Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

Related Post Roulette

54 Responses

  1. Avatar Vikram Bath says:

    I follow the advice of “Stephanie” from Bosch.

  2. If you’re trying to get clean dishes, then pretty much any way that…

    Ahhhhhhh, but therein lies the problem.

    The Better Half, beloved though he is, does not Load the Dishwasher Right. He knows I hold his opinion. (For his part, he thinks I Rely Too Much on the Machine to Remove Attached Food Detritus.) I will concede that his method will result in clean dishes.

    But it won’t result in the maximal number of clean dishes. It prevents optimal loading by ignoring or fighting against the obvious designed of the rolling racks. They are clearly designed to hold plates, bowls, etc a certain way. My (correct) way gets as many dishes in the washer (and clean!) at one time, while his means multiple loads must be run for the same result.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Russell Saunders says:

      One of my greatest accomplishments happened the other day, when I asked Zazzy to load the dishwash, confident she would get about 2/3 what I would into it, with no attention to the way a symmetrically loaded dishwasher simply makes everything better, and a complete disregard that a Right Way even exists, and just let it go. “The dishes will eventually be clean. And she will have done it. This is a good thing. Do not Kazzy this up. Accept that some people will simply do things different than you. If you must insist that “different” equates to “worse”, do so quietly, in your own head, preferably when you are alone somewhere.”

      Of course, that didn’t stop me from eye rolling how she folded the napkins. But I’m only human.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    There is an interesting correlation between those people who hold strong views on how a dishwasher should be loaded and those who feel they don’t ever have enough time to get things done. I’ll admit The Wife is one of those people. I’ve noted that if she is really really busy, moving that one bowl from that corner to the other corner of the dishwasher-thingamajig might not be the most productive use of her time. She certainly appreciates my suggestion. In the end we each have our own hobbies, i ski or bike or run, she moves plates and bowls around the dishwasher.Report

  4. Avatar zic says:

    I am a frequent re-arranger-of-dirty-dishes-in-the-dishwasher.

    Yes, they will likely get clean without my intervention.

    But they’re also a whole lot less likely to clank around and suffer stress cracks, etc.

    Another reason is my habits of capacity-judging. Since I’m the most frequent loader and the most likely to understand the capacity of what needs to go into the dishwasher, rearranging things to the way I normally load helps me better complete the task quickly and to maximum advantage.

    It is no judgment of the person who originally loaded it, just a habit based on my hard-won dishwasher loading expertise. And I’ve seen other members of my family rearrange my loads as they put final things in and prepared it for running, too.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

      But they’re also a whole lot less likely to clank around and suffer stress cracks, etc.

      I just want to dig into this a bit. I’m the primary cook in this house. The things that go into the dishwasher are my tools, and some of them are very precious to me. How they’re treated in the cleaning up process is important to their care for long life.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to zic says:

        I actually think this is a good point, and one that bares repeating. But, in the division of labor, do you also do most of the cleaning? Until very recently, in my household, the wife did the cooking (saving both of us frustration [i fishing hate cooking, considering it a chore somewhere around cotton picking{this is probably because I am not a food based person}]) while I joyously did the cleanup. In the new cruelty, with my wife’s commute having tripled, I am now weekday cook, and she weekend cook. I understand that she feels her space has been invaded, but, what can I do…Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to zic says:

      I’ve seen other members of my family rearrange my loads as they put final things in and prepared it for running, too.

      And you did nothing about this? Surely you must be made of superhuman willpower and forbearance. Hats off!Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to zic says:

      People who put cast iron in dishwashers should be beaten.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

        People who put any pan in the dishwasher should be beaten, but most particularly, cast iron.

        People who put knives, other than those used at the dinner table as part of a flatware set, into the dishwasher should be beaten.

        People who put silver plated or solid silver flatware into the dishwashwer should be beaten.

        People who put wooden cutting boards in the dishwasher should be beaten.

        And people who put my bread bowl in the dishwasher will be beaten. No reprieve.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I once had a woman in my life, the thickest thickhead in Thickton County, who put my grandmother’s cast iron frypan in the dishwasher. I got it out, found it all pitted, took it to the basement, sanded out the interior of the pan, got it flat again, seasoned it, got it doing right.

        Only to have her do it again.

        I resanded the pan, again. I also told her if I caught her using my frypan again, I would smash in the windshield of her car with it.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to BlaiseP says:

        My younger sprout had recently acquired the skills and tools to do sand blasting. He also has a pleasure in campfires, and we’ve plenty of access to lightly-used cooking oils.

        This has enabled some wonderful reclamations from the ‘free’ table at the dump.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Wait, I get all these others, but why can’t the wooden cutting board go in? I’ve had the same one for 20+ years, and it’s been in the dishwasher approximately 1 gazillion times (probably more than that, it was my parents’ board) with no apparent ill effects.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

        There are plentiful airborne organisms that prefer to live in wet wood. You wouldn’t want your food to be in contact with their home. Do you bleach this cutting board periodically that it has survived all this time?

        It’s silicone sheets atop rubberized plastic cutting boards for me, thanks.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I don’t use it for meat, just bread/produce. Dishwasher seems to clean and dry it just fine.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

        do you have any idea how harsh the dishwasher detergent is? it’s not something you ought to touch (wet) with your hands! Now, imagine that getting absorbed into the wood, and then leaching all over your food.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Interesting, Kim, but incomplete — researchers did not test the effects of silicone sheets, which are used atop the boards in my kitchen.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Here lies Glyph
        ‘Twas a sin
        That a machine-washed cutting board
        Did him in

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to BlaiseP says:

        We just realized last night that our dog has been drinking water out of the basin that my wife uses to soak her feet at night. It definitely seems unhygienic, and I’d love to teach him how to protect himself better, but then I remember that he tries to eat other dogs’ poop and even humans didn’t confirm the germ theory of disease until 1864. There seem to be a lot of things that are not ideal but won’t necessarily kill us.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:


        Are these what you’re using?

        (yes, I know, but it’s a bioactive liquid, just like porkblood).Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I look at the picture in the op and I tremble. How many of those dishes will have to be re-washed? How many forks taken out and put back? How many fingernails broken on the cooked-on bits of food?

    If you fill the dishwasher properly the first time, you won’t have to fill it properly the second time.Report

  6. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    The word “dishwasher” is false advertising. It’s a dish rinser. Yes, it will remove food particles but it won’t scrub the dishes. Those who think otherwise should work around a restaurant dishwasher for a while. Your home dishwasher is nothing compared to what an industrial dishwasher can manage — and even an industrial won’t remove everything.

    Rinse your dishes in the sink. Don’t let food dry on them. If the food dries, it won’t come up without a LOT of soaking, especially anything with protein it in: dried protein, that’s Elmer’s Glue.

    It’s simple chemistry. Soap just makes water wetter but dishwasher soap works by changing the pH of the water. Spraying hot water over the surfaces of the dish, then drying it, will get the dishes pretty close to sterile. So if the water can’t reach every surface, all you’ve done is bake the crap into the dish when it goes through the drying part of the cycle.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to BlaiseP says:


      I worked in high volume food service for three and a half years in college. The best way to wash your dishes, barring a real dishwasher, is to have a very, very large, single-bowl sink, two large plastic tubs, and use a lot of elbow grease.

      And no, washing dishes by hand does not use more water than a dishwasher. Soaking everything beforehand and reusing the soak water in the flower bed is even better.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick says:

        Read and heed the words of this righteous man, folks. As my old friend Dan Hyland used to say about soaking, God rest his kindly soul, “Let the water do the work.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Patrick says:

        I’d say that’s highly dependent on dishes composition.
        I’ve done dishwashing by hand for years, and often it
        was fairly unhygenic and left grease on the dishes.

        Perhaps if I had been willing to spend 3x the water
        diluting the dishes, it would have been different.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to BlaiseP says:

      A quibble, it is not a dish rinser, it is a dish sterilizer.Report

    • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to BlaiseP says:

      It’s simple chemistry. Soap just makes water wetter but dishwasher soap works by changing the pH of the water.

      Most home dishwashing liquids are detergents, not soap. Saying they just “make water wetter” is an oversimplification. There is a bit more involved in lifting the soils from the substrate. There is a heck of a lot of work that goes into improving their performance in home dishwashers, especially as HE standards become a bigger deal, reducing temperature and water use. Throw in a phosphate ban, requiring new chemistry to prevents spots, and it becomes even more of a challenge, especially with cost considerations to deal with.

      The reason high pH is so effective in industrial dishwashing is that it turns the fat and oil into soap.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Reformed Republican says:

        That’s correct. Thanks for the clarification. Blog comments don’t lend themselves to proper explanations. Were it in my power, I’d teach a lot more household chemistry and biology in schools. People are using far too many chemicals — and those in absurd quantities in their homes. They’re smearing this crap all over everything, themselves, too.

        I’m not one of these Granola Crunchers, either, all this harum-scarum won’t change minds. Use a sufficient quantity of the correct chemicals to do the job properly. Understand how to maintain a proper sanitation protocol in your refrigerator and food storage areas. That’s where people are getting sick. Most people’s refrigerators are a microbiological nightmare. I like bleach and water as a sanitiser. A little surfactant like Dawn is all I use in my mop water. All these wretched industrial perfumes are not making your home any cleaner.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Reformed Republican says:

        Simple green for anything that gets heated to high temperatures.
        It’s nontoxic and degrades readily,.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Yes, yes, yes! I keep telling my husband that it’s a dishwasher not a miracle worker and that, if he doesn’t sufficiently wash the dishes before he puts them in there, they won’t get clean. I’ve had to try to scrape well-dried crap off of more dishes than I care to mention. Major piss off.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Michelle says:

        I get this sentiment, and I partially agree. On the other hand, if significant hand washing is required first, there seems to be no point on using a dishwasher. A rinse is fine, and a scrub for something that is particularly stuck-on. However, a typical dish should not require much.

        Is there a trick for getting peanut butter off that does not require washing the knife by hand?Report

  7. Avatar Mlke Schilling says:

    I notice that Burt is unwilling to address the really contentious issues of the day, like “Toilet paper: Over or Under?”Report

    • That controversy has always mystified me. My wife has very strong opinions about it (over), so strong that she’s even offered to rotate over and under every other week, just to be fair. But I just don’t see the big deal either way. I suppose before I met her, I had a default way of putting it on the wall-mount, but I just didn’t. So we do it her way.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        It’s “over”. But that’s because of nosebleeds, and other reasons for grabbing the paper for reasons other than toiletry. When seated beside, it matters not. When frantically grabbing for something porous while bending over, it matters plenty.Report

    • Too easy. The answer, obviously, is over. Rolling action is better, access is better. Both so obvious and so important is this matter that whilst otherwise occupied in such location as to notice and have access to a mistakenly-mounted roll, one needs must switch orientation of said roll. Including while at a friend’s house (they’re good enough to host you; you should return the courtesy) and in public restrooms (be considerate of the next user!).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Poppycock. Your OCD and slightly-claustrophobic friends will thank you to leave that roll tucked under, as God intended, so that its ragged, torn edge may be hidden tastefully behind, and all physical objects in the room remain as close to the walls as possible, to maximize the sense of the room’s space.

        Don’t mess with the feng shui of crazy people, is what I am saying.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Agreed, Burt. Over is better since it improves access. Glyph does have a point about the aesthetics of under, but right-thinking people prioritize access over aesthetics.

        The calculus reverses, however, if you have a cat who likes batting the toilet paper though. Then you actually want access to be more difficult.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        right-thinking people prioritize access over aesthetics.

        So I assume you have removed your bathroom door, or placed your toilet in your foyer?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The cat is not allowed in there. I can handle these duties on my own, without feline assistance. She doesn’t ask for my help in the litter box, after all.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Glyph, for those questions it would change to “right-thinking people recognize the value of aesthetics.”

        Sometimes I wish the US used bidets.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko says:

        for those questions it would change to “right-thinking people recognize the value of aesthetics.”

        Ah, now we see the true ‘utility’ in ‘utilitarianism.’

        It allows one not just to choose the preferred answer, but the preferred questions as well. 😉Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Burt Likko says:

        When Emerson wrote “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”, I think the “A foolish” part was superfluous.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I prefer under.

        Why, you ask?

        Because it puts the little embossed designs upside down. My way of giving it to the man, I’m not going to do what you say I should do just because you stamp pretty little stuff on my TP.Report

    • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mlke Schilling says:

      There is one strong argument for Under: if you have a kitten in the house and use the Over protocol, the kitten will unspool the entire roll onto the floor. Take a picture of it, post it on — and convert to Under until the cat is old enough to resist playing with the roll.Report

  8. Our current apartment doesn’t have a dishwasher, the absence of which is surprisingly liberating. I do have a particular way to stack the dishes for drip-drying, and since I do most of the dishes, we usually follow my technique, but that can be a source of tension.

    When I did have a dishwasher (this is before my then girlfriend, now wife, and I moved in together), I was the person who monitored my roommates’ loading of the dishes. It probably made me a not-easy-to-live-with person. I admit it’s mostly an aesthetic thing: I like loading heavy stuff in the back and lighter stuff in the front. However, it’s at least partially an efficiency for me. I just don’t see putting dishes in diagonally so that one plate takes up the space of three.Report

  9. Avatar Kim says:

    links stuck in mod.Report

  10. Avatar Mrs. Likko says:

    Really, you consider yourself the dishwasher loading expert? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve found the wine decanter in the dishwasher on its side. How is it supposed to get clean like that? Hmm, do tell, I’d love to know.

    And for the record, “…hovers behind me in sputtering frustration when I load the dishwasher” is a total lie. I not only question the verity of that statement, I wholly deny as such actions on my part.

    Such a lovely concept, please employ: “scrape off all the big bits of dead food before the dishes go in”. You write of this as if you’ve actually done this. Oh what a sight that would be! Indulge me, please. I promise to make it worth your while (wink wink).Report