Two days ago my dream of having a dishwasher was finally fulfilled! It sounds sarcastic to say that I’ve dreamed of a dishwasher, but please believe me when I say that it’s true. Ever since I started cooking more often, the piles of dirty dishes and the almost-daily arguments over whose turn it was to do the dishes have been a real drag. I did briefly wonder if I could teach Arnold to wash the dishes but soon moved on to (the more realistic question of) how to add a dishwasher to our rental apartment.
Remodeling a rental is not only a waste of money but also usually prohibited in the lease. Besides, my kitchen doesn’t have room for a built-in dishwasher because there’s no cabinet space on either side of the sink. I knew the only way I was getting a dishwasher was to buy a portable one.
So I started researching. I read reviews on Amazon, asked everyone I knew for opinions, and even asked the folks at the Kitchn to pose the question to their audience. Then we measured, reorganized the kitchen to make room next to the sink, and waited for Labor Day sales to come around. The Saturday before Labor Day, the dishwasher was ours! We got a GE GSC3500 . . . and I absolutely love it!
Read on for more details and to see how I’ve already put it through its paces with some crusty pots and pans . . . with impressive results!
First, the basics:
This dishwasher is a pretty basic model but it does have several wash options including a heated dry that can be turned on or off. There’s also a pots & pans setting and a “rinse only” cycle, as well as a “plate warmer” cycle (I really don’t know what purpose that one serves though!).
I liked that this is a full-size model that is 24″ wide, so it fits lots and lots of dishes.
I also liked that it comes with a counter on top, so it’s actually adding usable space in the kitchen.
And finally, this is a “convertible” model, which means you can actually pop the back off and hardwire it into the cabinet if you want to. While I know I can’t build it into this kitchen, I thought that having the option was awesome and also figured that it would add to this washer’s resale value in the future.
How it hooks up:
If you’ve never had a portable appliance before, you probably have no idea how it gets “installed.” It’s actually quite brilliant! The back of the dishwasher looks like this:
See that little black square? That’s the space that the hose and power cord go into when the machine is not being used. I have the hose pulled out in this picture to show how long it is, but when the machine is not hooked up the hose and power cord go into that little place and are totally out of the way. It’s quite a nice feature!
Speaking of the hose, its length is one of the only problems I see with this machine. The hose is only about 30″ long so the sink needs to be VERY close to the machine in order for the hose to reach. In our case, I have to rotate the machine 90 degrees to make the hose reach, because the sink is to the right of the machine and since the hose feeds from the left (remember, this picture if of the back of the machine), it simply didn’t reach until I rotated the machine. Thankfully, rotating it is super-easy since it’s on wheels, and the hose and power cord both reach their respective spots when the machine is rotated. So what I do is load it facing the sink, then to run it I rotate it, attach the hose and the power, and hit the button.
Hooking up the hose to the sink is very easy. The first time you set it up, you replace the bottom piece of your faucet with the enclosed piece:
The arrow shows the piece that comes with the machine. You simply twist off the old faucet bottom and screw this one in instead. This piece has a little lip in it (exactly where the arrow is pointing) that holds the hose in place. Once you’ve switched this in, you just leave it this way. Water runs out of this new end just like it did out of the old one and I doubt anyone would notice that change.
To attach the hose, you push down on the top ring of the attachment and snap it onto the end of the faucet:
That’s it! Before attaching you run the hot water for a few seconds to make sure it’s hot, then you turn the water off, attach the hose, and turn the water back on. The water doesn’t flow until the machine asks for it. See that red button? When you want to take the hose off, you close the hot water, press the red button to drain the water that’s in the hose, then take the hose off by pushing down on the same ring to release. It’s super easy! Although I didn’t remember to press the red button the first time and did get splashed all over with water . . . but that’s not the machine’s fault.
You see the two hoses? The top (smaller) one takes the water from the sink to the machine, and the bottom (larger) one brings the dirty water back to the sink drain. When we first tested it during installation we were got SO EXCITED when the dirty water came rushing out! It’s kind of fun to watch and see just how dirty the water is as it goes into the sink.
How it cleans:
Here’s a picture of the load of dishes I just unloaded before sitting down to write this review. See the one pan that’s NOT non-stick in there? That’s the pan I want to tell you about.
I used that frying pan to make homefries for lunch today, using bacon, onions, and potatoes. If you’ve ever tried to make amazing home fries before you know that plenty of stuff gets stuck to the bottom of the pan, and that good stuff is what makes for amazing potatoes. I wanted to test what this dishwasher could do, so I put that incredibly crusty pan directly into the dishwasher. This is how it looked when it went in:
This is the type of pan that I would wash by hand by first soaking in the sink for a while, then scrubbing with the brush, then scrubbing with the sponge. My mother raised me to NEVER EVER put a pan like this in the dishwasher. In fact, she liked us to pre-rinse every item that goes into the machine! I was hoping to skip the rinsing completely (and help the planet by saving the corresponding water!) so everything I loaded into the machine today was NOT pre-rinsed. The worst offender was this pan and I had no hope at all that it would come out clean.
Well folks, just LOOK at this:
I absolutely SWEAR this is how it came out of the machine. I ran it on the “pots & pans” cycle with Ecover Grapefruit dish soap and JetDry rinse aid and just let it do its thing. I am really amazed!
As I said earlier, the biggest problem with this machine is how short the hose is. It’s designed to be rolled into place when you use it, so I assume that’s why they didn’t include a longer hose, but it still seems extremely short considering you can’t choose whether it feeds out the left or right-hand sides of the machine.
I was also surprised at how long the cycle times are. A regular cycle takes almost 2 hours to complete! I don’t know how this compares to other machines on the market today (and I hear that today’s low-water-usage machines all take longer to run through a cycle) but this seems really long to me. It’s not actually a problem, I just didn’t expect it so figured I should include it in the review.
One more random thing: If you have a spray hose attachment to your sink, you’ll have to remove it before using this machine. The manual says that spray hoses can burst if left attached when the machine is running, and a quick Google showed that many other machines include the same warning. While part of me believes that this is just a legal disclaimer to cover a very unlikely event, I didn’t want to risk it so we did remove our spray hose. And it was a real PITA! Crawling under the sink and trying to twist off the hose was really difficult and has given me a whole new respect for plumbers. What an uncomfortable job! The actual work that needed to be done was really easy, just use pliers to twist off one thing and replace that thing with a cap (procured at the local hardware store for about a buck). But doing it? Doing it took two of us 30 minutes of trying, switching off when we got too tired and sore maneuvering in the small space with no good angles. Fair warning!
All in all this machine is a wonderful buy. The model number is GSC3500NWW, but the “WW” just refers to white. It also comes in black with the corresponding black model is GSC3500NBB. If you have the room for it (it measures about 24″ wide by 27″ deep) but can’t install a machine under a counter, you should definitely consider it. It retails for $479 according to GE’s site, but Amazon has it for $427 right now . . .