Parenting with Your Dishwasher

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Having a child impacts your life in many ways, but it impacts your household appliances in only one way: it uses them as they were never intended to be used. Nothing gives a cleaning machine a workout like a little kid. If you have gotten by without a dishwasher so far, consider the following ways to parent with a dishwasher and see if it might be time for you to invest3.

1. For the White Noise: The dishwasher will need to be quiet enough to run while everyone is asleep (because it will, all the time) but make a pleasant enough noise that it will lull the new baby in the bouncy seat to sleep if you set her in front of it.

2. For the Actual Dishwashing: Obviously, when you have a baby you have a lot less time on your hands, and a lot more dishes.

3. For the Sterilization: Many infant baby products require higher levels of sterilization beyond that of standard cleaning in the sink. After they reach about three months of age, you can stop using the special sterilization equipment, but the dishwasher provides a high level of heat and cleanliness that protects them while their immune systems are developing.

4. For the New Toys: I try to at least rinse any new toys I give my son, especially if they are made of China-produced plastic, were not completely boxed in, or are an item I know he will put in his mouth. The dishwasher comes in quite handy for this task if I have no time for this often tedious chore; you can even throw them in there after your child goes to bed and those new toys are clean before your child wakes up.

5. For the Old Toys: For plastic toys that have weathered their share of spills or for garage sale finds, nothing beats the magic cleaning power of the dishwasher.

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6. For the Toothbrush: I regularly zap my son’s special toothbrush since it often ends up in places in our house that toothbrushes are not meant to go (like the heating grates in the floor).

7. For the Bath Mat and Bath Toys: When accidents happen in the bathtub, they are not pretty. Inevitably, the more unpleasant the accident, the more toys and bath products floating in the water when it happens. This is an unfortunate reality of parenting that no one really warns you about. While you will have to clean your child and your bathtub, the dishwasher can take care of the rest for you, provided you throw it all in those washable lingerie bags and put them on the top rack.

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