Grandmother needs to start using the dishwasher, she evidently can no longer wash dishes by hand.

I visited my grandmother today, she served me some fried salmon and a bowl of ice cream. Afterwards, I observed how she washed the ice-cream-stained-bowl. She rinsed it with hot water, scrubbed it a bit, then some more hot water, then it was "clean".. no attempt to use soap at all (which I fully expected her to use)

Afterwards, I inspected her cup drawer... to my horror, almost 50% of the "clean" cups contained coffee stains or traces of whatever was there before washing.

When I pointed out to her that she needs to start using the dishwasher, she got angry, and angrily said

I have washed by hand for 80 years, so I'm sure as hell not going to start using a dishwasher now!

Well.. in my opinion, she's now a danger both to her own health and to whomever visitor she serves food.

I took this up with my mother, and mother has already been aware of this for some time, and said that "grandmother gets so angry and/or sad every time I mentioned it, so I have just given up..."

How can we convince grandmother to use the dishwasher?

2 Answers 2


Having been in the exact same situation, I'll shared my experience on the subject. Background is about the cleanliness level of china and silverware and integrity of the cold chain for food. Result was, as you can (unfortunately) easily expect, the same. Worse than anything, for instance, this situation led to frequent sickness for her.

My sister and I did try and (walking on eggs...) explain the pros and cons of doing things a little differently. It didn't do anything, didn't bring anything positive, but only "I've done that for decades, I know better than any of you and won't change anyway" kind of attitude.

After buying for her (birthday present to replace a really old piece) a new refrigerator with some led indicators about the cold giving soft warnings, we kind of find an agreement around a "not that too cold/warm" temperature. About the dishwasher, nothing we could do.

So, at last, we found a twisted way of working this around: when visiting, we would just set up the table (discreetly allowing a peek at the china/silverware, so that we could clean if needed). And, with the pretence to give a hand ("let us do it, stay seated, it's fine"), we would do the washing and cleaning.

That was the only possible trick, because, as we discovered and as it repeated with some other people, old folks often don't like to be told/taught, especially by younger members of the family. And they don't like changing housing habits they've had for decades. I'm afraid you'll have to swallow that bitter pill and maybe can find a(nother) little trick to improve the situation...


I don't know what country you're in, but in my experience grandparents like to know they're saving money. Modern dishwashers are more water and cost efficient than washing up by hand, even if they aren't full. Even if your grandmother lives alone, running the dishwasher every day or two days costs less than washing the dishes by hand.

  • 1
    I like this but the hard thing would be convincing grandma that the dishwasher really is saving her money.
    – DaveG
    May 23, 2022 at 18:42

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