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Old 02-26-2021, 12:47 PM   #1
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Washing Dishes

TL: DR skoolie dish washer or wash by hand routine for a family? Your choice and why?

I know this may sound silly in the grand scheme of things but one of my most loathed household chores is washing dishes. I've never owned a working dishwasher in any place I've lived. My dad joked about his dishwasher never being broken because I washed dishes as one of my chores growing up.

Now, we are still in the planning stages of even looking into the skoolie life. I've done loads of research on just about everything but the one thing that still perplexes me is how everyone washes dishes with a full family of 4 or more in a skoolie conversion. What is the setup like when most kitchens aren't equipped with dishwashers and have relatively small sinks? I'm used to a double sink in our house so I fill one side up with hot soapy water, wash then move to the other side to rinse... but most busses don't seem to have double sinks due to space issues.

I cook a lot, and most everything is from scratch, even down to our bread because of my sons food allergies and digestive disorder which translates to a lot of dishes.

Normally I bake or cook in bulk and store loads in our extra freezer so I only have to wash one huge load every once in a while but obviously an extra full sized freezer doesn't translate to the skoolie life well.

Do people sometimes use dishwashers in a skoolie? If so, what models are efficient for space and water usages??
If not, what is the routine for you if you have a family with young kids?

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Old 02-26-2021, 03:35 PM   #2
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In my reading, dishwashing is a manual process.

To have a dishwasher:
1) Takes up a lot of space, and with a family of 4 space is at a premium in a bus.
2) Extra electricity demands extra batteries, more solar and generally bigger inverter and wires. All of which take up space (see #1).
3) If you are planning a lot of bulk cooking and refrigeration/freezer space, you'll need more space and electricity (see #1&2).

If cooking is a high priority, I'd design the kitchen accordingly and build the rest of the interior around it.

No reason you can't have a double sink, stand alone 4 burner stove / oven combo and a larger refrigerator/freezer. Propane!

With a finite amount of space to install appliances, water, plumbing, electrical, beds, etc., a dishwasher seems a huge luxury.

You can always do what your Dad did, have the kid wash the dishes.��

Best of luck.
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:53 PM   #3
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We did not install a washing machine, however I'm trying to find a way to retrofit one of the tabletop dishwashers in for a different reason: water conservation. Washing dishes by hand I believe is much less water efficient than a machine. We also use paper plates frequently to avoid washing dishes for that reason.

We have a pretty large solar system and spend most of our time dry camping which makes water use a higher concern than energy. There are small, 120V dishwashers you can get to make small loads easier.

For a sink we went fairly large- 30"x18"x9", single bowl. It is undermount, but we set it inside a cutout in our butcher block countertop. It does make washing dishes easier, although the best way to manage dishes is to wash them immediately after use.
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:58 PM   #4
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Washing Dishes

I second *Simplicity*'s statement!
I bin blessed to be so fortunte as to be able to add the skill-set, "Scullery Maid," to my resume at an early age. There actually WAS an automatic dishwasher installed, where I was reared. To be used ONLY upon the aligning of the planets, and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
Like, when ALL four of us kids're away simultaneously.
At a likewise early age, I acquired the application of any dishwashers, subsequently in my varied and assorted intervening domiciles, to be utilized as hide-away drying racks, &/or large crock & pot stowage.
As the youngest, AND also an Aquarian (Coincidence? I think **not**), I got saddled with dishes to do to last a lifetime!
Currently residing in a metal tube that I've built for one, my solution may not be feasible for you. Dependent upon how much time you spend in bigger latitudes...
I use a pair of medium-sized Sterilite/Rubbermaid/whateva tub's outside like a double-sink, which are erstwhile utilized as dry storage when not full of the wet.
Altho, I reckon it'd work inside... If you are rather less enthusiastic than I about water sloppage everywherage.
Short of having a prevailing medical condition which forbids doing digital dishes decontamination, the supporting infrastructure and cubic-footprint are formidable to work around.
We all swore we'd NEVER be like our parents... It's funny: the older that I get, the more sensible and intelligent my parents have become. Go fig...
I didn't spawn, having had myself as an example of what to expect.
Critters're better: they don't hit you up for cash, it's highly unlikely that they'll wreck your vehicle, and, if they seriously screw up, any officius investigations as to precisely why they were planted beneath the privet are typically moot.

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Put 'em to work!!! It builds character!

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Old 02-26-2021, 06:36 PM   #5
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The main reason I said I wanted kids when I was a kid was so I could have them wash my dishes lol. At least that's what I said haha.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:46 PM   #6
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And don't get me wrong, my kids aren't spoiled or anything. They wash dishes from dinner 3 times a week, take out the trash, help me with baking (thats their favorite chore), and even fold and put away their own laundry already at ages 9 and 6. But for dishes, I do the heaviest items and the really cooked on things and my vintage pyrex because I dont want toes or my dishes broken. They mainly wash the place settings after a small soak.

I guess I could indulge in a larger farmhouse style apron sink (which I adore) and stick with what has worked for years and still have some cabinetry storage under the sink.
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Old 02-26-2021, 06:51 PM   #7
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Rated Cap: 24 have a tendency to grow up and move out (if you're lucky), which leaves the dishes back in your camp.

Although I am in the demo process of my shortie build, I do hope to find the space to build in a counter top dishwasher. Three are not many images online of them built in but it can be done.

As a single person, I have found that my countertop dishwasher serves me rather well- it holds 6 place settings, takes only 3 gallons of water for a complete cycle and I only have to use it once a week.

If I had to wash dishes by hand, I certainly would use more than 3 gallons of water per week.

I did come across a rather interesting dishwasher on Amazon that can be hooked up to a sink, but do not require it to be. You can simply add water thru the port at the top of the unit. The dishwasher has great reviews, but is pricey. Although, with that said, I would be tempted to purchase one.

Just my 2 cents on the topic.

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Old 02-26-2021, 07:13 PM   #8
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fresh water whether carried in or provided? bins sized for your family to wash there own dishes.
one to wash food off one with bleach mix to cleanse and one to water rinse.
until you learn
that everyone gets there own plate bowl kitchen setup with there name on it and then its proof its theres.
we grew up a camping and scouting family .
my wife one the dutchoven challenge in 2010 but kids are grown and gone now.
paper plates or ok if you dont have to pack your trash out? a base camp you dont need much water.
out and about you figure out your needs.and carry it with you.
water is 8 lbs per 1 gallon?
how many gallons can your family carry AS A WHOLE?
HOW MUCH do they use as a whole ?
dishes are one thing that can be easily addressed and however gross you think it is? clothing can be worn for more than one day and canteen baths (if asked for ) are available if requested.
sorry awhile ago. but keep it simple always runs through my head at work?
while i am dealing with engineer/architecht people that designed this mess?
sorry my work mixed into skoolie????????????
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:20 PM   #9
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I got one of those countertop dishwashers on Craigslist for $75. It works very well, but the capacity is very small, 1/3 of a normal dishwasher at best - you'd be running something like this multiple times a day with a family. I'm still debating whether or not to install it under my sink as it would take up any available storage space there (and it may not fit at all since my sink is over a wheel well).
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:16 PM   #10
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Red face

In preparation for designing and using my bus, I started to notice what I use and don't use in my daily living. Being a single guy, I hand wash my dishes.

I stack the dishes under the faucet, so as I wash and rinse each one, the others get more water and soap. I turn the water off between each dish. If they are small items, I let them sit in the sink after washing until I'm ready to rinse all of them at once. They air dry for a bit, then I hand dry and put them away. They spend very little time on the counter.

I'm a bit OCD about recycling, energy and water use. My Dad was Director of Water Works for a large CA county during a drought year. "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down".

I'll skip shower days, let the toilet wait to be flushed (not an issue in the bus, composting), etc. I'm not sure I can beat 3 gallons a week, but I do pretty well.

The other thing I did was to buy an Instant Pot. It pulls 700w, cooks most meals in under 45 minutes, I can use the pot to refrigerate the leftovers and when it's empty, I have one pot to wash. Hell, with a long enough fork, I guess I could eat out of it too. Ha.

A goal I'm trying to achieve is figuring how I can use water like a Earth house does. They use it for cooking, then it drains into an indoor garden which filters it too. Then, the toilet uses it for flushing, and finally it goes into an outside blackwater system that waters outside plants.

I figure after the water from my dishes and showers goes into the grey tank, I can screen my grey water when draining it into a container. I can then use that water for things that don't need fresh water. Not sure what that will be, but it's a goal.

Little off topic, but related.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:03 AM   #11
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Scott Crosby, with the Bus Grease Monkey YouTube channel, just posted that he's getting a HAVA dishwasher to try out. HAVA claims it uses 75% less water than hand washing dishes...but then, I've worked with marketing folks before. Anyway, it will be interesting to see his video on this when it posts.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:26 AM   #12
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I buy the pure white paper plates (no ink) because they make great fire starters in my cubic mini. I won’t buy Styrofoam cups for any reason, I like my coffee in real coffee cups so I wash them. I try to keep dish washing to a minimum due to water usage, and the fact that I don't like it.
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Old 02-27-2021, 12:00 PM   #13
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I was skeptical but it looks like if you have a family the dishwasher wins.
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:57 PM   #14
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Space...... use the dishwasher as a storage space. example -- space 1 has stuff for baking untensils OR silverware. there is never enough space for all of it.. so some is used and some is in space 1 and some is in the dishwasher.

use the dishwasher as part of the normal every day space utilzation. is it always full of something....... hats,gloves, dry goods, what ever... just dont let the space go unused when it is not in use..... it becomes part of the where you NORMALLY find some sort of dishes, cause some thing is always there.

space savers.... IF you can get by with less than full size... I think a family of four could... there are 18" wide full height built in diswashers out there. There are also drawer type built in too. I have an old 1920's house and I am pretty resistant to damaging the extensive tile work in the kitchen. I will be installing a 18" wide dishwasher and making the double basin sink one big basin and one narrow basin so that I can squeeze in the 18" dishwasher.

A think about the big deal racing cars... every part of the car does more than one job the engine joins the front body to the transmission. Take the engine out and the transmission falls off.... the rear suspension and tires and axles are bolted to the transmission..... You get the idea, nothing has just one purpose.

Goal for space saving and weight saving... everything has more than one purpose.. the solar panels have an air gap under them.. they now make shade for the roof. The rails used to mount the solar panels can be used for attachment points of great big tent like awnings to "enclose" the side of the bus for extra living/dining space out side.... the outer walls of the bus can have benches and or tables attached to the outside of the bus.

If you have a round tube for a front bumper, you can put stuff inside the front bumper like awning poles, fishing poles, black tank dump hoses.. it is a bumper, it is a storage place. under the drivers seat is now storage for first aid kit, flash lights, it is not just a seat, but the space under the seat is now used also.

plumbing for an inside toilet/shower can be connected to a point outside. you now have the ability for an outside shower when weather permits....

put a wire basket in the engine near the exhaust pipes... wrap stuff up in foil and put it in the basket... you have warm food at the next stop. By the way there is at least two cook books I know of that are based on using the engine to cook with ......I know about them, but I do not know the titles. Both written decades ago.

check to make sure your voltage for diswashers are 110v ac or 12/24v dc some of the small sized stuff is wired for 240v.... also some of the dishwashers use 110v EXCEPT for the heaters inside used to dry the dishes.... you can disable the heating element and still use it on 110v ac

I hope this gives you some usable ideas feel free to call if you wish

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Old 01-27-2022, 12:35 PM   #15
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That is what the dog is along for
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Old 02-06-2022, 08:30 AM   #16
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Each of us has a stainless-steel mug with a fork, paring-knife, and stew-spoon.
Each of us is [!!! Bad Word Alert !!!] responsible for putting it someplace findable, using it, worshing it.
Worshing by hand mostly, licking occasionally.
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Old 03-02-2022, 08:00 AM   #17
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I prefer a dishwasher. It saves a lot of time. Besides, my house is cleaned by an emop cleaning company. You may not realize it, but it's very handy when you have children to raise. So at least there is some free time to relax. It was more difficult for my wife. Before buying a dishwasher and cleaning, she had to do it all, cook and take care of the kids while I was at work. But if you want to save space in the kitchen and money, it's not a bad idea to do dishes in the dishwasher, too.
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Old 03-02-2022, 09:46 AM   #18
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We just got a dishwasher (countertop). It is top-fill, although last weekend I hooked it up directly to the water line so it fills itself. It drains into the sink. I don't think you'll be saving water at the size of these units but I think the benefit is worth the costs.

Why we got ours:

We have a deep stainless sink. While these are really nice, it was a mistake because it is easy to get complacent and get a pile of stinky awfulness going that nobody wants to deal with. After many instances of yucky yuck I insisted on putting in a washing machine- and since there hasn't been any problem. We lightly rinse the dishes and load them- once full we run a cycle. Clean dishes get put away, and then the next set in the sink are up. Nothing sits long enough to go sour.

I dunno, habits can make up for the lack of a dishwasher, or a small sink can force you to keep things tidy. Its not a necessity but I do think it makes things easier. If you have a really small number of dishes, they could also live in the washer post-wash. There's also something kinda nice about a steaming hot plate fresh out of a wash cycle, smelling all soapy and clean.
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Old 03-02-2022, 10:22 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Sagebrush View Post
That is what the dog is along for
i'm in this camp. i did a double sink in my kitchen. big sink and little sink. single guy, cooks and does dishes by hand.

the big side of the sink rarely gets used. unless like MagnaK says, for its second purpose of storage while traveling. it does hold all the countertop items securely while in motion.

the little side of the sink does most of the business. only if i've let the dishes stack up or have a big pan, do i use the big side, it takes too much water to fill the big sink for a couple dishes.
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Old 03-04-2022, 01:25 AM   #20
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Will absolutely be putting a dishwasher in my build, and it will be a full size if I can make it fit. Just me and the wife, and while she doesn't mind washing by hand I won't do it unless I have no choice. Dishwasher's full and there's still dirty dishes in the sink? Dishwasher will be done in a couple of hours and the dirties can wait. Besides, modern dishwashers do use less water than hand washing even if you fill both sinks then use one side to wash and the other to rinse. You still have to clean the rinse side before using it, which takes water. The dishwasher will be doing double duty as dish storage anyway, we normally unload it as we need stuff. If we had 3 more dishwashers in our main house kitchen, we would be storing ALL the dishes in them.
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