Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What do YOU think?

I have a bunch of questions that need answers. My mom is visiting every day, we're still having telephone/internet problems, and I just don't have the time to research. Your advice is very appreciated!

*My first dishwasher: I still haven't run it! Is it okay to let dishes sit in there for a day or two until it is full? What cheap detergent do you recommend? Does a dishwasher sterilize bottles and nipples, or do I need to do that separately?

*This kitchen also has my first garbage disposal. Frankly, it terrifies me. Other than the obvious forks and knives, what things should I keep OUT of it? Am I supposed to run water down the drain while it is churning?

*When you go to a walk-in haircut place (Great Clips or Supercuts), how much do you tip your stylist?


Anonymous said...

I can offer some help ...

Is it okay to let dishes sit in there for a day or two until it is full?

Yes you can ... usually a good idea to rinse plates with food that could harden into cement (think grits); or smell badly. But it's more energy efficient to run a full load

What cheap detergent do you recommend?
I use Walmart's brand. Consumer Reports at one time called it a best buy. Electrosol powder usually is pretty cheap ... especially with coupons.

Other than the obvious forks and knives, what things should I keep OUT of it? Am I supposed to run water down the drain while it is churning?

Your hands (definitely keep Andrew away). Always check for anything small, like a bottle cap, that could fall in. I won't put bones down my disposal. I've found really stringy things don't work well either. Don't overload with stuff ... send it down a bit at a time. And yes, run water while it is churning. The water keeps things flowing, otherwise you risk clogs.

When you go to a walk-in haircut place (Great Clips or Supercuts), how much do you tip your stylist?

I usually tip around 20 percent.. tho I think 15 percent is acceptable

Anonymous said...

I like the Wal-mart brand of dishwasher detergent. I always let my dishes sit until the load is full. Your bottles and nipples will be sterilized as long as you let the dryer cycle run its complete cycle.

Definitely run water as you run the disposal. Don't put potato peels down it. I learned that the hard way.

I tip about 10%.

DonnaB said...

I can tell you what I do:

I do wait until I have a full load. I mix 1/3 powdered detergent, 1/3 borax and 1/3 baking soda and use 1 tbsp per load. I believe a dishwasher does sterlize bottles and nipples (they sell those special baskets to go in the dishwasher in the baby sections).

I don't do bones or potato skins in my garbage disposal. Yes run cold water down the drain while it's churning. Occassionally, put some ice cubes through the garbage disposal as it sharpens the blades.

I tip 15-20% at those haircut places but those places usually give you a coupon for your next visit.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

(1) Make sure they are rinsed, and yes, it is better to run a full load. We use Member's Mark from Sam's Club.

For bottles and nipples, sterilize them before the first use, and afterward you should be able to run them through the dishwasher ... I did that for both kids and didn't have any issues.

(2) Yes, run water while churning and then for a few seconds after you turn the disposal off. Don't run big gloppy grease chuncks or big chunks of fat (from meat) through either.

(3) I don't go to those types of places, so I can't help you there.

Carrie J said...

Another Wal Mart brand user here.
I've also used Sunlight with good results.

I used our dishwasher to wash baby bottles when I had little ones. Never had any problems.

I second the advice about "stringy" items or bones. You will get used to the brand of disposal you have and learn what it will and won't do. If you don't have a "stopper" for it I recommend you buy one to keep unwanted items from falling into it.
I usually tip 15 to 20 percent. Depending on how well I like the haircut.

Christ in the Chaos said...

I use costco liquid dishwasher detergent
It should sterilize if you have the water hot enough
I tip $3.00

Carrie said...

Because our dishwasher is cheap-o and therefore not very water or energy effecient, I don't use it terribly much. But, if I am too busy (or no longer have room on the counter for air-drying dishes!), I do let dishes sit in the dishwasher for a day or two until it is full. If you have a good dishwasher, you can get away with not having to rinse the plates much; but if it's cheap, you have to half-wash the stuff before putting it in there. I would be careful not to let stuff get dried-on from sitting in there for too long unless you know your dishwasher will get them off.

I never knew I could talk so much about dishwashers! :) I sometimes use my as a supersized drying rack, even if I don't wash in it.

I heart garbage disposals :). I personally think you can put almost anything down them, but my mom swears you can never put potato peels down them. (I can testify that they have had two or three completely clogged sinks on Easter mornings because of this issue!) I have never had a problem with one, though the one in our current apartment is very slooooow. It worries me, but it has never rejected anything, including potato peels. I probably wouldn't put banana peels down it unless you have a super-duper one. :)

I do actually put grease down the disposal. I turn on the hot water, turn on the disposal, and dump the grease in, then follow it with a dash of dish soap - SUPPOSEDLY the soap helps break up the grease. I'm sure every plumber's wife will comment to tell me it will clog my pipes, so I guess take that advice at your own risk. :) (We lived in one home for two years and did it almost the entire time and never had a problem).

Love your new house!

Someone Beautiful said...

I have my first dishwasher too, and it isn't great at getting dishes spotless; so I wouldn't put baby items in there. If yours is an excellent one, and you use the heat dry setting, I believe they are "supposed to" sterilize. It's ok to let dishes sit a day or 2 especially if you've rinsed them.

My roommate in college put raw meat in our garbage disposal a couple times, and it's a not-so-nice memory! I don't use ours, but when little things get in there, run the water while "whirring". There are a lot of things you're not supposed to put down there. I think they can handle the soft, easy to chop foods.

Anonymous said...


I let dishes sit in my washer for 2-3 days as I only run it 2-3 times/week (2 adults in household). I usually rinse first cause I have an OLD dishwasher. But it still does a great job! I use Costco's powder dishwasher detergent - also rated very high at Consumer Reports. (I don't shop at Walmart)

I love my disposal! I don't have children, so I don't worry about that, but I do use the cover if I have small things in the sink that I don't want to disappear. I couple of times I have cut up a dishcloth that I didn't realize had fallen in there - you can tell right away, it's a horrible sound when something that doesn't belong in there gets churning! I put a lot of things down my disposal, including potato peels if there are only a few. (not a Easter or Thanksgiving activity!) I also put small amounts of grease with lots of hot water, and most foodstuffs that are getting tossed. (Way too much tossing going on, trying to work on it!) But NO BONES! I wrecked my last disposal that way....

My favorite tip about the disposal is to cut up 1/2 lemon and throw that down along with some ice cubes to keep it smelling good!

I love your white appliances!


Anonymous said...

May I suggest NEVER putting coffee grounds in the disposal. Do not put grease in it either. Both will cause damange.

One tip I learned from a plumber: if your disposal blade is not turning but the motor is running...turn the disposal off. Take the handle end of your plunger and put it down the sink into the disposal area. Try to turn the blades with the handle. It works!

An appliance repairman once told me that Cascade will get the dishes the cleanest, but it is the most environmentally unfriendly. Phosphates I think he said.

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

I use Electrosol, which I never pay more than 1.50 for with double coupons. (The big box- it goes on sale a lot in my area.) It's fine to let them sit- if it's going to be a day or more, I'd sprinkle a little baking soda on the bottom to keep it from stinking too much. If I can't get Electrosol suepr cheap, I use Cascade, which is more expensive but I love. I have never had much luck with generics, and can usually get name brands cheaper with double coupons anyway.

Don't put rice down your disposal!

Anonymous said...

I am not fond of dishwashers. 1 reason, because they still have to be unloaded and seem to take the same amount of time, just different.

They DO save counter clutter. However, I always put my dish drain away immediately and never leave it out so that's not an issue.

My favorite use for the dishwasher is to hide things in that have yet to be washed!

Dishwasher comes in real handy when hosting dinner parties, though.

Learning to wash/dry dishes is a great chore for children. It is also communal for family members and friends : )

There is some research about the chemical residue left on dishes. Of course, that's controversial. However, here are some tips:

Mary Hunt at Cheapskate Monthly is an expert on frugality re: dishwashers, water temp, etc.

Shannon @ RocksinmyDryer reviewed a dishwashing tablet recently. Apparently it eats off the most decroded, hardened bits of food ever and she really loved the product.

Now: about garbage disposals.
I grew up with them and they have always scared me too. Mom always ran lemon peels in hers every few days just to freshen.

I just make my own compost. It is so much fun, fraught with all kinds of deliciousness for your personal patch of earth/garden, becomes an easy habit, and great for kids to learn. Go to Compostguide.com or google Mel Bartholomew for easy start.

Fats, bones, meat are no-nos in the compost. Make them into stock and then discreetly wrap into the regular garbage.


Goslyn said...

I don't have a lot to add to your previous posters' comments, but:

I like the Walmart brand dishwasher detergent, sunlight or Electrosol. All are good. As long as the package says it contains enzymes it will do a good job on food.

If your dishwasher has a space for a rinse aid (like jet-dry) I highly recommend spending a little extra and using it. It makes all the difference in how clean my glasses get.

I have never had a problem with potato peels in my garbage disposal. I put anything except big bones down the disposal. Small chicken bones actually help keep the blades sharp.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS run water in the disposal when running it.

Also, if you use citrus for anything, put the rind down the disposal. It will make your kitchen smell fresh and lovely.

Anonymous said...


We only run our dishwasher every couple days, and I just rinse if I make something that will be a problem. As for dish detergent, I am a Cascade girl (coupons and such, and I don't have to use as much, so it works, and I never have that eeewww moment when stuff does not come clean.)

But my absolute favorite part of my dishwasher is that in the top rack I bought a little holder for our daughters bottle nipples and rings (until she refused bottles like we were trying to torture her!) and I use it for her sippy cup valves and lids now, and it works wonderfully, and sterilizes them. If you are concerned, some models actually have the sterilize function on them!

As for the garbage disposal, no meat, not catalope skins, and run cold water while grinding.

Congrats on your new house!


Anonymous said...

I didn't take time to read all of the comments but.....

NEVER put grease down your disposal. EVER! Even if you don't clog your pipes, you will clog someone else down the line. You will. I promise. If you live on a closed system like I do (septic tank) you will form a layer of grease on the top that is not healthy to proper septic function. NEVER put grease down your disposal or any of your drains.

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I don't have any answers, Meredith, but I just wanted to say that I loved the honesty of your questions. I mean, how else are you supposed to learn some of these things? Shouldn't there be signs or manuals?
To God be all glory,

Anonymous said...

If your dishwasher has a rinse cycle, then you could rinse them and let them sit until your ready to wash a full load.

I agree--keep stringy vegetables out of the disposal. I learned with cabbage. Yuck!

I sterilized our baby bottle equipment in our machine all the time. Watch out to make sure the machine rinses them really well, though. You don't want any soap residue or anything hazardous.

MommyLydia said...

We only use our dishwasher about once a week, when it gets full. I rinse everything that goes in (and have to be especially vicious with oatmeal as it doesn't seem to come off at all well otherwise!)

I mostly use the dishwasher as a "sterilizer" Trusting it to get the dishease cleaner than I can.

Garbage disposals: I am learning more and more things NOT to put down the disposal. No grease. No bones. No potato skins. No rice (cooked or uncooked). No lettuce. Basically anything fibrous. Silverware of course. and rings. Be especally careful NOT to lose your wedding rings down there. Or contact lens.

Always, always, always run water while using it. Otherwise you could ruin the disposal (overheating?)

Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus said...

Unless I have coupons and can get the rinse aid free or for pennies, I put some vinegar in my rinse aid spot. Works great! I never used rinse aid until I moved to Kansas. The water is so hard here that you need *something* but vinegar works just as well in my experience.

Green Tea & Kimchee said...

I read somewhere a long time ago that banana peels and coffee grounds are the worse enemies for a garbage disposal. Makes you wonder why even bother when you see all the postings about what NOT to put down one. Basically they are designed for the small amounts of leftovers on your plates, not for the by products of food preparation. So what you really need for your new home is a super-cool dishwasher that has a built-in disposal rendering plate scraping a thing of the past. Buy those tablets someone was just mentioning and you'll be all set.


Anonymous said...

Based on my experience as a homemaker and in the construction industry previously....Garbage dispoal advice is pretty universal. But dishwasher advice really depends on the details of the machine and how hard the water is in your area. To truly "sterilize" you need a dishwasher that has a heat booster function and thus a cyle or setting called "sanitize" or "hi-heat" or else you need to set your house hot water heater to scalding (dangerous in the bathroom!). But if you are no longer boiling or steam sterilizing bottles by hand, almost any dishwasher is a nice way to get them (and random little plastic toys) clean for baby. How long to wait to wash and whether or not to pre-rinse depends on both how powerful your dishwasher is (look for a pots and pans cycle) and whether or not it has a "disposal blade." "Disposal blade" is not powerful like your garbage disposal but it does grind up all the mushy little bits that came off your dishes and put them down the drain so they don't get redistributed all over your clean dishes during rinse cycle. Detergent and rinse aid are affected alot by water. We have hard water here so I have found a true rinse aid (not just vinegar) is necessary. I used to search for bargain detergent powder or liquid but had a great coupon for tablets one time and have never gone back (now I look for great deals on those buying bulk etc). I don't worry about letting dishes sit overnight, nor do I waste time and money pre-rinsing dishes or running the dishwasher twice. Sorry so long-winded...good luck!

Anonymous said...

There are still some things you have to hand wash if you want to keep them nice. Dark pots and pans, some metal baking trays, knives with certain handles.

The baby stuff should be put on the top rack to prevent it breaking down too fast. If you don't have a dishwasher basket for the little items, save the plastic berry baskets, they work just as well.

and disposals are only for the food scraps or other soft things. You can do potato peels just be sure to only send down a little at a time. I do like to put my citrus rinds down to help deoderize, it gives a nice smell.

Meredith said...

Thanks to EVERYONE for the terrific advice. I knew you could help me out!

Juliana said...

Since I didn't see it mentioned, I will add that you shouldn't put dishes into your dishwasher with precious metal details on them (like china or goblets with a silver or gold rim), *genuine* silverware (or goldware), wood (knife handles) or non-stick pans (unless they specifically say they are dishwasher safe). The dishwasher soap and heat will eventually remove the finish from wood and non-stick pans, sometimes actually crack the wood, and tarnish or damage the metal details. We also don't use the dishwasher for genuine crystal items (I think we are concerned that the heat and potential bounding around might crack the crystal).

If you have an older dishwasher the foods that tend to "stick" are rice, peanut butter, corn, and chunks of starchy stuff like mashed potatoes. However, we got a new dishwasher about 4 years ago and it cleans just about anything off the dishes!

The other key to using a dishwasher that I didn't see mentioned is proper loading of the dishwasher. The dirty side of dishes should be facing "in" towards the center as much as possible. This way the sprayer will be able to reach the dirty spots. I also find that silverware with the working side up gets cleaner. (Yes it means you need to have clean hands when unloading the dishwasher...but you'd want that anyway.) And watch out for spoons that cuddle-up together. The water can't get between them.

Juliana said...

P.S. We use the Costco brand of dishwasher powder and it does a good job.