Friday, September 17, 2010

Appliances 101

I saw this article in the New York Times this week.  To cut to the chase, you're probably using all your appliances all wrong.  You're wasting soap in your dishwasher and your washing machine and generally causing unnecessary wear and tear on all your household appliances.  So stop it.

My husband is a remarkably organized man.  He has all our appliance manuals in a single place.  He knows where to find any of them at any given time.  BUT . . . before putting them away, he also reads them.  Or he at least gives them a good skim.

When I buy something, I never put the manuals away because I'm always intending to read them.  But the truth is, my life is so exciting and so glamorous, I never actually get around to reading the manuals.  There's always something better to do or read (or write).  Eventually, I'll realize that I've been using the device for so long without reading any instructions that it's completely unnecessary.

I bought a new cell phone in July.  My old phone was practically an antique so there are a lot of features to catch up on.  I think I saw the manual under a stack of magazines (in a laundry basket) last week.  At this point, there is no point to reading it.  I make calls.  I answer calls.  I have no idea what to do with the few pictures I've taken with the phone.  Why do I even want to take pictures with my phone?  I carry a real camera around all the time anyway.  And no, I've never read the camera's manual either and I seem to be doing just fine if the pictures on this blog are any indication. 

As far as how much detergent to use in my dishwasher, I figure that line is there for a reason.  With the washing machine, I wing it.  More soap for a bigger load, less for a smaller one.  I don't need a master's degree to figure that out. However, I think I might try out this test in the article:
. . . to determine if you’re oversoaping. Take four to six clean bath towels, put them in your front-loading washing machine (one towel for a top loader). Don’t add any detergent or fabric softener. Switch to the hot water setting and medium wash and run it for about five minutes.
Check for soap suds. If you don’t see any suds right away, turn off the machine and see if there is any soapy residue. If you see suds or residue, it is soap coming out of your clothes from the last wash.

This bit from the article seemed pointless: Load large items at the sides and back of the dishwasher so that they don’t block water and detergent from reaching other dishes.

Raise your hand if you hadn't figure that one out.  

But this is a new idea (or new to me)
Also, remove baked on food and large chunks, but for the most part, everyone I spoke to said prerinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher was not only unnecessary, it wasted thousands of gallons of water and could actually result in dirtier dishes.

“The soap needs something to work against to get the dishes clean,” said Lou Manganiello, who owns Household Appliance Service in Hawthorne, N.Y.

The soap needs something to work against? Mmm. Sounds suspicious. Maybe

The part about the dryers seems odd. I mean, I can't imagine anyone throwing in a handful dryer sheets. I don't use dryer sheets at all.

And the self-cleaning oven thing? I should only use my oven enough that it needs cleaning.

Do you actually read instructions? Do you know where your manuals are? Could you, too, be guilty of oversoaping?


brismod said...

I confess. I have an instructions file and I always read them when I first use an appliance for the first time. You could never accuse me of oversoaping. Undersoaping, yes. But never oversoaping.

Beatnheart said...

I’m bad sometimes...My camera’s manual is still unread, I wing it until I can’t figure it out and then go to the manual. I have found that they don’t tell you much any way...your on your own kid! I’m going to the “lobster Festival” near San Pedro. Check it out. Big lineup for music...tommorrow John Doe and EXene..just $7 to get in...a full day and evening of music....

Why S? said...

I'm going to skip the Lobster Festival. I would feel bad for the lobsters. :(

But have fun, Cynthia. Just don't eat any lobster friends. :)