Episode 608: Started from the Bottom Rack and Now We’re Here

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we discuss the theory and practice of how to load a dishwasher correctly.

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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather give a close reading to a fundamental but often overlooked text of Santanachote, entitled “How to Load a Dishwasher: Doing it right helps your dishes come out squeaky clean every time,” and consider the implications for ethics, metaphysics, and ontology.

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2 Comments on “Episode 608: Started from the Bottom Rack and Now We’re Here”

  1. Margo #

    Your episode could not be more timely or relevant. Twice have I been confronted with the Trails of the dreaded Bosch E24 error message, a harbinger of clogginess not referenced in the sacred text of the owner’s manual, but only discovered through a Google Quest. The culprit in each case were a couple of lemon pits. Removing the offending pits took some surgery with pliers, tweezers and turning the circuit breaker on and off. The moral: NEVER put your lemon juicer or any other juicer involving pits in the dishwasher.

    I learned how to fix the dishwasher thanks to a generous appliance expert on You Tube. I have determined that You Tube contains the answer to most if not all of life’s mysteries, and is one example of the internet doing what it was originally designed to do, although that is a whole other discussion.

    To make myself sound old, they just don’t make things like they used to. My Mom bought her dishwasher in the 90’s and it has never given here a second of grief. Or perhaps she is just better at pre-rinsing than I.

    Does the Consumer Reports article advice against putting a glass measuring cup in the dishwasher? The numbers on the side can be scoured off over time.

    Zooming out to the largely question of the morality of hand-washing dishes (an act of unbearable drudgery) versus the Dishwasher, I humbly refer you to the following: https://www.treehugger.com/green-home/whats-better-dishwasher-or-sink.html

    Anti-rinse agent, Data. Anti-rinse agent!


  2. John C Member #

    What strikes me amusing about the article–and this is a dig at society, rather than Santanachote–that anybody would imagine there’s some alternative scheme to loading a dishwasher. Like, I’m not going to judge anybody morally for standing a glass upright on the top rack so that it can’t be cleaned but will collect waste water or placing knives blade-up, because that’s between you and your health insurer, but I’m definitely going to judge that person’s deductive abilities.

    Or maybe I over-analyze things like that. But it seems like those “how this person bought a house and retired early” articles, where the “gimmick” is that–shocker!–they had a lot of support and a high income.

    Overall, though, a lot of this conversation reminds me of an old discussion around feng shui. The premise–I forget if it was a book, article, or speaker–was that the design philosophy revolved around dragons passing through the space, something I can’t authenticate at all and may well be super-racist New Age nonsense presuming that anything east-Asian must involve dragons. Those extreme caveats aside, visualizing your space as if an enormous serpent might be rooming with you makes it easy to lay things out so that people can navigate when impaired in some way or carrying large objects. In the same way, visualizing the necessary flow of water (bottom up, then back down) makes it pretty obvious where most objects need to be in the dishwasher.

    Honestly, someone should probably make dishwasher walls out of something transparent, so that you can see when and how you’re screwing it up…


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