishwasher friendly, then their utensils, drinking cups, bottles, bibs and toys can all be washed in the dishwasher at 75C leaving them sparkling and hygienically clean and safe from bacteria and germs.
Items used for babies less than 6 months old need to be sterilised. Consider models with child safety locks. This will stop children from opening the dishwasher when operating or when not in use. It is easy to teach children to stack their dishes away and unload a dishwasher giving them some independence and responsibility.
What types of dishwashers are available?
Free standing, semi-integrated, fully integrated, slimline, full size and worktop models are available from most leading manufacturers. Slimline models will hold from 6 to 10 place settings while full size models will take up to 14 place settings.
Dishwashers will have a host of features including;
- Height adjustable baskets
- Various temperature programmes
- Indicator lights
- Economy and quick washes
- Residual drying , heat exchange drying, extra drying
- Load sensor
- Child locks
- Salt & rinse aid indicators
- Time delay
- Door opening sensor
- Completion alarm
All you need to do is find the model that fits your lifestyle with the features that suit your needs.
Most dishwashers will have pull down doors but the latest trends are for single and double drawers that can have either their own frontage or fully integrated to match your kitchen units.
Ask any dishwasher owner if they could manage without one and the answer would inevitably be NO. The only arguments that are likely when it comes to dish washing is ‘whose turn is it to unload the dishwasher today?’