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A Treatise on Doing the Dishes

There are times in life where things just start to pile up. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the kitchen sink. What once was a sparkling basin where water could flow freely can occasionally become cluttered with a hodgepodge of forks, spoons, pots, pans, and plates--its silvery luster lost from the grime and grit of leftover spaghetti and spilled beverages.

It's not always your fault. Sometimes your schedule just gets hectic. Sometimes laziness takes its toll. Sometimes it's your kids or your roommates who are the guilty parties.

Whatever the justification for not cleaning the dishes, there are plenty of scientific reasons to just get it over with.

Physiologically speaking, loading the dishwasher is relatively simple. Taking no more than a few seconds per item, all you have to do is rotate your body in the transverse plane and forwardly flex your muscles at both the hip and knee joints -- a move that's more commonly known as a bending squat. This should be sufficient to lower your body into a position where you can place your dishes in the desired location.

Manually washing dishes should only take a few seconds per utensil, five seconds per bowl, and ten seconds per plate. Larger pots and pans should take no more than a minute. With practice, you can get your methodology down to a science.

Dirty_dishes.jpgDon't let this happen to you.

Washing dishes soon after use can be much healthier. Leftover food slathered on dirty dishes can grow bacteria at an alarmingly rapid rate. When left at room temperature, bacteria can double in number in as little as twenty minutes. Best to just clean those dishes right away, said Ohio State researchers in a 2007 study. They also found that you don't even have to use scalding water to hygienically rinse your dishes.

Dish-washing may have also have some unforeseen benefits that can boost relationships. A study from the University of Western Ontario found that couples who share household work like dish-washing report "higher average measures of happiness and life satisfaction than those in other family models." Taking this one step further, Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, says that these 'sharing' couples also tend to "have more satisfying sex lives."

All-in-all, it appears that dish-washing sports universal merits from which anyone can benefit. Tell your chore-deriding children! Tell your slothful significant other! Tell your lazy, but lovable roommate! Before all those forks and knives decide to "occupy the disposal" and before you're forced to restrict your diet solely to take-out for lack of clean cooking supplies, do those dishes.

(And, Robert, if you're reading this, put your dishes in the dishwasher. The sink is turning in to the 'Leaning Tower of Pizza Trays'.)