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A stylish & hygienic affair

Susheela Srinivas, November 20, 2015
best results For maximum efficiency, run the dishwasher on a full load.
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. It was one such necessity that prompted a well-to-do lady, Josephine Garis Cochrane, to invent something to wash her precious chinaware in, without depending on manual help.

Apparently, she was vexed with her maids for chipping her crockery while washing them. Being an affluent woman, entertaining was important for her. So, she made up her mind and promptly invented the dishwasher. The modern-day household is forever in debt of this enterprising lady, who has made the daunting task of cleaning the dishes an easy, stylish and hygienic affair.

Due to its hygienic cleaning, dishwashers are mandatory cleaning devices in hospital canteens and restaurants. Modern modular kitchens are also designed and fitted with dishwashers. For the present-day household, dependence on manual help for heavy duty works is dwindling. When the statistics and economics are worked out, it begins to make sense to invest in appliances, which are more dependable. If you are willing to shell out anywhere from Rs 25,00 to Rs 80,00, here’s a machine that can make life easy.

Novel appeal

A decade ago, dishwashers were a novelty. It has slowly entered the Indian market and today, the markets are flooded with various models, leaving you spoilt for choice. Considered to be a must have in the modern kitchen, this appliance has more to offer than meets the eye; not to forget, it’s a boon in terms of saving time and effort. In fact, most modular kitchens come with these fitments or they make provisions in the design of the kitchen to incorporate a dishwasher.

So, what exactly is a dishwasher? Unlike manual washing, which relies largely on physical scrubbing to remove soiling, a mechanical dishwasher sprays hot water (typically between 40 and 75 degrees) on the soiled dishes. A mix of water and detergent is circulated by a pump. It is rugged in construction — you can even take a peek at the level of cleaning while it is running! It relies on mechanical action to mix, and circulate water and detergent to all parts of the dishes. This ensures loosening and cleaning off of the soiled dishes.

Then similar action is followed to rinse the dishes. Again, all the dirty water is pumped out and rinsing is done. Another feature of these machines is the drying of dishes. You don’t have to bother to wipe a load of wet dishes or place them in draining baskets before stacking them. The drying is done by steam and hot air method so that at the end of the cycle, your dishes come out squeaky clean and dry, ready to be stored away directly.

Automatic dishwashers are known to vary in their design of the washing systems. There are water-spraying jets and towers positioned inside the washing cabin to give optimum output. However, the best results are obtained when these appliances are used with the specially formulated detergents and rinsing agents. Care should be taken to ensure the dishes are loaded properly.

With these two precautions, you can enjoy hassle-free cleaning of your dishes. The only prerequisite for this machine is the use of soft water. There is no need to fret as there is a salt compartment in the machine that takes care of this. Periodically fill this with dishwasher salt and the water is softened to the required level before every cycle. There is rinse aid slot too to enable squeaky clean rinsing and drying without water spots.

The good news

A major chunk of the dishes can be washed at one go in less than an hour. Another major advantage is the minimal use of water. While doing the dishes manually, we tend to run the tap during washing and rinsing. This takes up a lot of water. Whereas in a machine, only fixed quantities of water are used. There is a huge amount of saving as far as water consumption is concerned. In a dishwasher, several small fills of water are taken to accomplish washing and rinsing. It does not fill completely like a washing machine. Depending on the programme of wash chosen, this consumption can be further altered.

The next point of debate is the electrical consumption. One complete cycle takes up less than a unit of power. Since most of the energy consumed goes into heating the water, a small plumbing variation can ensure that this too is brought down considerably. The water inlet can be connected to common hot water source such as the solar heater. The machine runs from this temperature onwards. Speak to the machine installation team and get the required plumbing done to further save on power. You will gain many a brownie point in the carbon footprint department.

Another tip to reduce power consumption is to choose a cycle without the drying phase. Of course, this is suitable for daily use cookware. Leave the washer door slightly ajar to facilitate air drying once the wash and rinse cycles are done. There is some amount of steam left in the chamber due to the hot water, which aids the drying.

Dos and don’ts

Before you start using your newly-installed dishwasher, here are some pointers to help you get started:

Use only the prescribed washing detergents and rinsing aids. Otherwise, there is a possibility of damaging the washer. This is imperative as the detergent produces low suds (foam) for efficient cleaning. If regular detergent is used the chamber may overflow with the foam, impeding the de-greasing and washing.

For maximum efficiency, run the machine on full load. Do not overuse the detergent.

Delicate dishes and heat-resistant plastic ware should always be placed on the top rack.

For heavily-greased and charred dishes, it is helpful to manually rinse and lightly scrub before loading in the washer. This gives better results.

Periodically clean the machine by running empty cycles without any detergent. Instead, add a cup of vinegar, lemon juice or orange juice crystals to sanitise and keep the washer sparkling.

Most regular use cookware can be put in the dishwasher. However, some cookware — such as delicately designed and enamelled wares — may not be dishwasher-safe. It’s important to follow the washing instructions on the cookware labels.

Cast iron, brass and copperware dishes are not suitable for dishwashers. Wooden spoons and ladles are also not recommended as wood absorbs the moisture and gets warped and cracks with time. If you don’t mind replacing them from time to time, they can be put in the washer.

On completion of the cycle, check if there are any detergent deposits on the dishes. If so, clean completely before use.

Store the detergents in a cool and dry place.

Use the right amount of detergent as overload or under loading will affect the wash quality and cause spotting as well as re-soiling of the dishes. The exact quantity is mentioned on the detergent container label and also in the user manual of the machine.
If you think that the dishwasher is meant only for washing dishes, you are in for a pleasant surprise. It can also be used for many other purposes, such as:

Washing chimney plates, refrigerator racks and hob grills. They will get a
thorough cleaning and maintenance of crevices and hard-to-reach spots becomes a breeze. Scrubbers and kitchen sponges can also be cleaned.

Items like caps, baby shoes, gum boots, garden tools, hairbrushes and makeup brushes can be washed in the dishwasher. They don’t lose their shape and come out clean. Ensure that these are washed in a separate cycle. Later, run an empty cycle to sanitise the machine.

Small handles, screws and knick-knacks can be placed in a netted bag and washed in the top rack.

As the washing is with hot water, cleaning the baby’s bottles becomes easy and
hygiene is maintained.

Some people use the dishwasher to wash a big load of potatoes and to cook fish as well! It is run on the rinse cycle and of course, with no detergent.This only shows how versatile and safe the machine is.

When not in use or while you are away from home, dishwashers can also double up as a storage cabin.

Once you take some basic precautions, the machine will give you service for a lifetime. See the wonder machine take a prominent place in not only your kitchen, but also your life. You can now invite guests over for a meal without worrying about the maid’s absence the next day. Trust your dishwasher to make cleaning the dishes a
stress-free experience!

 

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