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One Simple Way to Make your Dish Washing Experience More Comfortable

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By Edited Apr 30, 2016 4 6

Dish washing can be a pain, but it doesn't have to be uncomfortabe if you follow these simple idea outlined in this article.  But let's start off with... Ergonomics.

Ergonomics is the science and study of work.  You might have heard it before or you might have not, but the most likely place one learns about ergonomics is usually in the workplace.  Nowadays, most workplaces have a health and safety program that includes a component of applying ergonomics.  The reality is no one should be injured on the job, after all it really is only a job.

Ergonomics really first started out because people needed to increase productivity at work while ensuring injuries don't occur.  While working, there are several different types of injuries that can occur to the body and the major causes are:

  • Repetitive motions (like typing, using a computer mouse or working on an assembly line)
  • Overuse
  • Overexertion
  • Improper Lifting
  • Improper pushing and pulling

How does this apply to Dish Washing?

Improving the Dish Washing

Dish washing is something we all do.  And if we are part of a big family, the dishes do pile up, don't they?!  This stack of dirty dishes often means that we are standing in front the kitchen sink for a good 20 to 30 minutes.  It's good when you have help, but when you're washing them alone, it can take a while.

So what does ergonomic theory tell us?  First of all, standing for a prolonged period of time stresses our muscles.  The reality is this, if we stand for more than a duration of 15 minutes, it is good to have proper padding and posture.

Secondly, most kitchen floors (usually tiled or lined with linoleum) are hard surfaces.  This gives stresses and under prolong conditions may hurt your back and your feet. And because your not moving for a long time, the muscles start to tense up.

What you need is an Anti-Fatigue Mat!

That's right, they are called Anti-Fatigue Mats.  Commonly used in industrial settings, these anti-fatigue mats are something that should be more widely used at home.  The anti-fatigue mat works like this, it's basically a rubbery rug stuffed with a thick padding.

 The fatigue mats works to improve things in a few ways:

  1. Decrease feet back and knee stress.
  2. Improves traction in and around the dish-washing area.  Helps you plant your feet on the ground without slippage.
  3. Provide a padded coverage area for your feet to be comfortable and to be a shock absorber in case you dropped a dish (i.e. preventing a break).

I use a fatigue mat and I think it greatly improves my productivity.  This mat is in my opinion the best type of mat for dish washing purposes.  It's the right size to fit in front of any kitchen site in your house or condo.

If you happen to purchase and use this project, please leave me some comments about your experience with it.  If you use a anti-fatigue mat right now at home, I would like to know your experience with them.  It'll be great to share how you've come to use them.

Preventing Injuries

So how do we prevent injuries in general?

Well the first thing to do is to ensure that you are using the correct posture and that your muscles/body are prepared for the motion.  For example, if you are lifting something heavy, always use the strongest muscles to move and to steer instead of using your back muscles. Therefore, the rule of thumb is to put all the weight into and lift with your legs.  So in order to prevent injuries, the best way is to account for it, understand the best body part to use and to ensure proper actions throughout.




May 22, 2013 12:19pm
I think why I hate washing dishes so much is because that was the punishment of choice of my mother when i was younger. If you want to make washing dishes less of a dread for your children do not use it as a punishment. The mat may be a good idea, but it will not make me like dishwashing any more. LOL
May 22, 2013 1:38pm
Haha. Thanks Zuk258 for your comment and I apologize for bringing up ill-feelings about you and your mother. ;)

The truth is that dishwashing is never really all that fun. It's just something one must do if you happen to cook at home and re-use dishes (which is also eco-friendly). I suppose the alternative is to get a dishwasher, but that's usually for people who can afford one in the first place and/or have enough dishes to warrant such a purchase.

I'm curious to know if you have kids and how do you make them feel like it's NOT a punishment when you ask them to do the dishes?
May 22, 2013 2:10pm
Great article, I wonder if you might want to add an amazon module for the matt?
May 23, 2013 9:19am
Thanks for the suggestion m-spicer!!!

I have a link to the matt in the body of the message, but I'll be sure to add the amazon module as per your recommendation. I welcome any other suggestions for improvement!!! :)
May 28, 2013 10:50am
If you are fortunate enough to have a double-well sink, DO NOT scour your weak side with your weak hand (and don't assume that you are perfectly ambidextrous). This will give you tendinitis/pre-carpal permanently.
May 28, 2013 12:24pm
Great tip, Vallin!

Carpal Tunnel is a pretty serious matter for those of us that wash dishes by hand and are also office workers who use the keyboard and mouse.

Your dominant hand is always better in terms of strength. Another tip would be to relocate the dish rack to the same side that you are offloading with your dominant hand (i.e. right).

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