Unless You Use A Dishwasher, You'll Probably Be Having Bacteria For Dinner... Again

Perhaps you think all it takes to get your dishes clean is a little good old fashioned elbow grease, a sponge, and some dish soap. Perhaps you should think again.

Let's say you come home Saturday evening to a sink full of the week's dirty dishes, a bag of groceries in one arm, an empty stomach within. You have no clean plates, and you need one!

Sure, there's nothing wrong with wanting to do it yourself — it's better than nothing?! — but, c'mon. Dishwashers weren't invented just to use up disproportionate amounts of the world's water supply. As it turns out, they are very, very good at their job: dish washing!

Not just better, significantly better, explains Alexandra Jaffe, writing for the Atlantic.

What reliably sanitizes dishes is high heat, at temperatures greater than most people can stand. Past 145 degrees Fahrenheit, water easily and quickly kills bacteria. . .But most people can't handle water temperatures over 104 degrees, meaning those of us stuck with the pauper's slog of scrubbing our own dishes have a higher likelihood of leaving some bacteria on our plates.

The problem with hand washing, other than the near impossibility that your hands could actually withstand temperatures conducive to sanitizing, is that your sponge is filthy and your using it, nitwit that you are, trying to remove filth from a filthy plate. "The definition of futility," says Jaffe, aptly.

What to do? To summarize the rest of the article, there are a few measure you can take make the whole exercise at least a moderately more valid use of your time.

• Sterilize your sponge by popping it in the microwave for 30 seconds

• Purchase a pair of dishwashing gloves, to protect your hands against the hot hot water you are about to start using

• Accept that you will probably never, ever, not ever get your dishes dishwasher-clean. (But know that this is OK, because, as Jaffe puts it, "I've been eating from germ-riddled dishes for over two decades now, and I'm not dead yet. So, eating from them for decades more probably won't kill me — or you.")

Or just get yerself a dishwasher?! Love your dishwasher, love yourself. [TheAtlantic - Image via Joe Belanger/Shutterstock]


Comments

    It's not just the act of scrubbing or rubbing dishes that is supposed to clean them anyway, it's the soap that causes whatever matter is on them to loose adhesion from the surface and become suspended in the water. All the rubbing and scrubbing merely facilitates that action, not the other way around.

    The human race has survived a million years without a dishwasher so far, I'll take my chances.

      +1. please can we stop with all the clean fetish crap.

      +2.
      All this wrap-everything-in-tissue-paper-and-bubblewrap is bullsh!t.
      Dishwashers have only effectively been around for 30 years at most, what did we do for the previous million years?

    This is wrong; you must keep eating your bacteria because they are good for you! If you kill them all you will have to live in a bubble. We did not evolve in a germ free environmment and we can't sensibly live in one.

    Haven't they heard of rubber gloves? I can wash dishes in close-to-boiling water wearing those.

    The article would be refering to F not C.

    Here's a tip: After I make a hot drink I pour any left over boiling water from the jug over my dish sponge to sterilize it. Chemical free and safe for my septic tank.

      Like this idea, simple and not ruining your microwave in case sh*t happens

    Can't say I recall a time when I, or my family have ever had any health issues whatsoever getting sick from dishes I've washed with warm soap and water in the sink.
    But frankly, if one is paranoid enough to go and change their lifestyle based on this one article, they've got far worse problems than a few leftover bacteria on their dish.

    I can also say that I have never had any health issues (that are obviously) caused by the dishes I hand wash. But now that I own a dishwasher I never hand wash anymore. I bought one of those models that recycles water for rinsing and at the same time uses less that a sink full of water. Easier and uses less water.

    Was this article sponsored by Finish tablets?

    Ever had a good look inside of a dishwasher that's done more than a couple of cycles?
    They are truly the most disgusting thing you'll see in a kitchen.
    I will continue to do my dishes manually and therefore efficiently.

    "is that your sponge is filthy and your using it"

    Your - possessive
    You're - You+are

    Guys. Please. It's so simple. Someone, anyone, help me spread the word.

    (Hangs head and weeps)

    Get some bugs in ya. Too much worrying about everything being super clean.

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