Cleaning Before Cleaning


I’ve always found it bizarre that I need to clean the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.  

I mean, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having a dishwasher?

To do the job of that which should do the job!

I’ve been told that our dishwasher can actually handle whatever we stick in there.

I don’t buy it, and have yet to test this out, as I don’t trust that’s even slightly possible.

Along with the fact that I have the habit of doing dishes regardless of how well the dishwasher may or may not clean them, since during my youth it was necessary to hand wash the dishes.

And so, as an adult, husband and father, I have found great peace – yes, even happiness – in cleaning dishes before I fill the dishwasher, which I do every night. 

Yes, apparently that makes me weird for enjoying that task, and yet, I’m not alone.

I read an article that surprised me, in Inc. magazine, of the habits of some of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos:

Inc. says –
“Bill Gates’s house is worth a cool $125 million. Jeff Bezos cashes in $1 billion a year in Amazon stock to fund his dream of sending people to space with his rocket company, Blue Origin.
Clearly, both these guys could afford to hire someone to do the dishes for them.
But both billionaires still insist on scrubbing plates themselves.

“I do the dishes every night. I’m pretty convinced it’s the sexiest thing I do,” Bezos joked in a 2014 interview. “I do the dishes every night,” Gates similarly revealed on a Reddit AMA the same year.

Are they crazy? Is this a plot for these titans of the universe to stay humble? While neither billionaire revealed the thinking behind his dish scrubbing, science suggests there are good reasons even the busiest (and richest) among us might want to do mundane chores — and why those of us who can’t get rid of them might want to rethink them.”

You can read the whole article HERE and it’s very insightful about the creativity and meditation that comes with mundane chores. 

Yet, I do it for a few other reasons as well:

  1. My wife is the chef, she makes a huge, wonderful mess, and I love being clean up to her preparation of our delicious meals;
  2. It relaxes and soothes my soul. The accomplishment of seeing something go from dirty to clean is often as satiating as the cuisine;
  3. It gives me an even greater sense of purpose in my home and family, even when I feel plenty of purpose already, it is my Signature Move as a partner in the kitchen.

Even if the dishwasher can clean the dishes as well as I can, I find satisfaction, enjoyment, and fulfillment in cleaning before the cleaning.

Whether I’m among the richest men on earth named above, or among the richest of joy, it’s my choice as to my definition of success and how I spend each moment, doing dishes with a smile.

And that’s enough for me to live The Promise, regardless of the reason or the result.



~ Jason Hewlett

Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker

  • Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Coach & Mentor
  • World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
  • Author of “The Promise To The One”



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18 thoughts on “Cleaning Before Cleaning”

  1. Jason, it DOES make a difference to clean before cleaning. We have had several loads of dishes where our son has just put them in the dish washer (which supposedly can “handle” it) without scrubbing off guck ahead of time. They do NOT come out completely clean.
    I have also heard that doing mundane chores with your children is a great way to bond with them better, not to mention teaching them the value of work (even if it is ‘boring’ work). I too really enjoy doing the dishes- I feel like it is the chore that gives me the most bang for my buck. Where else in the house can you go from a complete mess to a whole dishwasher full of clean dishes in a half an hour?

  2. My husband cleans the kitchen after dinner (which I always make) as his contribution to our tasks/partnership. However, we don’t rinse the dishes before they go into the dishwasher. It truly cleans them very well 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing, Jason! This makes me remember how we need to always choose gratitude – we don’t HAVE to wash the dishes, we GET to wash the dishes! And, I love that you reference that you enjoy doing your part after your wife makes her delicious meals! There is definitely joy in the little things, but we need to focus on the joy and be thankful we are able to do all those little things!! Thanks for always sharing such positive and inspirational stories. Keep on keeping on, sir!!! You are appreciated.

  4. My wife is also an amazing cook. I will load the dishwasher, cleaning them first as well. The happiness she feels when I load and unload the dishwasher is my reward. The time spent on doing the simple chores makes her so happy, which in turn makes me happy.

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