There's a famous scene in The Simpsons where Homer Simpson spots a newspaper ad for a free trampoline and is so overcome with excitement he can't even say the word.
"Tramampoline!" he bellows. "Trambopoline!" And he goes speeding out the door so fast his family has no idea what he's doing, and his wife calls out, "Please don't bring home anymore old crutches!"
That's pretty much exactly what happened when I saw a sign in the lobby of my apartment building saying one of my neighbors was selling a countertop dishwasher.
"Dishwishle! Dashwasher! Trambopoline!" I shouted, thinking my husband would get the reference.
"What?" he said. I showed him a picture of the ad, and he went scooting right out of the apartment to go knock on the door of the people selling it. He was first in line and we got the dishwasher, but the people selling it asked us to wait a few days until they were finished packing. They moved at the end of the week, and they weren't ready to give it up yet. The dishwasher was that great.
I didn't even know countertop dishwashers were a thing that existed at the time. I hadn't had a dishwasher at all since I'd moved out of my parents' house a decade earlier, but I thought about them constantly — especially when my husband or I left a few too many dishes in the sink "to soak" and they'd built up into a gross pile.
No place I ever rented had a dishwasher, but it was number two on my list of the amenities I wanted someday (after a garbage disposal but before in-unit laundry).
Our apartment was small and did not have any of those things. We only had about two feet of counter space, and the dishwasher took up all of it, but that was fine with me. The counter usually had a drying rack full of dishes on it anyway, and we usually did our food prep on the table.
The Logistics of a Countertop Dishwasher
The dishwasher used a standard outlet, and it hooked up to the faucet and drained into the sink whenever we wanted to use it. Immediately, I knew it was a game-changer. I hate doing dishes. My husband hates doing dishes. But with the dishwasher around, suddenly the dishes were just done. It could do about six place settings at once, and it could even handle most of our pots and pans.
The dishwasher couldn't hold my big pasta pot, but whenever I'd use it, I'd just set the dirty pot in the sink, then wash the plates and cups and smaller things in the dishwasher. The dishwasher drained all the hot soapy water out right into the pot, which worked even better than soaking the pot.
How a Countertop Dishwasher Worked for Us
We used that dishwasher for three years, and raved about it to anyone who would listen. I did not notice a difference in our electricity usage after getting the dishwasher, and our water use actually went down, because the dishwasher used a lot less water to wash the dishes than I did when washing them by hand.
Having a dishwasher did not immediately make us people who never had dirty dishes in our sink, but it did make those piles of dirty dishes a lot less frequent, and I consider that to have been a distinct improvement on our quality of life.
When I moved out of that apartment, I would have taken the dishwasher with me, but I was moving out of the country. So instead, I put a "For sale: Countertop Dishwasher" sign in the lobby, and within an hour, one of my neighbors was at my door, eager as ever to buy it. For all I know, it could still be there, going from apartment to apartment every time someone moves. I have a house with a full-sized dishwasher now, but I loved that little countertop model. If I ever live in a place without a dishwasher again, I would buy another one in a heartbeat.
Have you ever owned a countertop dishwasher? What'd you think?