It All Starts With A Butter Knife


So… last week I asked my dear husband to haul our dishwasher out to the road.  He obliged.  I’m pretty sure someone took it before the garage men came.

It wasn’t broken.  Okay, it did have a hiccup where it didn’t always run water when the element got hot so I only used it when I was home, just in case it decided to go dry and start smoking.  That’s not why I wanted it gone though.

Truthfully, after being so happy to get that thing, I hardly used it.  I can say with confidence that it hadn’t been used more than half a dozen times since I went down to part-time at work… so for well over a year.  I found myself running it from time to time just so it didn’t start to smell, and we used it when we had guests for Thanksgiving.  Other than that it just sat there taking up valuable space.

So, do we have piles of dishes sitting everywhere?  Do we constantly bicker over who’s turn it is to wash them?  Nope and nope.  Our sink is usually shiny, clean, and empty!  Here’s a warning in case I never told you:  if you happen to drop in for a visit and there are dirty dishes in the sink – run!  It’s a sure sign of a bad or crazy day around here!

What do we do?  We use a dish wand.  It’s always loaded with soap and sits right behind the faucet.

Have a dirty dish or cup?  Run a bit of water over it.  Grab dish wand.  Scrub.  Flip.  Repeat.  Run a bit of water over it.  Place in drying rack.  Whoa, like 5 seconds went by.

Now I know what you’re thinking… what about hot water.  Our tap gets hot pretty fast so if we have a few dishes to wash in a row, even over several minutes, we still get some hot in there.  If it’s just one random cup the water is mostly cold.  It still cleans well and is not a big deal.  We soak anything that’s seriously stuck on anyway.

There is a trick to making this system work.  It all starts with a butter knife, thus the title.  It is very tempting to just drop that thing in the sink and walk away.  I’ll catch it the next time.  Riiiight.  Except guess what happens?  I come back with a cup and think, oh, there’s already a knife to wash and Kent is mad and I really don’t have time to wash two things so I’ll do it later.  Or, Brian comes along and sees the knife and figures I’ll be back to wash it so he’ll leave his cup there, too.

Really, it’s amazing.  I’ve tried it both ways.  No one wants to be the first one to put a dirty dish in a nice clean sink!  Usually for something as small as a knife the dish wand is wet enough to just scrub it and then use a little trickle of cold water to rinse it.

On baking day I make an exception and fill the sink with soapy water so I can drop the measuring cups and things in as I go and scrub them while things rise or bake.  Other than that we each just wash our plates and things as we go.

This is what works for us.  How do you handle dishes in your house?

This post is linked to:

Thankful Homemaker’s Weekly Link-Up

Homestead Barn Hop

DIY Accomplished Link-Up


12 thoughts on “It All Starts With A Butter Knife

  1. Sarah

    With out my dish washer I would go crazy! We have 7 of us in the house and I am the only one that can do dishes in the sick(Eric forgot how).The boys are learning how to load and unload the dishwasher. I am the one that puts all of them away since our boys aren’t tall enough to put them away. I like how you do your dishes too though! Maybe when my kids get older I can try that!

  2. Jessica

    We have had and had not a diswasher. For us, we prefer a dishwasher. But, and this might be crazy to someone else, we just ordered a mobile washer (it looks like a plunger). Our goal is to never use a washer or dryer except when washing sheets and blankets. I’m going to handwash them all, wring them out and hang them on our indoor line to dry. And when we buy a house/condo, we’ll likely (if all goes well with the mobile washer) not even buy a washer or a dryer. But we’ll probably make sure we have a dishwasher 🙂

    1. marriedtothefarm Post author

      That is so interesting to me, I’ve never seriously considered going without our clothes washer. What is your primary reason for making that transition? I’ll have to pay more attention on your blog if you post/ed about it. I limit the use of our dryer to only diapers and our good bath towels.

      1. Jessica

        Hey Jena, I haven’t yet posted about it, but we live in an apartment complex and there’s a cost involved in using the communal washer and dryer 🙂 It would be much, much cheaper and at times, even easier to handwash our clothes. Plus, it uses less water, which doesn’t affect our cost, but it does help the environment! I will be posting about it, as soon as it arrives and I start using it! When I do post, I’ll be sure to include the reasons why we would like to use the mobile washer, even when we do own our own house and could have our own washer.

  3. Amanda Turnbull

    I applaud your ability to do the dishes like that. We ended up buying a dishwasher that has a “top-rack” cycle. We run at least 6 bottles a day through it, plus all the drinking glasses from the day. My biggest problem: it’s never just one butter knife; it’s an armload of bowls and spoons and cups that we’ve left scattered through the house. 😦

    1. marriedtothefarm Post author

      I’ve heard of those dishwashers, that would probably be a great solution for us smaller families! I’m not sure if it would work for you guys but Brian and I each have a glass that we always use and refill throughout the day. When it’s dinner time we go, “Where’s your glass so I can refill it?”. We do the same thing with Kent’s cup. We used to use soooo many glasses a day so this helps. Good luck! 🙂

  4. Laura

    I have had and had not a dishwasher also but currently have one. I find it relaxing to wash dishes by hand, but at the end of the day, I just need to get things cleaned up quickly, so supper dishes wind up in the dishwasher. As long as I can remember to put gloves on before I do dishes, I’m ok. Handwashing dries my hands out like nobody’s business and then those microfiber diaper inserts just drive me nuts! I handle a LOT of diapers 🙂

  5. Pat

    I’ve lived with and without a dishwasher…hands down, I prefer to do my dishes by hand. Now that The Honey is retired and it is just the two of us…I’ve found that we’ve gotten lazy, and tend to let the dishes stackup! It drives me crazy. Just recently, we discussed it over supper and we recognized the problem and have corrected it.
    As to HOW we do the dishes… I have a double sided sink…with only one plug. I bought another plug; but it didn’t work. So, I bought a dishpan. Two reasons– took care of the plug. But also, we’ve had a terrible drought and have been on water restrictions. I keep a bucket in my kitchen and pour the dishwater into the pail and water the flowers and gardens with it.
    Now I have a system for that too. I use biodegradable soap so it won’t harm the vegetable beds– for really greasy or yucky water… I pour it in a couple of different places …on the lawn near the trees, on the flowers, etc. You get the idea.

    It’s whatever works really.

    enjoyed your post. glad to see the apartment dweller (Jessica) is hand washing laundry and using an indoor line! Kudos to her!
    I’ve been there done both of those!


  6. Mrs. Z's Wonderful Adventure

    Our dishwasher is dying a slow death, and I’m seriously considering yanking it out and replacing it with much needed cupboard space! I too find doing dishes by hand relaxing (sometimes tedious, but mostly relaxing). I will have to see. 🙂

  7. Pingback: My Morning Seven | Married To The Farm

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