Re: Dishwashers (related to thread on common meals clean up)
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2012 08:31:34 -0700 (PDT)
On 30 Jun 2012, at 12:10 AM, Joani Blank wrote:

> So I say, depending on the size of your community, get 
> yourselves one, two or even three residential 
> dishwashers (and of course, use only as many as you 
> need for a given meal.

Thank you for sending this. I've forwarded it to my community. I was not in 
favor of the behemoth we purchased. I don't participate in our regular meals 
for dietary reasons — they tend to be starch filled — thus my desire for 
residential dishwashers was not persuasive — I don't wash dishes for meals. I 
could bring my own meals, but I've become attached to quiet meals. 

The commercial dishwasher takes up a huge amount of space because of the whole 
dish table required to process the dishes — 8 ft? There is the space where the 
dishes are put by diners into tubs of dishwater and then by the washers into 
racks, a sink for spraying off the dishes, the dishwasher to slide the racks of 
dishes into, and then the space where the racks come out to sit for a moment 
until they dry. Then have to be put away so the next rack can go through.

The washers were absolutely convinced that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to do dishes 
for 30 people without being in the kitchen ALL NIGHT!!!!!!!!!

The only thing that can be said of the commercial washer is that men love it. 
We've discussed this on the list before with other communities finding the same 
thing. The only hesitation in getting the dishes done is that the water has to 
be heated for an hour beforehand. If it isn't turned on before the meal, the 
dishes can't be done right away. Thus it is rarely used between big meals and 
dishes build up on the dish table from people eating take out, making coffee, 

Our new washer, will work if the water is 120 but for sanitizing it should be 
heated to 140. My concern is that people won't take this time since the machine 
no longer requires them to. The dishes won't be properly sanitized, even with 
the chlorine in the dishwasher liquid — which eats the floor if it gets spilled.

On sanitizing — previous readers have said that sanitizing isn't important at 
home so why is it important in the CH? The reason is that at home we know who 
we are eating with — and even there they can be very important. Decades ago, 
dishwashers were placed in housing projects to reduce the spread of TB and 
other illnesses. Without them, which diseases will return?

In the commonhouse, a much wider variety of people are eating. Some have 
recently been traveling — which bird flu were they exposed to? Some have 
compromised immune systems — chemo therapy and pregnancy and infancy. The 
chances are increased with the size of the community, and possibly geographic 
location. In DC we live where people are traveling back and forth to all parts 
of the world, or exposed to people who are — the World Bank and international 
development. Other areas have other exposures.

Eating in the commonhouse is not like eating at home — it's like eating in a 
very large extended family. Do you know where all your relatives have been or 
what each one's physical vulnerabilities are?

So thank you again for your message, Joani. It will get a manageable washer 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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