Everyone loves to eat, but no one wants to wash the dishes. Is it the touching of other people’s leftovers? Is it the mundaneness of it all? Although pretty much not a complicated endeavor, it is something we’d all rather skip. Or delay for as long as we can. For some, it might be just one of those chores. For many, it's the worst way to end a good meal.
If you have help do it for you, or there’s a division of labor among members of the household, it becomes an occasional hassle. But if you’re like the families we spoke to, who are temporarily without help because of the lockdowns, dishwashing is just one more burden on top of work, running the house, and homeschooling the kids—kids who eat almost every hour.
Which brings us to the current popularity of the dishwasher, another household aid made ubiquitous by the pandemic (or people looking to buy things in Lazada out of boredom). This kitchen technology isn’t exactly a new invention. In fact, the first dishwasher was patented in 1850. But even until 1930, when it was already manufactured and sold to the public, the dishwasher didn’t quite achieve as much popularity as, say, the refrigerator, which was viewed as necessity.
In the Philippines, where many are used to doing things manually, owning a dishwasher is considered a luxury. Also, we tend to believe anything done/made by hands is always better. And so while first-world countries have enjoyed helpful household technologies since forever, we’d still rather do the chores ourselves, or pass on the job to others.
Or so we thought.
Regina Conducto, who handles public relations for online shopping platform Shopee, observes the significant increase in the sales of their dishwashers. “Through word of mouth, people are starting to find that there are easily installable dishwashers available here in the Philippines,” she says. “They discuss it in their Facebook groups, but it’s not as widespread as something like an air fryer yet.”
It helps that it’s so much easier to find dishwashers now attuned to most budgets. “Trusted brands used to go for P50,000 to P100,000,” says Trina Sotto, who owns one. “They’re cheaper now.”
For those considering getting a dishwasher, let’s break down the pros and cons in this mano a mano.
Soap tabs and two-hour settings
Raebert Santos, who works as an operations manager for a company in Davao, currently resides in his boss’ home. He was requested to get a dishwasher so he got a freestanding Bosch dishwasher for P80,000 about ten months ago. It’s silver and looks pretty sharp.
Raebert opted for the German brand because, well, it’s one of the most reliable brands out there, he says. The guy drives a German car and owns a lot of Bosch stuff so it was an easy decision to make. Incidentally, Bosch is the number 1 brand for dishwashers worldwide, at least according to Euromonitor volume sales, 2018.
For practicality, however, the machine is only used when they have more guests than usual—like when his boss’ family visits. “The lowest setting for the machine is two hours, so it’s not practical to use it when I only use a few dishes.” When it’s just Raebert at home, however, the maid takes charge of the dishes.
Reaebert says their Bosch dishwasher is pretty easy to operate—all he needs to do is load the dishes onto the racks, place the soap tab, and since the dishwasher is connected to a water source, he simply turns on the machine and pick the setting. After a couple of hours, out come the dishes, warm and clean.
One downside of having a Bosch dishwasher though, says Raebert, is that the soap table are a bit expensive. He says one tab, which is good for one wash, costs P50. A member of the Best of the Best Manila Facebook group, who also owns a Bosch dishwasher, says what she does is request relatives flying in from the US to bring some soap tabs over.
Helper’s aid, ipis-proof
Carmie and her family just moved in to their new home. They had always considered getting a dishwasher even during the initial stages of their construction planning. “It’s one of the things we wanted to have to future-proof our home,” she says.
The mother of three says she took the tip from a sibling currently based in New Zealand. “When my sister’s family was still based in Asia, they had a househelp. But when they moved to New Zealand, there was none. And the dishwasher, she said, was a lifesaver,” Carmie recalls.
Carmie’s two-month-old Elba, which she got for P60,000, is turning out to be of great help. Since the helpers no longer take their days-off due to the pandemic, they can still relax on weekends because the kids can simply load the dirty dishes on the Elba. “Also, if I say let’s cook something extra special, which means extra work, they don’t feel bugnot because they know the dishwasher will clean the pots and pans.”
Carmie says she’s not the OC type but she can’t help but compare the machine-washed results versus the dishes washed by human hands. “All the dishes are dry and when you touch it mainit pa, alam mong na-sanitize. Whereas with the helpers, I don’t know how long they scrubbed the plates and utensils, then they leave them on the dishrack to dry and they put them back on the cupboard hindi pa tuyung-tuyo.”
In order to save on water and energy, the family runs the machine only once a day. What they do is they scrape all the bits and pieces of food first, including the sauces, before they organize the items inside the dishwasher. The machine efficiently estimates the use of water, “so this is better than the maid washing the dishes every so often in one day.”
Her sister in New Zealand, says Carmie, runs their dishwasher every two days because there are only three of them in the household. Pero baka ipisin, you might say. According to her sister, the machine is airtight so no need to worry about a cockroach invasion. And she makes sure to clean the machine regularly.
Since they only wash their dishes once a day, says Carmie, the family now gets to use all their tableware that are otherwise just stored in the cabinets. That’s another plus for the dishwasher.
Low water usage, life saver
Trina Sotto and husband Derek had been considering getting a dishwasher for a while because the family never had any full-time help. But it wasn’t until they took a two-week trip to London that they finally decided hesitating is no longer an option.
“I was surprised at how mobile we were during that trip, and got to go sightseeing while Derek was at work. I did not understand how that was possible, until it dawned on me—we had a dishwasher! I’d load our then toddler’s milk bottles and our dirty dishes, glasses, and water bottles at night, then just use them the next day,” shares Trina.
They have been using Tekno TDW-4500S, a freestanding dishwasher purchased from Anson’s, for almost three years now.
“It’s one of our most used appliance!” she says. “Pre-pandemic, we’d load it every other day, or use the half load setting, since most of our meals weren’t eaten at home. Now, we use it every day, and it’s always full.” How she wished they had gotten the bigger model, though (the 6000S).
Trina can’t tell exactly if their electrical consumption increased, but what surprised her was their lower water consumption. “Consumers assume that using a dishwasher can be costly, but it’s more efficient because all of the dishes get washed at the same time,” she says.
What the Sottos do is remove the food waste from the dishes first (as you normally would washing manually) before loading them into the appliance. “We pre-wash sometimes, only if the dishes are covered in thick liquids such as oil or condensed milk, and then use the Eco setting. But when we’re lazy, we dump as is and just use the regular setting.”
They load the dishwasher at night so it runs while they are asleep. “Voila,” says Trina, “we have clean dishes in the morning.”
Trina says she’s been cooking more, knowing she doesn’t have to deal with the cleanup after. “The dishwasher has prepared us well for the pandemic. Derek and I like to joke at how it has saved our marriage! Haha!”
Electrolux vs an OC mom
Dette says her Electrolux tabletop dishwasher was a big help for her when she had a delicate pregnancy with her fifth child. She had difficulty looking for yayas who could look after the four growing kids, so she and husband decided to buy a dishwasher to unload them of the dishwashing chore.
“Because of the dishwasher, I got to sleep early at night since I didn’t have to wash the dishes anymore,” she says. During daytime, she can also do other chores while the dishwasher was running.
There was that one time though when she accidentally put too much soap in the machine so she needed to repeat the washing cycle. “So doble gastos sa tubig at kuryente.” A self-confessed OC mom, she also wasn’t too satisfied with the dishwasher’s cleaning power. “For me, mas okey pa din ang traditional way of washing the dishes—mas malinis,” she says.
Since her kids are quite big already and can help in the kitchen, Dette decided to donate their dishwasher to a charity org recently and do the dishwashing by themselves.
If reading some of the testimonies above convinced you to get a dishwasher of your own, here are some brands worth looking into:
Tekno Countertop Dishwasher TDW-3000W
This free-standing dishwasher has six wash programs, a standard water consumption of 6 liters and electrical consumption of 0.61kwh per standard cleaning cycle. It also has a child lock button and a progress indicator.
XTREME HOME 6.5L Countertop Dishwasher
It has seven settings to choose from and consumes about 6.5 liters of water per cycle.
American Heritage 35L Dish Washer
This table top dishwasher has a 35-liter capacity (good for 4 persons), and has a UV light and high temperature disinfection feature.
Maximus Tabletop Dishwasher MAX-005V
It’s also energy efficient (consumes about 0.61kwh per standard cycle), and includes built-in water heater and water softener.
Toshiba Mini Dishwasher
This portable dishwasher consumes about 5 liters of water and has a noise level of 58 dB, lower than the sound of a normal conversation, which is 60 dB.
This is a fully automatic countertop mini dishwasher that also doubles as a storage.
Le Kedian Home Dishwasher Automatic Smart Disinfection
You can use it as a dishwasher and as a cupboard.
Tekno Dishwasher TDW-3000W
This is a tabletop dishwasher with 6 wash programs. It has a noise level 49 dB, a built-in water heater, and dry cycle in all programs except Rapid. This comes with a free 1kg Tekno Detergent and 450mL of Tekno Rinse Aid.
SMEG LVS212BARK Dishwasher
It has a noise level of 49dB and consumes of 1.010kwh of electricity and 12 liters of water per cycle.
Imarflex DD-989 Cyclone Dish Dryer
This is a dish dryer with a heat resistant transparent cover. Can fit 8 to 10 sets.