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There are many things in my life that I enjoy, but would not be completely devastated if required to give them up. My dishwasher is not one of them.

dishwasher-filled-with-clean-dishes-and-bright-start

During our recent kitchen remodel, we donated the old appliances to Habitat for Humanity, all except for my stripped down 14-year-old Whirlpool dishwasher.

Even though it has been replaced, it awaits its new home in our future basement remodel. I could not part with it. It does a flawless job, not because it’s such a high-end machine but because I have learned the secrets of how to get any dishwasher to perform well.

I don’t care how old your dishwasher is. If it will turn on, spray water and go through some kind of cycle, you can turn out sparkling clean dishes. Trust me on this. 

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I can’t think of a better day than today to reach into the mailbag and pull out a few great tips submitted by—you guessed it—my great (loyal, faithful, awesome) readers!

Two cats on a bed

PET-FRIENDLY BEDSPREAD

As the owner of two cats, I finally found a wonderful solution to the problem of finding a bedspread fabric durable enough to withstand the constant removal of fur and chafing of paws. Outdoor Living Tablecloths makes custom outdoor tablecloths using Sunbrella® material. Following their directions for taking measurements, I ordered a custom “tablecloth” bedspread for my queen size bed and have been using it now for seven months. It has held up beautifully, cleans like a dream and for sheer hardwearing, long-lasting quality, I think the price is a great deal. ~ Robin

Previously: Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!

 

SAVING THE DISHWASHER

I never used a rinse aid in my dishwasher, because we live in an area that doesn’t have particularly hard water that results in water spots left on glassware. I learned the hard way that rinse aids (like Finish Jet-Dry) have another more important use—they help to keep the dishwasher’s drain line running clean. Found this out from the repairman when our dishwasher wasn’t draining. The line was completely clogged—Yuck! ~ Elizabeth

Must read: Know Thy Dishwasher

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Did you accept the challenge Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge? It’s been six weeks since I wrote about our big kitchen remodel and my determination to follow Cynthia Townley Ewer’s (Cut the Clutter) three rules for organizing an efficient, convenient kitchen. I invited my readers to accept the challenge and many did.

It’s time for a confession and an update.

Confession: My beautiful new kitchen is finished but it is not yet an organized and efficient kitchen.

Related: Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge

Do you recall Cynthia’s first step in creating an organized kitchen? She says we must harden our hearts and dare to dump everything that is not absolutely necessary and useful. I thought this would be easy. It’s not. There have been days I have felt like giving up and just throwing everything back in the way it was. I’ve been doing a lot of praying.

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Just this past week I heard from my dear reader Penny who is frustrated in the face of needing to purchase a new dishwasher. She writes: 

“Our dishwasher is more than 20 years old and every time I think I have decided on a new one and read the reviews, I back out. I know that you recently purchased new appliances. What brand dishwasher did you go with? How does one filter all the reviews, good or bad?”

IKEA dishwasher

My husband and I have just completed our big kitchen remodel. It’s been nearly a year since we started planning so you can be sure I’ve been researching appliances ad nauseam. 

Here’s my conclusion based on credible evidence, product reviews and long conversations with appliance professionals: They just don’t make ‘em like they used to! 

These days you won’t find a dishwasher with an expected lifespan of 20 years. The best we should expect from new dishwashers is 8 to 10 years, which is by design. Industry insiders call this “planned obsolescence.” And we have to assume that those will not necessarily be trouble-free years. It’s sad but true. 

Nearly all appliances these days come with a one-year warranty. Most appliances pros will tell you that if an appliance is going to fail, it is most likely to do that during the first 90-days, so a one-year warranty is supposed to be sufficient. Anything beyond that is called an extended warranty, which brings up another matter, altogether. Let’s just say it gets complicated.

Related: Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!

There are two brands I suggest you stay away from—Samsung and LG. While their appliances are lovely when they’re in good working condition, these companies do not have a solid infrastructure for service and repair in the U.S. That means you’ll have a difficult time finding someone to repair them whether they’re under warranty or not. And when you do, you could wait weeks for parts to arrive from overseas. 

On the other hand, the Whirlpool family of appliances (Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana to name a few) are made in the U.S. Whirlpool has a reputation for making good appliances with repair, service, and parts readily available. 

With all that being said, I do have some really good news—and a solid recommendation, which may surprise you. Read more