What Ever Became of..Portable Dishwashers


Perhaps some of you out there had a bit more cultured upbringings than I, but I was quite grown before I ever was aware of the existence of portable dishwashers. When my wife and I were but just dating, we went to lunch at her grandparents house after church one Sunday. After lunch, when all the dishes and food were being cleaned and put away, I see this cabinet that I hadn’t really noticed being rolled from its position off to the side over to the sink. Turns out, the cabinet was a dishwasher, and was quickly filled and attached to the sink and washing and clinking away.

Mind. Blown.


Where had such a thing come from? Why had I never seen this before? We had always either just lived in a house with a dishwasher, or, perhaps more frequently, just washed the dishes in the sink. You mean to say there was a reasonable alternative, between those two options, and I didn’t know about it all those years! The thing is, I am quite sure that same dishwasher was fairly old, and I really haven’t seen one since. Can you still get these if you live some place without built-ins? Would you want to? What ever happened to portable dishwashers?

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  • OA5599

    My father-in-law uses one. His probably dates from the 70's. One of his grandsons was helping with the dishes and got a mild lecture for turning on the cold water faucet instead of the hot. I explained that typically dishwashers heat the water anyway and that it shouldn't matter, but just for grins I googled the model number. Surprisingly, the manufacturer had a digitized owner's manual online, and indeed it specified hot water.

    They're still in production. Just not kept in stock, perhaps, because most homes built before dishwashers were commonplace have already remodeled the kitchen to a built-in one. Or maybe the homeowners switched to a countertop model, which doesn't take away from your floor space.

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  • I had one in an apartment in the mid-1990s. It was a new model. I was staying in an apartment furnished by Dow Chemical for co-op students. They turned over management of the units to Marriott Corp. When Marriott took over they raised the rent and installed portable dishwashers.

  • We have a Haier HDP18PA. I hate that thing. No one ever uses it, it just holds the microwave up. It's a compete PITA to set up and run so no one bothers.

    Because, hey, sometimes free stuff isn't worth it, right?

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  • As half of a couple, living in a small house with a total of six crockery place settings, I'm happy without a dishwasher. In fact, with the poor quality of TV programming these days doing the dishes makes up a fair portion of our evening entertainment.

    • With just dishes for two, it's often easier and quicker to just wash them and put them back in the cupboard. When my parents furnished their retirement condo, they didn't bother to install a dishwasher. As my father said, "I'm retired…what else am I going to have to do after dinner?"

  • SSurfer321

    The Mrs. and I had one in our home in Toledo, as did our best friends. Moved it down to KY and into storage since our then apartment and now house has a permanent dishwasher.

    Que six months ago, our best friends portable took a dump. I loaded ours, still languishing in a storage unit, and hauled it up to my BFF as a replacement.

    TLDR: I know two families with portable dishwashers.

  • We had one growing up. When we moved into a new home with enough counter space, we had it mounted under the counter and permanently plumbed.

  • mallthus

    My grandparents had one when I was a kid. Later, after they'd passed, I inherited the house. I ditched it and just did the dishes the old fashioned way.