Microwaves & Dishwashers: Necessary or Not?

By Kate Riley July 27, 2015

I meant to reveal a new blog design today and I worked on a lot of tweaks on Saturday but wasn’t quite ready for the switch so I’m waiting another week (or two). Today it’s a different topic entirely but one that’s come up in conversation lately between friends and fellow remodelers and that’s the necessity of two kitchen appliances: the microwave and the dishwasher.

Late last year our old dishwasher died, it was a GE Profile and we weren’t big fans of it. Our other GE appliances in this kitchen are great but the dishwasher wasn’t. When the old one died it was good riddance and we didn’t bother to replace it for six months. I was in no rush. I happen to like hand washing dishes, I think they get cleaner, and I still wash most of my glassware, silverware, pots, and pans by hand so having to wash all of my dishes for all of those months by hand wasn’t that big of a deal. I do a lot of thinking as I wash dishes, do you?

The other issue that prolonged the purchase of a new dishwasher was that it required a new panel, or I shouldn’t say “required” but in this kitchen I had a paneled dishwasher before and wanted a paneled one again but had to drive over an hour to a cabinet maker that carried the same style of cabinets and pay extra for it and wait for it to arrive weeks later, yada yada, anyway, we finally have a new dishwasher in our kitchen which looks exactly the same as it did before. Yes, the before is the same as the after. Ta da!

centsational girl white kitchen

We researched dishwashers and decided on a Bosch this time, we’d heard and read good things and now that it’s installed, I do love that it is extremely quiet so that even when we run it at night you can’t hear it and it gets the dishes pretty clean. But I still wash most of my dishes by hand mostly out of habit and I like to watch them drying on a towel in the sunlight, I’m strange like that.

In other kitchen news, the remodel in the Las Vegas house is finally complete and this is a pretty dramatic transformation. I haven’t photographed all of it yet since the last time I was there the grout in the backsplash was still drying as my aunt was moving in, but here’s a sneak peek of the view looking in from the living room, here I opted for white appliances for this pass through kitchen since the walls, countertops, and upper cabinets are also white. But no microwave lives here.

kitchen peninsula

I’m headed back next week for a quick trip and I’ll photograph it then and share pictures of the full kitchen makeover soon. I mentioned last year I had no intention of including a microwave in the kitchen since I don’t really use it and didn’t want a micro hood. Remember the conversation about disappearing microwaves?

But when my aunt moved it she texted me asking “Where’s the microwave?” because she needed one and she ended up buying an inexpensive freestanding white microwave for the house which I plan to use but keep it in the garage, yes in the garage on a cart. Which brings up the question is a microwave really necessary? And the answer is, it totally depends on the resident.

I only use a microwave maybe once or twice a week but I have many friends who use theirs everyday. It’s a lifestyle issue. For me it doesn’t get daily use so I don’t deem it necessary but so many people do. I lived without a dishwasher for six months, in college and law school none of my apartments had a dishwasher and I learned to live without that too, but I know most people expect a dishwasher and want a microwave in their home or rental. Do you ?


  1. I use my microwave daily for, ironically, disinfecting my dishwashing sponge! I also use it for reheating coffee and softening butter and steaming vegetables almost every day.

    My dishwasher is not very effective in doing it’s job and since we are empty nesters and have only two of us here, we generally hand wash the dishes and use the dishwasher as our drying rack since we don’t have much counter space to put a freestanding one.

  2. We usually hand wash our dishes and then stick them in the dishwasher, so I suppose we could probably live with out it. A few years back we moved to a different state and did not bother bringing a microwave because I was just sure the apartment we had rented would have one in it. It did not, but we lived there for six months and I only occasionally found myself wishing that I had one. I definitely use mine too much now to go without!

  3. We usually hand wash our dishes and then stick them in the dishwasher, so I suppose we could probably live with out it. A few years back we moved to a different state and did not bother bringing a microwave because I was just sure the apartment we had rented would have one in it. It did not, but we lived there for six months and I only occasionally found myself wishing that I had one. I definitely use mine too much now to go without!

  4. We recently remodeled our kitchen. Well, we completely gutted it, knocked out a wall and expanded it into the living area. I did not make a place for a microwave in our new kitchen. I felt we, my husband and I, didn’t use it enough to justify the monstrosity, and I didn’t want it hanging above our beautiful new gas stove, so I got rid of the vent-a-hood/microwave. However, my teenage son uses ia microwave for most everything he eats, so now, after the remodeling, we have the smallest one available to me on the shelf inside the pantry. It’s the perfect place for it, behind the closed pantry door. However, I have realized that I use it more than I thought I did. I buy the “steamers” frozen veggies, I reheat coffee a lot (and I am guilty of forgetting that I was reheating my coffee and my son finds it when he is “cooking”), and I reheat leftovers in it. Therefore, it turns out, I need a microwave!
    The dishwasher? Well, I have never questioned my need for a dishwasher, it is a must!!

  5. For us, they are both necessary. The dishwasher more than the microwave. With two young children, we use a lot of dishes, so it is constantly being run. We use the microwave maybe 1-2 per week. I also don’t like the over the stove microwaves. When we moved into our house, there was no microwave. We did a gut renovation on the kitchen, and I put one in a cabinet so I didn’t have to see it but still had the functionality.

  6. While anyone could definitely go without a dishwasher and microwave, why would you want to!? :) A dishwasher at our house is a huge lifesaver – we are about to have our second child and there’s no way I could possibly keep up with all of our dishes on top of having a full-time job outside the home! We eat most of our meals either at home or using reusable containers (for lunches), so we have A LOT of dishes every day. We run the thing every single night! We use our microwave several times a week and I’d love, in our “forever” home, to have the microwave in the pantry instead of in the main kitchen. I hate having appliances out on the counter and I don’t really care for the above-the-stove option, so an appliance bay in the pantry is a little dream of mine. :)

  7. We took our microwave out a year almost 2 years ago when we started to remodel the kitchen. Have never missed it since. Something just seems unhealthy doing that to food one eats.

  8. Dishwasher yes! When I was hand washing dishes because ours was broken I felt like a slave to the sink, and I’ve got eczema on my hands so that much water is not helpful. But the microwave? No! We are putting our in our laundry room because I didn’t want it in my kitchen when I did our kitchen design and Reno!

  9. For the last five years, I have been living in a house with an original 1952 kitchen and there is no easy place to slide in or otherwise fit a built indishwasher, so I have been using a portable one. When I visit other homes for overnight visits, I am always so amazed at how lovely it is to just push a button and turn on the dishwasher! For us, it is a major event every time it is run. Dishwasher must be rolled over to sink, can’t use sink for the hour it takes the dishwasher to run, and it is very, very noisy. I have a kitchen remodel scheduled for the fall (finally!), and one of the things I am most looking forward to is a built in, quiet dishwasher! One thing that is worth noting is that every study I have read claims that no matter how little water you THINK you are using when you hand wash, a dish washer uses less.

    As far a microwaves go- I have never had a built in one (Homes where I live just outside of Boston just don’t seem to have the that much!) so I have always had a small, counter -top one (I can;t believe how big some of the built in ones appear to be!). We use it daily – steaming vegetables, reheating leftovers are the primary use. Life without them would mean an increase in dirty pots as those thing would have to be done on the stove top. At times I also appreciate the instant-ness of the microwave!

  10. Both necessary. I run my dishwasher about 11 cycles a week. We’re planning on building a house in the next few years and we’ve already decided it has to have dual dishwashers. Microwaves, I have to have one but don’t like them built in. There’s hardly anything worse in a kitchen than an a built in microwave over the stove. We use ours a few times every day for warming up maple syrup, softening or melting butter, bringing buttermilk to room temp, defrosting blueberries and the occasional reheating of takeout.

  11. we found out our dishwasher was not usable after moving in to our new home! After a night of being upset, I settled into a new norm for now of hand washing dishes – at least until I am ready to buy a new one, but I have other things higher on priority list! We rarely use a microwave, but it is nice to have those few times we do want it!

  12. The dishwasher is necessary for me, but we have lived without a microwave for five years. It was a conscious decision based on the way food tastes, space, and looks.

  13. If I bought a house that came with a dishwasher, I would most likely use it. But I don’t miss having a dishwasher. Only 3 in our house, so its no big deal, and I love looking out the window over the sink & getting my hands clean & sudsy. Also, I’m looking at ways to cut energy consumption in our house, and running a dishwasher every day sounds it like runs up the energy bill. I also try to hang dry my clothes outside during the summer & I have an indoor drying rack too. I might use our microwave twice a week, but I do appreciate having one. I’m surprised in the comments people say don’t like the look of an over the stove microwave, I thought that most people preferred that style, and I was kind of bummed that we can’t do it in our kitchen. Guess its out of style now.

  14. I can live without a microwave, but no way on the dishwasher. We have a family of 6. We do not have a dishwasher, and I loathe washing dishes and the management that comes along with getting the kids to do the task. The only thing I am sure of regarding our kitchen remodel next year is the dishwasher. I am going to love running that thing more than once per day. :D

  15. I haven’t had a dishwasher for the past 7 years and I miss it. It is so much easier to keep the kitchen looking clean with one. Plus, I do a lot of cooking and canning and it would make my life so much easier. We mostly use the microwave for re-heating or defrosting food. A toaster oven would probably do the trick instead of a microwave, though.

    I was curious…would you mind sharing the color you used on the cabinets in the Las Vegas house when you do the kitchen remodel reveal? That’s exactly the color I’d like to do on my own kitchen cabinets and I know that blue-greys can sometimes be tricky. Thanks!

    • Hi Pam, the color is “Harbor” by Cliq Studios, see it here: http://www.cliqstudios.com/kitchen-cabinet-samples/
      You could order a sample but I’ll try to remember to color match it to a paint swatch next time I’m there!

      And thanks so much everyone for your insight, I really love reading how we all live so differently, great conversation today!


  16. Both are necessities! I grew up without a dishwasher so that was always my job. I absolutely hate to wash dishes by hand! I do wash my pots and pans by hand, but that’s it. I really wish our microwave wasn’t above the stove. Now that my kids are old enough to use it, they can’t reach it. My daughter uses a wheelchair, so she will never be able to reach it unless we renovate. :(

  17. I have a Bosch dishwasher, and I loathe it. It is quiet, but it does not have a food chopper, so I often have to hand wash baked-on food particles from the inside of glasses. Yuck. Really miss my Kenmore from our old house. I’ve been thinking lately that I’d rather have the cabinet space than the dishwasher, truth be told. If it were not for heating up a rice bag for my aching shoulder, I’d be ready to ditch the microwave too. It’s over the stove, and in the first place, it gets grody from cooking splatters. In the second place, I am perpetually afraid one of my kids (or myself) is going to get burned either by taking something hot out of the microwave, ore from leaning too close to the stove top.

  18. I use my microwave and dishwasher all the time. I am a working mom and my kids don’t eat breakfast food, so I’m frequently warming up leftovers in a hurry in the morning. Microwaves do definitely depend on the resident. I would hardly use it if it weren’t for 7 a.m. quesadillas.

    I like the dishwasher for coffee cups and sippy cups, but that is about all I use it for. That said, when I have a big crowd, I’m always thankful for the bottom rack.

  19. Both are essential for me. I’ve been a renter for a long time, and at this point I immediately turn down any rental that has no dishwasher. My husband and I do not thrive on housework, so a dishwasher is essential to keep the peace. We also use the microwave daily — I make extra servings every time I cook so we can have homemade leftovers the rest of the week. Kitchens look lovely without them, but kitchens aren’t for looks, when it comes down to it.

  20. My husband used to love our dishwasher, but when I took over the chore, I went back to hand washing. I remember hating dishwashing as a child, but now I just get organized, get in the zen, and go for it. I don’t have to worry about what will be ruined in the dishwasher and can use all kinds of things that aren’t “dishwasher safe.” And loading and unloading is not an issue. We were the last people we knew to buy a microwave, but now I can’t imagine life without it. I use it a dozen times a day, and I love the over-the-stove model.

  21. Both are essential to my family. Neither my husband nor I enjoy washing dishes, and with the very dry winters we both had issues with our hands cracking under too much hot water — even when we started using gloves! So the dishwasher absolutely helps. And since there are only two of us, and many recipes serve at least 4, we use the microwave frequently for leftovers.
    Yes, I want the kitchen to be pretty, but this is a space where “form FOLLOWS function” is of utmost importance!

  22. I’m used to no dishwasher, and prefer it with the exception of having to use counter space to dry dishes (even for a short time while I am finishing the washing/before the drying). Microwaves are weird for me, I used to use them all the time for everything but then I met someone who never used them, thought they were strange and not a healthy way to reheat food or anything, and I’ve kind of grown accustomed to that. Basically, I don’t think I NEED either.

    – Kaitlyn | http://www.TheCrownFox.com

  23. Both are necessities for us. We microwave vegetable steam packs and leftovers daily. Sometimes for oatmeal. Microwaves over the stove are too high for me and I don’t like to take up counter space with them. When we built our current house, we put the microwave above our wall oven. It works out very well. I cannot always get to the dishes right away, and I really dislike a sink full of dirty dishes, so into the dishwasher they go. Our sink is in our island which is a focal point in the kitchen/great room. I put everything in the dishwasher but pots, pans and crystal. Everything comes out clean and most importantly, out of view.

  24. I consider both to be necessary evils! We are empty nesters too, so we use the microwave often. We got a Bosch dishwasher last year after our old one died. I love how quiet it is, so quiet that I can’t hear if it’s started running! But no food impeller, and the spacers are so tightly placed, it’s hard to load efficiently. We find we have to hand wash more than before. And the microwave is over the range, which I never had before, and I hate everything about it! The exhaust fan is so loud I don’t use it, and it is a constant cleaning issue. I will never have this setup again. If we remodel before we find a new home, I plan to make many changes to the kitchen. We didn’t see the layout before the kitchen was done, and it was designed poorly. Live and learn!

  25. I don’t want to live without either, but one thing that strikes me is the loathing people have for built in miccrowave ovens! Really? I would prefer that it was tucked away neatly in a corner, but in my small kitchen it totally makes sense to have it built in over the stove.

  26. We didn’t start out with the intention of living without a microwave, but when we moved from one fixer upper to yet another fixer upper in November there was no microwave. It has been 8 months and we still have not purchased one. The truth is that I was not sure if we were going to go with white or stainless appliances, and I didn’t want to buy one and then decide on another direction. But after 8 months of no microwave, I am leaning towards keeping it that way. We have a smaller kitchen and no pantry. I can’t imagine taking up counter or cabinet space with something we can clearly live without. As for the dishwasher, I have lived with and without one. I will sacrifice cabinet space any day in favor of a dishwasher. It just makes keeping the kitchen clutter free so much easier.

  27. thanks for a good laugh this morning! I haven’t even read the post yet but couldn’t wait to comment on the title! I know lots of people who don’t use microwaves but I was raised in the 50s and think dishwashers are a necessity. Some days I run mine w/a full load twice. It takes more water to hand wash and for sure takes more effort and time. We got a vacation home last summer and the first thing I insisted on was a dishwasher. My husband knows and loves me and I was ready to go the second day in.

  28. Love them both, use them both all the time. Difficult for me is always microwave placement. I have yet to live in a house with a ginormous kitchen. In a small kitchen with limited counter and pantry space, the microwave tends to go up high (over the range, in a higher cabinet) or in a lower cabinet, and either way things slosh and spill. Cleaning is tricky. Repositioning the tray, if there is one, is tricky.

  29. we don’t have a microwave OR dishwasher! I like washing dishes by hand (even though technically a dishwasher uses less water, and being in SoCal means we should PROBABLY be doing what we can to use less water…) and my boyfriend usually just cooks everything. Plus I feel like things taste better when heated up not in a microwave. We have a microwave at work, I use it for lunch, but in general I’ve been good without one. It’s been a little under two years without a dishwasher or microwave, and I am good without them!

  30. Well, I think all of us in the drought states (CA!!) should be using their dishwasher and not handwashing or prewashing. If you look up hand washing vs. dishwashing, hand washing wastes so much water. I’d rather save water there and be able to dump a bucket of water a day on one of my plants that I don’t water anymore! Sometimes the things that we like need to be put aside for the greater good:( Especially with your Bosch which is super water efficient.

  31. You may not believe this but I have never had a dishwasher!! We use the microwave quite often and wouldn’t like to do without it but probably could. I have always thought about getting a dishwasher but always thought why? I would still have to load/unload, put the dishes up etc.

  32. Couldn’t do without either. I don’t enjoy washing dishes by hand, plus dishwashers save water (and in Southern California, that’s a big issue). And if I never steamed vegetables or heated leftovers, I guess I could do without a microwave.

    I did hate my over-the-range model, and I hate cluttered countertops, so when we remodeled, I went with a microwave drawer. It was honestly a lesser-of-three-evils choice – I thought I wouldn’t like the drawer model, but I LOVE it. Very conveniently located, but out of view.

  33. If I lived alone, I could easily do without either! In fact, after moving to Seattle last fall on my own (the hubs came out 3 months later), I lived without a microwave the whole time and was fine. It took a little getting used to, but it wasn’t that bad!

    As for the dishwasher…I could only function without one if I lived alone. We have a rule in our house that whoever cooks (usually me) doesn’t do dishes. This means I have to rely on my husband to do them each night. Let’s just say I’m lucky if he does them half the time – and even then, he seems to define “doing the dishes” as loading the dishwasher and walking away. I’m currently staring at a kitchen counter covered in pots and pans he didn’t touch. Kinda starting to wonder if I need to start making him cook a few nights a week so I can have a clean kitchen for once!

  34. A dishwasher is a must for me. I can handle pots and pans by hand and a few other items, but overall clean up is just so much faster and easier with a dishwasher.

    The microwave on the other hand, we do without. Our current rental doesn’t have one and they only time we miss it is when we have those days we get home from work and we’re just starving! the extra 5 minutes heating leftovers on the stove top is agonizing on those days! lol

  35. Microwave: Steaming, reheating, cooking, melting, popcorn, etc. It won’t heat up the house as much as the oven or stove in our hot climate(triple digits in summer). Our current house came with a over stove model- never used except for its timer. It exhausts into my husband’s face. Not pleasant reaching up over cooking items on stove to remove the hot dish from the microwave. Over the stove models also tend to die quicker from the stove steam exposure. We brought our counter top custom ordered microwave from the previous house to this one. It fits our largest casserole dishes for cooking or reheating and it easier to use and clean for the shorter folks in this household..

    Dishwasher- our kitchen workhorse. In our hot dry and drought climate large state – not CA- it saves water usage and is encouraged in this state. Not everything can go in the dishwasher, but running it when at least one level is full is no problem.
    The doubters can research through the water boards and see the figures for themselves. Bosch makes quiet versions at various price points.

  36. I make big dinners and eat lots of leftovers for breakfast and lunch, so the microwave gets a lot of use. We could probably live without a dishwasher though.

  37. I lived with out a dishwasher for the last ten years while we were finishing school and then grad school through the births of 3 children and now we moved in to a place with a dishwasher and every time I load the dishwasher and close it I take a second to be grateful for it. IT used to just be awful because my kitchen never looked clean because there were always dishes sitting in the drying rack on the counter looking cluttered and messy.

  38. We do our dishes by hand now since there are just two of us, but still love having the option of the dishwasher if lazy to do dishes or too busy with another project. I mostly use the dishwasher when we have company so they will not feel compelled to jump in and help with the dishwashing!

    One important question …can anyone help me here? I love the look of the cabinet front on the dishwasher. In your top picture it shows only the handle to pull door open…so where are your dishwasher controls then, and how do you access them? Mine are on the front door, top eighth of door design and wondering what I do about that when I have the cabinet maker custom build cabinet door to attach to front of dishwasher. How does this work for those you who have this feature in your kitchen? Thanks

  39. You’re in California, you need to use your dishwasher and break yourself of the pre-rinse habit (I do too). Dishwashers use less water than hand washing. And actually get cleaner dishes done when you don’t wash everything off them first. So, go for the dishwasher, it’s a necessity to most people anyway.

    In our most recent remodel, we opted out of the over-range micro and put a very small one in a pantry because we don’t do more than reheat the occasional leftover in there.

  40. When we moved into a now-10 year old house five years ago, reconfiguring cabinetry and installing a dishwasher is one of the first things we did, after years of living in no-dishwasher apartment living. But having moved into a 90-something year old home last month with a tiny kitchen and no conceivable spot for a dishwasher at present, I don’t miss it nearly as much as I though I would. Having had kids three years ago, I found that there is always a need to hand wash a sinkful after every mealtime despite having a dishwasher, and so adding the few that I would normally put into the dishwasher, to my sinkful, is no big deal. We plan to redo the kitchen next summer and will probably try to make room for a dishwasher then, more for resale potential. I feel more ambivalent towards it myself now.
    A microwave on the other hand, I still find myself using at least daily. We did at least replace our old monstrosity with a much smaller and cuter model a couple weeks after our move to the house with the tiny kitchen though!

  41. Although I pre rinse the dishes clean I will like the sanitize feature of the dishwasher. I use the microwave to basically zap my coffee hot again when it cools off. I enjoy both appliances very much.

  42. I only use the dishwasher when we have guest over. Mainly because I don’t want to waste my visiting time doing chores. I could totally see my family living without a dishwasher, microwave, and hell lets throw in the tub as well. The only reason we will likely have a tub in our next house will be due to the addition of children to the household.

  43. Microwave is a must for my household. I have a 45-minute commute so I typically want a quick dinner when I get home and this often means popping leftovers into the microwave. Like you, I could do without a dishwasher. I hand wash most of my items, even the ones I then put in the dishwasher haha I see a dishwasher as a disinfector rather than a machine that cleans if that makes sense.


  44. I also have a GE profile dishwasher and loathe it. i don’t even bother putting most dishes in it as I will have to hand wash them anyway b/c the dishwasher will never get them clean. We bought an Asko dishwasher (European brand) for our first house and it was by far the best dishwasher I had ever used. We use our microwave almost everyday usually heating leftovers or steaming veggies. I don’t think I could live w/o a microwave.

  45. I used my dishwater all the time when my 3 boys were growing up but now that they’re on their own and it’s just hubby and me, I haven’t used one in years. I just hand wash everything, dry it and put it away. As for my microwave, I use it quite a lot!

  46. I use both frequently for water,energy and time efficiency. KitchenAid is the only DW as far as I’m concerned. After redoing over 100 houses in my lifetime,j Ive seen dozens of old DW. Every single KA was still working like a champ despite their age. They’re more expensive, but the models without the bells and whistles clean as well as those with them. I’ve collected dirty dishes in mine for over a week and they still come out spotless. The start/delay feature is a favorite.

    I would think most renters of a holiday home would expect a microwave. I actually cook in mine, but with a beautiful copper Chambers stove recently installed, I find that I WANT to use it less! :)

  47. I have lived with – and without – both. I love having a dishwasher but I don’t use or need a microwave. It’s silly to pay up to 10x as much for a built-in microwave as you would for a countertop model that has the same features. It’s kind of a racket IMHO. Love your kitchen!

  48. we keep a microwave in the basement and it may get used every few months for heating coffee. We just did a house reno with new kitchen and after 13 years, finally got another dishwasher at the same time we became empty nesters. And I got the panel front too!

  49. I have a microwave/convection oven combination that I love. Use the convection oven all the time and microwave occasionally, for leftover warm ups and coffee. My only complaint is that it is over the stove and is supposed to be the exhaust for the stove but it is not vented so it is not really efficient.

  50. Absolutely yes for the dishwasher! Microwave is a nice convenience but could get along fine without it.

  51. Both are necessary!! I love a sani rinse for the kids. I can clean bottles in it and keep germs at bay during cold season. We have a KitchenAid and they actually make the quietest dishwashers available and it washes better than our old Bosch.

  52. I haven’t had a microwave in 8 years and I don’t miss it at all. I was never really comfortable heating my food in one anyway. But I’ve also been without a dishwasher for 8 years and I wish I had room for one. I hate washing dishes and I honestly don’t think I’m very good at it.

  53. For our two-person household a dishwasher is nice but not completely necessary. A microwave is important for us, since sometimes we both have evening meetings that fall through, all our quick dinners are in the freezer, and THEN WHAT?? ;)

  54. Hi Kate. I CANNOT WAIT to see your Vegas kitchen. That entire house is such an amazing transformation. Like a completely different house

  55. In my home I could do without a dishwasher. I appreciate the convience and that it uses so little water (especially during this California drought) but don’t find it a necessity. However, if I rented a home for a vacation and it didn’t have a microwave I would be disappointed enough to complain.

  56. Living without a dishwasher is fine if its 1 or 2 people and you don’t go through too many dishes.

    However for a family, a dishwasher is a major time saver. With a typical 4-5 people family, you’re running through a huge quantity of dishes and there’s no way I can imagine our family doing without a dishwasher!

  57. Even though there’s only two of us, the dishes issue has been a dividing force in our marriage since day one. I’m one of those crazy people who thinks that dishes should be clean before they’re put away. It’s so gross to pull a plate out of the cabinet and it still have some food on it. Yuck! My husband and I disagree on what is considered “clean”. Our old dishwasher was on his side. So as a result I washed every single dirty dish in our house for 7 years… enter Miele. I LOVE my Miele dishwasher! It actually *gasp* cleans the dishes! It was a huge splurge, ridiculous really, except when you factor in that they last nearly 20 years. It has been, no joke, the best thing we’ve ever bought. And they all lived happily ever after…

  58. I have great memories of my mom and I washing dishes growing up. We lived on a farm in Iowa and we had a kitchen window that looked out to the west. Beautiful sunsets, good conversations, a few water fights, it was all good. We do have a dishwasher, but sometimes I drag our girls over to a sink full of dishes, just for the chance to talk. I think they secretly like it. :)
    We never really “cook” in our microwave. Just defrost and reheat.

  59. We use a microwave fairly frequently. I cook at home almost every night, but with only two adults and a toddler, we almost always have leftovers. And I’m not one for cold lasagna. When we gut our kitchen, we will replace our over the range microwave with one hidden in a cabinet.
    As for the dishwasher, I did read somewhere that a dishwasher does get your dishes cleaner than hand washing, but to each their own! :) I would however, love a quiet one. But the cheap one that came with our house does such a great job, we aren’t really in a rush to replace it.

  60. Dishwasher.. Ah yeah, 2 small kids and 2 adults, I love my dishwasher.
    Microwave- we remodeled our prev house kitchen and I sold our microwave intending not to put one back as it was a small galley kitchen and I dislike it being on the bench. Moved to our new house that has a underbench microwave space but we still have not bought one. It holds my food processer and mixer instead. Although I occasionally think I need one I just get out a pot/jug and reheat/cook. The only thing I really miss it for is popcorn haha

  61. I lived without a microwave for about 5 years and I never missed it. Not once, not at all. And now we have one again and I use it 5 times a day. But I think if it disappeared I would be completely fine without it. Funny that I use it so frequently, but actually don’t feel like I need it.

    Something that I have found interesting: I love to cook and bake. The microwave that was in the house when we moved in is a convection oven also and it’s the oven I use 95% of the time, I hardly ever turn on our big oven anymore, the convection is more efficient and easier (ours is an LG SolarDom). If I was doing a kitchen remodel and was tight on space I’d happily give up a full size oven and make do with a convention oven/microwave combo. I never would have expected that!

    We got a dishwasher for the first time ever last year. I love it, and am so happy to have it. I could live without it, as I did for 30+ years, but I’m so happy to have it.

  62. We use neither a microwave nor dishwasher! Our microwave went out almost 4 years ago, in a previous house, even. While the first few months were a little trying, we quickly learned to get by without and haven’t missed it. As for the dishwasher, we have a functioning dishwasher I’ve never used. I became dissatisfied with the complacency my children were learning with the dishwasher, even if they had to load/unload dishes. I felt they needed to learn to wash, they needed to learn the scrupulous detail of hand washing and recognizing a clean plate, so we hand wash all dishes and immediately dry and put up to avoid dishes sitting on counters. This helps keep our very small kitchen that much cleaner.

  63. I use my microwave everyday. It does such a great job at heating left overs, warming liquids, melting butter, making oatmeal etc. There are dishwashers, mine included, where you do not have to do anything but remove major food off your plates. They’ve proven they can use less water and clean better than hand washing. Do you HAVE to have it? No, but why wouldn’t you? I grew up with 3 sisters and WE were the dishwasher

  64. I made a promise to myself when I was a child hand washing and drying dishes everyday…I would own a dishwasher and use it! (we had a portable one but my mother would never use it (it cost too much to run it?!?). I also made myself another promise that I wouldn’t have to use the same cup or glass all day. I could get another for each drink if I wanted. We only got 1 solo cup to use until it broke-are you sensing a theme of cheapness here on the part of my mother? So…a dishwasher is a necessity in my life. My husband uses the microwave to heat up his frozen grits every morning and my daughter uses it to heat up water for her sinus rinse, otherwise I only use it about 2x a week to steam vegetables for dinner. It’s only use in our house is to heat, defrost or sanitize cleaning sponges. In fact I just replaced all my appliances and got the cheapest and smallest one possible.

  65. I knew that I had to comment since you have posted a very interesting question. I would miss my microwave tremendously and I think many people don’t realize how wonderful if is for cooking vegetables. The Victory Garden Cookbook was a great teacher to me as a young bride and I learned that all veggies can be cooked quickly and well, even corn on the cob in the husks! The microwave is the best for heating up leftovers, especially after the holidays. I consider the microwave a useful and essential cooking helper.
    I do not have a dishwasher, though not by choice and even though it is just me, I still miss my old one. My first one never did a decent job, but its replacement was a time saver. I MIGHT be more likely to cook more elaborately, but I have to admit, I don’t like having to do all the dishes afterwards. A good dishwasher is a fantastic help in the kitchen, especially if you like to cook. The only positive thing about not having a dishwasher is that my vintage glasses and dishes will survive longer without the punishment of dishwashing detergents.

  66. Washing dishes by hand uses more water than a dishwasher. Dishwashers are very water efficient. Most people don’t realize that. This is a key thing to keep in mind in regions that are experiencing extreme drought or have limited water resources. If you choose to wash dishes by hand, please don’t leave the water running while you wash.

  67. Dishwashers use less water and I have the dry cycle turned off. I don’t care to wash anything but I do hand wash knives, if my husband is around. He hand washes a lot and it seems so wasteful.
    We use the microwave every day. I couldn’t believe how difficult and expensive it is to buy the perfect teakettle, so I use a beaker (with a handle) in the microwave in place of a teakettle.

  68. Your timing on this post is quite perfect as we have a GE Profile dishwasher that will be replaced by a Bosch one this Thursday. I can’t wait! Glad to hear you like your current one much more. I do agree that many things in our house are washed by hand too, but the dishwasher comes in handy when things get busy.
    We also use our microwave a fair amount, from heating up soup or leftovers to softening up butter for recipes for baking. My husband also warms up water for his tea that way.

  69. The brown tile in the Las Vegas kitchen doesn’t complement the gray cabinets. Perhaps a gray with more blue would have worked better.

  70. ABSOLUTELY! They are a MUST! I love my Frigidaire dishwasher. I bought the same model for a vacation home. I use my microwave everyday….of course many times I find my morning coffee cup in the microwave as I’m putting something to defrost in it in the evening. I use it for frozen vegetables, melting butter or chocolate, boiling water for tea, and a lot more. Nope, cant live without either one, and I think everyone EXPECTS these appliances in a kitchen. Not having them would severely limit the saleability of your home/condo.

  71. Yes, I would expect a modern and very functional microwave and dishwasher. Also, you would definitely get extra points if there is a garbage disposal, which I almost consider an essential amenity. And an icemaker.

    The home is stunningly beautiful, your Aunt is a very lucky woman.

  72. I haven’t had a dishwasher in over 15 years. Even when I had one, I always rinsed my dishes before putting them. It might make life easier but, I personally find that a dishwasher never gets the dishes quite as clean as hand washing and, I find it etches my glasses. We rinse our dishes when we are finished eating, put them in the sink and at the end of the day, after dinner, wash the dishes. It really doesn’t take that much time to do. If I am making a big roast or baking, I clean up as I go along.

    That said, I don’t have kids so I think if I did, I probably would run out and buy a dishwasher!

    I have a microwave but rarely use it. Mostly to warm up stuff. I could probably go without. I prefer to use my toaster oven.

  73. We’re moving into our new house in a couple of weeks and the first thing we are doing is pulling down the old (and pretty much broken) microwave hood. Microwaves are just so unsightly that we’re planning on having one in the pantry that we can pull out to use when we need it.


  74. Drought + California = use your dishwasher! In agreement with other comments above, the dishwasher is such a water saver I can’t imagine it not being part of a conservation-minded, functioning and busy family kitchen. That being said, I do handwash some things that are too big for the dishwasher.
    Microwave – not so much. Heating water is all I do with it.
    Thanks for a fun post!

  75. I’m with Mel – I have a Bosch dishwasher and I despise it. The joke in our house is that it’s so quiet because its not working! I find I have rinse every dish and glass, forget pots and pans, before it goes into the dishwasher, otherwise they don’t get clean and I find particles all over the bottom of the washer. This was a highly rated model. When I contacted customer service, they told me I was using the wrong detergent (which was the brand recommended in their manual) and then they told me I was loading it incorrectly (also the way they recommended in the manual). I miss our old Kenmore and we plan to replace the bad Bosch soon! I don’t mind hand washing dishes but I hate the fact I’m doing it because the machine can’t handle it. This machine is 2 years ago and the waste bothers me.

    As for the microwave, we use it a few times daily for various things. Ours is mounted in the upper cabinets and I would like to change that as I am short! I don’t think anything will change anytime soon. I would like to stash one in the pantry.

  76. Have had a dishwasher in every apartment I’ve lived in before and after my marriage and of course one in the home my late husband and I shared. The only times we used that one were when his family came to visit. In my last apartment pre-marriage, I stored the silver I inherited from my mother. In my current home, it’s me and 3 fuzzball felines who eat wet and dry food so I’m rinsing food bowls and cans a couple of times a day every day (recycling requires a light rinse of cans). Even when I’ve served dinner for four, have preferred to wash by hand rather than load and unload the machine. I too have a window over the sink and tend to move easily into that zen state.

    Ditched the on-the-counter microwave – too big and too little counterspace. Installed a microwave/convection oven over the stove and I like it there. Don’t usually cook on the stovetop and use the microwave at the same time. Don’t use the oven as it’s a 30-year-old appliance with no manuals and not even sure it works (my best friend baked frequently in her 30+-year-old oven until one day 15 minutes into the process, her kitchen filled with smoke and a horrible burnt smell, and she discovered the heating element had disintegrated and fallen off the back of the oven – quite terrifying). Since the burners work fine on the old range, plan to keep it for now and use the oven for storage and the microwave/convection oven for any baking.

    Really does depend on the user, doesn’t it?

  77. I use my dishwasher and microwave every day. I could do without, as I have before, but why? My husband will hand wash the dishes sometimes (I know!) but he doesn’t get them clean and I put them in the dishwasher when he isn’t looking.

    I have a 50+yo stove that we’ve replaced the heating element 3 times. I have a new stove in the garage waiting until we get someone to rewire the kitchen to 220W. I can’t wait! The old one is missing all the knobs except the oven one which doesn’t help a lot because I have to adjust the temp (guess) before baking anything. Which is another reason I use my microwave so much!

  78. We haven’t had a mocrowave for a while now, though we do use a toaster oven which I think makes everything taste better anyways.

    As far as a dishwasher goes, not sure what I would do without it.

  79. We have a Fisher & Paykel 2 drawer dishwasher & love it! Also could not live without our microwave! I don’t have a big vent over it, so it is NOT an eye sore. My problem is my “newly” remodeled kitchen is now 10 years old (boring cherry wood cabinets with boring brown/beige speckled granite)that one sees everywhere is so DATED! I have added lots of white & wood elements, along with fresh greenery to liven up the place, but I am SO STUCK!!! Any suggestions Kate?? With two girls in college our budget is limited. Oh & the hub will NOT let me have them painted white! H E L P!!!

  80. We never used a microwave until, after 10 years of marriage, we brought our baby home. Once he started eating solids, we ran out and got a microwave. You can microwave a sweet potato in 4 minutes. It takes an hour in the oven. Obviously we could be all organized about it and do a bunch ahead, but that was not happening. My husband is still mad about this bc when he redesigned our kitchen, he made me swear that we would never want a microwave. I didn’t know what I didn’t know!

    We went about 8 years without a dishwasher.I never particularly minded washing dishes by hand Then we got one when we redid the kitchen and oh my goodness it is my favorite thing. I love the sound it makes, the beautiful sound of me not washing the dishes. We do not rinse the plates before they go in and they always emerge sparkling clean. It’s just a cheap Ikea one, so maybe if your nice Bosch isn’t doing this, check your water hardness? We use the generic Kirkland dishwasher pellet thingies. They work so much better than the liquid or powder alternatives. Not sure why, honestly.

    So I would not buy or rent a house with no dishwasher, but if our kids were older, we would buy/rent with no microwave. I still do popcorn on the stove, so the microwave is mostly used to heat food for fractious children

  81. I could do without a microwave. It would take a little adjustment, like reheating meals in the oven instead of the microwave, but I could do it. I would loathe living without a dishwasher. I empty mine every morning, fill it through out the day, and run it at night. Sometimes, we have to hand wash a few dinner dishes, but with two small kids home all day long, I don’t want to waste a minute of free time hand washing dishes.

  82. I could live without a microwave before a dishwasher. I use the microwave’s timer more than the actual microwave. That timer is much more convenient than the one on the actual oven!

  83. We use our microwave several times a day but I would much rather have a small one in the closed pantry than our bulky black box over the stove. The dishwasher is used every other day and having lived with and without I have to say I enjoy the convenience but not the look. Ours is old and noisy but we don’t want to replace it as we plan on moving within a year or two. Using the name brand detergent pods makes a big difference in getting the dishes cleaner in an older dishwasher.

  84. I use my microwave every day for many different things. Warming, reheating, disinfecting. I would miss it very much. I would not miss the dishwasher very much. There are just two of us living here now, and although I cook a lot, there just isn’t that much to wash. Our dishwasher does get our dishes very clean. We use a Finish pod, and it works quite nicely. When we remodel our kitchen, I am considering a drawer microwave. I just don’t care for how they look mounted out in the open, so that will probably be our choice.

  85. with the drought we are having in California, I find myself using my dishwasher daily as opposed to maybe 1x a week at most in the past. The newer dishwashers (in the last 3 – 4 yrs) are more water efficient than washing it by hand.

  86. I agree the microwave over ovens look unattractive and have never seen that in either Australia or New Zealand. We have a benchtop microwave which we had put under an upper cabinet at the end of the bench nearest the sink. You can’t see it unless you are standing at the sink. It is a flat bed one with no turntable so bigger dishes fit in and wiping it is done daily when cleaning up after dinner. We use it daily for oatmeal in the morning, heating coffee, reheating left overs and melting butter when baking. We don’t cook anything other than vegetables or lobsters in it. Corn on the cob done in the husk it sensational! We were without a dishwasher for nine years at our last place, a tiny company-owned house, and when we moved here and remodeled the kitchen in December one was installed. I turn it on every night and empty while my coffee is brewing every morning. I never fail to be grateful every time I hear it working! When we have weekend guests it can run two or more times a day. Necessary? No, it’s not but my goodness it is a wonderful luxury!

  87. I love my dishwasher, but I do find myself doing a fair bit of handwashing as well (pots, pans, sippy cups). However, I haven’t had a microwave in about four years and I only miss it occasionally (when I want popcorn). Do I need a dishwasher? No, but it is nice to have and keeps me from washing dishes two-three times a day like before.

  88. When we bought our first house it didn’t come with a microwave and we didn’t own one. Since we had a lot of “startup costs” we said we would buy one when we got annoyed with not having one . . . two years later we still hardly notice and have no plans to buy one!

  89. Your kitchen is a beauty, and I can’t wait to see more of the other kitchen it looks fantastic!! I always use a dishwasher & microwave I think because of the convenience so I would have to say yes I would need it :) I think instead of a microwave a toaster oven would work to!

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  90. With #5 on the way we use both a lot! Kids generate a ton of dishes. Also my hubbie works late every night as he owns his own business so he has to reheat dinner when he gets home.

  91. My mother lived with me for quite a while & she did not believe in microwaving food. She convinced me that it was not good for you & that messing with the molecular structure of food was unhealthy. I quit microwaving and I don’t really miss it. I seldom buy pre prepared frozen dinners but when I do, I pop them out of their plastic container into a pan, add a smidge of water, cover & heat on low or if they can be heated in the oven, I use the toaster oven. When microwaves were new, I used them to steam vegetables, heat a cup of water etc. I never liked the way they baked potatoes compared to the crisp skin achieved in a conventional oven.
    As for the dishwasher, I use it after company but prefer to hand wash dishes. I catch the rinse water, carry it outside and use it to water my potted plants. Granted, sometimes, I have to take it outside a few times while rinsing but-I’m using not wasting the water.

  92. I haven’t had a dishwasher for 7 or 8 years now. I rarely miss it. Like you, I wash my pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, etc by hand. Throwing in a few dishes and silverware just doesn’t seem worth it. We have a one year old, and she has survived a year of hand-washing her bottles just fine.

    Even when I did have one, I feel like it’s a waste for just two people. Plus, there were always disagreements about emptying it with the roommates. I also feel like it’s easy to be wasteful with dishes with a dishwasher and ultimately waste water. With no dishwasher, we each just use one cup per day, and we sometimes reuse plates if they didn’t really get dirty. As long as we keep on top of the dishes by washing each night, we’re good to go.

    We do have a microwave, but I think I could live just fine without it. It’s a convenience thing — easy to have and use. But, without it, I’d just heat stuff up on the stove.

    In short, nice to have, but definitely not necessary.

  93. We were without a dishwasher for several months this year. My old one went out and I really don’t mind handwashing, but find I did miss it for keeping my sink and counters clear. I went with a Kenmore this time, and for the first time in 40 years, I really don’t have to rinse before putting them in!! It is also very quiet, the cycle is long, but I try to run it at night when I’m not in the kitchen. The dishes come out so sparkly clean!! The salesman told us that a stainless tub is quieter than a plastic one, I didn’t have to spend a fortune for it either, $499. My microwave is now in a storage room off the kitchen, but we only use it 1 or 2 times a week. Our more used appliance is a toaster oven, gets used daily! Our guys even have one in their work trailer for their construction company! Trying to get away from the microwave thing!

  94. Interesting thread.

    My over-the-stove microwave died a year ago. I’m planning a kitchen remodel and decided to see if I could live without it. Seems like I can since I hardly miss it, except for cleaning sponges. My college-aged daughter, on the other hand, can’t stand that I don’t have one. With the remodel a small microwave will be tucked in a new pantry cupboard. I suspect I’ll mostly use it to reheat coffee and clean sponges. I’m actually preferring food reheated in the veggie steamer.

    Same kitchen is extra short of counter space and I like the dishwasher because it gets lots of dishes out of the way fast. Even if I don’t use it as a dishwasher its a great drying rack – much better than the oven since the oven gets turned on and destroys the plastic covers drying inside it.

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