The importance of washing up.

Dishwashers have been around for years now but there are good reasons for dispensing with them. First of all they use some pretty toxic chemicals to get the burnt on cinders off your beautifully crafted dishes. They can’t really be used to clean anything delicate or fine, and certainly shouldn’t be used to clean the silver cutlery. Did you hear that Jeeves? But the most important reason they should be considered superfluous is that they are desperately unsociable.

Jeeves v1

Fascinating little memorial just up the road from me here in Cheltenham at Cheltenham College, a very expensive public school with the most beautiful cricket ground. I never know that Jeeves was a cricketer and that he was the inspiration for Woodhouse’s character. The school was also the location for some of the filming of Linsday Anderson’s cult film “If”, but they don’t talk about that much. It did feature schoolboys machine gunning people from their chapel roof, so perhaps no surprise there.


In the day when washing up was the order of the day, it was, or at least should have been, a team effort. Two people minimum in any team. One to wash, one or maybe two to dry and one to pontificate and put stuff away until the next time. It should not be undertaken alone if at all possible, but of course these days it is usually people who live on their own who do wash up, instead of loading dishwashers.

What happens when two or more people gather together to wash up. They talk, they are in close proximity, they interact, in short they are sociable. Whereas it usually falls to one person to load a dishwasher. The end result of washing up is cemented friendship, the end result of a dishwasher is cemented cookware.


    1. There’s the added advantage of having everything where it used to be instead of festering in the ‘not quite full box’, plus the savings on having dozens of mugs so that you can have a cuppa out of the same mug each time. I could go on, and usually do. Stumbling block in any relationship though is “Who’s drying?”. Tricky.

      1. My mother always used to ask: ” Who’s going to help with the washing up?” and my brother would reply ” Paul’s coming now”. What’s worse I fell for it, and did.

  1. I’ve never heard such a load of unadulterated twaddle.
    The whole process of washing up (and stacking the dishwasher) from the end of the meal to the After Eights must be done by one person, preferably the host.
    We all have our own routines regarding the sequence of clearing the tabLe, putting away crocks etc where they belong, rinsing, binning leftovers, temperature of the water, amount of washing up liquid, method of stacking the drying wrack and returning plates, cutlery etc to the place they belong. Only one must be allowed to get on and do this in half the time without (oops, sorry, where does this go?) all the idle chat. You just cannot do a proper job AND concentrate on doing it right.
    Get a dish-washer and bury your pride. While you’re at it get a disposal unit to gobble all the stuff that gets scraped into the bin for the dedicated container festering in the garage because it was a bank holiday Monday and you forgot to but it out. Etc

    Any thing else is done to give the others a chance to do their bit after such a splendid meal. We all know often whole lot needs to be re-done when the guests have gone. We’ve all done it.

    Eat out or use disposable utensils but don’t, just don’t, make washing up part of the evenings entertainment. Don’t even bother to volunteer ( can we help with the washing up?) because that’s the last thing the host wants to hear. Don’t ask or you might be offended by the answer.
    ‘Pass the after eights please’

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