In 1850, the first patent for a mechanical dishwasher looked something like this: it was lit by hand and made of wood. Today’s dishwashers are smarter, fully mechanical, require minimal human effort, and give you more time for yourself and your family. However, washing dishes the old way – yes, by hand – could be giving you health benefits that no dishwasher can.

9 health benefits of hand washing dishes

1. Encourage mindfulness

“Mindfulness” is a term that many people use in various areas and industries. We understand mindfulness as “a state of active and open attention in the present.” That is, being self-aware and focused on the exact actions you are taking rather than thinking about the past or the future. In other words, being in the now.

Studies suggest that hand washing dishes is linked to mindfulness and can affect our health in a number of ways. We have included them as sub-benefits.

2. Reduce stress

In a Florida State University study , researchers had half a group read a short descriptive passage about dishwashing, while the other half read a brief passage about consciously washing dishes. After that, the fifty-one students washed the dishes.

A big part of the goal of the study was to see if manual dishwashing could be used to promote alertness and thus well-being. Interestingly, the researchers observed a 25% increase in feelings of inspiration and a 27% decrease in nervousness levels in those who mindfully washed dishes. Also, those who washed the dishes the other way, that is, without mindfulness, did not reap any benefit from the task.

3. Relax

When you consider that some research reveals that washing dishes is the leading cause of disagreement between housework, the word “relax” seems wildly out of place.

According to psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman, however, “the soft, warm, scented foam in the sink induces a relaxed mood, while performing the task produces a feeling of well-being.”

4. Fewer allergies

The “hygiene hypothesis” holds that humans can benefit from getting dirty. Additionally, it appears that hyper-clean environments are a huge reason why childhood allergies have increased dramatically in recent years.

In fact, a 2015 study found that washing dishes by hand lowers the risk of developing allergic diseases in children ages seven to eight. Researchers concluded that illnesses in children from families who washed dishes by hand were less common than those who machine washed their dishes. But always use natural, non-toxic dish detergent.

5. Boost the immune system

Study co-author Dr. Bill Hesselmar commented on the pediatric article mentioned above: “If you are exposed to microbes, especially in the first few years of life, it stimulates the immune system in various ways and becomes tolerant.”

So while washing dishes by hand is a messy and time-consuming task, it can benefit your children’s health in the long run. And these benefits are something you miss out on if you put your dishes directly into the automatic dishwasher.

6. Teach children independence

One task that many children fear is doing the dishes. Very few people enjoy dealing with foamy water, floating food particles, and wrinkled fingertips. Regardless of how annoying the idea of ​​washing dishes by hand can be, this act teaches children to clean up afterwards on their own.

Parents can sometimes ask or tell their children to do something without explaining why. But if you take the time to explain the importance of cleaning themselves afterwards (in addition to the health benefits), chances are they will remember your life lessons. And when the day comes when they grow up and seek independence, washing dishes will be a lifelong skill.

7. Best for delicate dishes

Unless you use special or delicate dishes all the time, this probably won’t affect you significantly. But for those family functions where you take out your great-grandmother’s plate set or china, you may want to avoid dishwashers. Even in a delicate wash cycle.

Instead, wash it by hand. In this way you will have full control of how gently you wash them, how hot the water is, and where you are placing them for safety. Sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way.

8. More time with the family

If you have a child or more, washing dishes by hand is a perfect opportunity to bond with your children . Pull up a chair or stool and find a way to team up that works for everyone. Maybe wash and dry or dry and wash. Oh, and a few extra bubbles never hurt anyone (if you’re looking to have fun).

Washing dishes together allows us to ask about their day, learn more about their interests, answer questions they may have, and much more. You know very well that children really “say the strangest things.” You are likely to reflect on this brief but meaningful time with them and remember these moments when you need them most.

9. Use less water

This is not entirely true, as it depends entirely on your personal dishwashing habits. In a study from the University of Bonn in Germany , researchers found that washing dishes by hand uses more energy. By comparison, mechanical dishwashers use less soap, one-sixth the water, and half the energy.

The study makes a good case for continuing to use the machine, but the researchers acknowledge that they need more studies like this one to test dirty dishes and real-world conditions in the house. However, you can do a couple of things to make it more time efficient and energy saving while you wash it yourself. For example, try to scrape as much of the leftover food off your plates as possible. Also, you can keep the water off while you wash the dishes with soap.

Natural substitutes for dish detergent

Store-bought dish soaps include harmful chemicals. The FDA has even banned some brands of antibacterial dish soap. Many brands also use artificial fragrances which can cause medical problems.

To avoid these negative health effects and create a safer home for you, your family and the environment, use only natural detergents, today there are many recipes that you can make yourself from your own home and with ingredients at your fingertips. .

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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