Going Off Grid: Getting Rid of the Dishwasher.

It has been a couple of months since we yanked our dishwasher out and have been washing all of our dishes by hand. It would have been taking up valuable kitchen space sitting there unused once we go completely off grid.

replacing the dishwasher

We might as well get it out of the way and get used to hand washing everything now. (My least favorite chore, by the way.)

After pulling out the old machine, the next project was filling the empty space. I wanted to do something that would look like it has always been that way. I didn’t want to leave the impression that we were just trying to fill a gap in the cabinetry.

I decided to create a storage space for some of our longer storing produce, such as potatoes, winter squashes and small pumpkins.

A root cellar would have been a better option for the potatoes, but since we don’t have one yet this will have to do.

replaced dishwasher

Jerry built a cabinet with a shelf that would fit inside the vacant spot. I stained it to match our cabinets to the best of my ability (though it could probably use another coat or two), then we pushed it into place under the counter and put a few screws in it to keep it from shifting around.

I slid an Amish-built wooden crate into each shelf space for storage.

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. It’s nice to have a handy husband. And it didn’t cost much to build.

As far as doing the dishes goes, it has taken some discipline to wash them in a timely manner. I can think of a hundred other things I’d rather be doing than standing at the sink washing dishes; I have no trouble putting it off for later.

I know the best practice is to wash after each meal, and I do try, honestly, but I admit to being easily and willingly distracted. It’s a discipline I’m going to have to acquire.

The children do help with the dishes when I ask them to, but I’m not consistent in this regard either. Eventually we will fall into a routine. At the moment I am happy to report that there are no dirty dishes spilling over onto the countertops. 🙂

That’s one more appliance down for the count! We’ve gotten rid of our dryer, our microwave, our upright refrigerator, our coffee maker, and now the dishwasher. I REALLY wish we could replace our flat top stove with a wood cook stove, but that’s a project we’ll have to save up for.

For now, our 1930’s wood cook stove sits on the back porch, waiting for a chimney pipe to be installed. One day, I’d love to have one of those gorgeous antique wood cook stoves in my kitchen. Ahhhh… one day.

18 thoughts on “Going Off Grid: Getting Rid of the Dishwasher.”

  1. I know I’m late to the party, but just want to ask how you actually did the removal of the dishwasher and what you did with the water and electrical lines. Did you hire a plumber or electrician or both or neither? Thanks.

  2. We pulled out our dishwasher years ago! My hubby made shelves in ours too, I use mine to store my baking pans and such in! I dont like washing dishes either but Ive gotten used to it over the years. Saves on the water bill too!

  3. Hi Kendra,
    Had a chance to go back and read some of your articles and your new storage bin caught my eye. Looks wonderful!, much better than a dish washer.
    We have never had a dish washer and have a couple of ways to keep the job done. The first way is that one child learns the privilege of serving a parent so at the end of the meal one takes mom’s plate and the other takes dad’s and washes that plate, fork and cup along with their own. Then it is not so much on me to go do the pans. I try to remember while cooking supper to have the soapy pan of water ready for just that reason. Then sometimes we are to tired or busy at night and the chore is left for the morning. That means two meals of dishes. One washer, one rinse, one dryer/putter upper makes the job go quickly and not the burden for one.
    Blessings Milkmaid

    • Milkmaid,

      I really need to get into the habit of having the children help. They do help with good attitudes when I ask them to, but I usually just put off the work for myself. Thanks for sharing what works for your family! It sounds like a winning system to me 🙂

  4. Dishwasher? My wife and I went ahead and had four of them, although the oldest one’s at college right now. We’ve never had an automatic dishwasher since we either couldn’t afford one or the kitchen was too small. There’s nothing better than hearing siblings laughing, joking, or singing along with Christian radio while washing, drying and putting away dishes after supper.

  5. Hey, speaking of having the children start working on some of these household duties….Do you have a copy of Amy Dacyczyn’s book The Complete Tightwad Gazette? That book was the beginning of my frugal life over twenty years ago. She has an article titled, “Get A Wheel Job.” It has a chore list on a wheel; the chores are rotated amongst her (then young) six children. When my boys are a bit older I plan on implementing the job wheel to not only get them practiced in daily household chores but also to eliminate the complaints that one always gets easier chores than the others lol

  6. I got rid of our dishwater a few years ago and have never regretted it. I hated using all those corrosive chemicals and as I don’t mind washing up, it didn’t take much time to make the decision. It takes me about an hour to wash up but it’s really easy. When I stack the dishes ready to clean up. I fill the sink with hot water and eco-friendly washing up liquid and I clean and rinse the cups and glasses and put them on the dish rack. Then I move the stack of dishes, knives, spoons and forks into the hot water and I go and do something else. When I come back about 15 minutes later, it’s simply a matter of wiping over everything because it’s soaked and softened even the hardest to remove bit of food. When all the dishes and cutlery are in the dish rack, I tackle the pots and pans, these too get the soaking treatment if they need it. If not, I scrub them straight away and put them in the rack. It takes longer than normal but it’s so much easier.

    And in the space I used to have my dishwasher I now store all my canning jars and bottles.

  7. I love how you used the space! Great idea to use the bins like that.

    We use the dishwasher for our drying rack. We have very hard water so the dishwasher is useless to actually wash dishes (we’ve tried every trick out there). Sometimes I am good at keeping up with hand washing, and other times I am not. This isn’t our house and we’re not planning to stay long so we can’t get rid of the dishwasher or do something about the hard water problem. I have a friend in an apartment and she uses her dishwasher for her tupperware storage!

  8. I work full time, and I am the only adult in the house with three kids, but I try to use as absolutely little electricity as possible. I have never had a dishwasher, and since I (thank goodness!) have all hardwood floors, I use a basic broom/mop cleaning method. And I try to get everything done by Plain Old Light Of Day to keep from turning lights on unnecessarily. If I had a cast iron stove or a very much desired wood stove, oh the money I would save! 🙂 But I am in the same boat; no chimney or stovepipe.

  9. This is too funny. Our dishwasher bit the dust 2 years ago and we did the same thing you did. We filled the hole for veggies bins. We use one for potatoes and one for onions. We happened to have a roll around shelving unit that fit the space exactly. Your fix looks much nicer.

  10. SO impressed, Kendra!! And the re-do of the cabinet space looks awesome!!!! I know our four are a bit older than yours, but I have them alternate doing the dishes and taking out the garbage each week. 2nd oldest will do the dishes one week, while #4 will do the garbage that week, then the following week #1 and #3 will take over those duties. The following week we rotate, with 2 doing the garbage and 4 doing the dishes, and so forth. Your are probably a bit too young to give them that much work, but I’ll bet you could definitely start teaching and rotating them in.

  11. We live in a rental right now, so yanking out the dishwasher isn’t an option, we found early on in renting the place that though it was a brand new washer it was a lower quality one, and I would end up rewashing many of the dishes. I went a long time without using it at all and I still don’t wash silverware in there, but when I’m mostly caught up I wash everything by hand. I will often struggle to even have enough dishes to fill it up to run it.

    What I have been doing is using the dishwasher as a drying rack. I took the utensil holder out and have it sitting on a towel on the counter to keeps them in one place (my counter drying rack didn’t come with one and it wouldn’t be big enough for my family anyway.) Using the dishwasher works out great when I have several large pots that I used for a meal or have some that carried over from another meal due to soaking.

    It can be hard to keep up with the dishes when you have littles even when you have a dishwasher. Im right there with you, its my least favorite chore as well.

  12. Hiya – I also hate washing up but find it can be a good opportunity to practice mindfulness, and I do enjoy feeling connected to everyone who’s done the washing up through history… On every battle field, at every political congress, in every humble cottage or proud mansion, someone did the washing up. After the birth of a first child. After war is announced. After falling in love for the first time. After learning you have cancer. The rhythms of life must go on, and that means doing the washing up. I quite like that sense of connection.

  13. We’ve been living in our current house for almost four years. In that time I’ve never had a dishwasher or dryer (in Australia there’s WAY too much sun to need a dryer anyway!). I barely use our microwave and usually just for heating little boy’s milk or reheating a lunch. I love channelling my inner ‘old timer’ and their tried a true (but often more physical) ways of getting house chores done. I even bought a carpet sweeper from a market for $1 but since only one room in our house is carpeted it didn’t get as much use as I had hoped. Still it’s good for those little clean-ups without using any power!


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