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Unless You Use a Dishwasher, You'll Probably Be Having Bacteria for Dinner... Again

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Perhaps you think all it takes to get your dishes clean is a little good old fashioned elbow grease, a sponge, and some dish soap. Perhaps you should think again.

Let's say you come home Friday evening to a sink full of the week's dirty dishes, a bag of groceries in one arm, an empty stomach within. You have no clean plates, and you need one!


Sure, there's nothing wrong with wanting to do it yourself—it's better than nothing?!—but, c'mon. Dishwashers weren't invented just to use up disproportionate amounts of the world's water supply. As it turns out, they are very, very good at their job: dish washing!

Not just better, significantly better, explains Alexandra Jaffe, writing for the Atlantic.

What reliably sanitizes dishes is high heat, at temperatures greater than most people can stand. Past 145 degrees Fahrenheit, water easily and quickly kills bacteria. . .But most people can't handle water temperatures over 104 degrees, meaning those of us stuck with the pauper's slog of scrubbing our own dishes have a higher likelihood of leaving some bacteria on our plates.


The problem with hand washing, other than the near impossibility that your hands could actually withstand temperatures conducive to sanitizing, is that your sponge is filthy and you're using it, nitwit that you are, trying to remove filth from a filthy plate. "The definition of futility," says Jaffe, aptly.

What to do? To summarize the rest of the article, there are a few measure you can take make the whole exercise at least a moderately more valid use of your time.

• Sterilize your sponge by popping it in the microwave for 30 seconds
• Purchase a pair of dishwashing gloves, to protect your hands against the hot hot water you are about to start using
• Accept that you will probably never, ever, not ever get your dishes dishwasher-clean. (But know that this is okay, because, as Jaffe puts it, "I've been eating from germ-riddled dishes for over two decades now, and I'm not dead yet. So, eating from them for decades more probably won't kill me—or you.")

Or just get yerself a dishwasher?! Love your dishwasher, love yourself. [TheAtlantic - Image via Joe Belanger/Shutterstock]