It drives you crazy to see these bad design choices that with a little ingenuity and a couple of "extra pennies," as you say, towards the BOM, could have been easily avoided. Those mesh baskets are a royal pain whatever the sizing of the mesh. They inevitably get nicked, ripped, or whatever and cost you an arm and a leg to replace (The self fix of piecing together with wiring wouldn't cut it in my house, sorry!)
This is first 'Made by Monkeys' post I've read, and I'm surprised to see them on this site. It largely seems like folks saying 'wah, wah, wah, my cheap product is cheap!'. As a product design engineer, I see first-hand the impact of choices that companies make to cust costs. This article in particular shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the difficulty and cost of good design. Making the mesh basket stronger may only cost 'pennies' per part - but the design, testing and validation to know when the basket is 'good enough' will cost far more than that. There are better quality dishwashers on the market. Unsurprisingly, they are more expensive than poor quality dishwashers.
I have never designed a dishwasher, but this seems to me to be a classic case of 'getting what you pay for'. In the U.S., Hotpoint is a 'value' (aka low-cost) brand of GE. GE won't even put the GE brand on these appliances, because it would sully GE's good name. They have no impetus to design quality, long-lasting products because Hotpoint customers are typically focused on one thing when they walk into the store - cost. Cheap, cheap, cheap. So GE is willing to cut everything they can to achieve that. They don't care about good reviews, because the average Hotpoint customer isn't even reading reviews - they just know their dishwasher broke, and it's time to head to the home store and get a new one. A cheap one.
If you care about good design, be willing to pay for it. I.e., before you criticize something as 'Made by Monkeys', be sure you understand how your own actions (priortization of cost over quality) impacted the design.
Just because something has a low price doesn't mean it should break in normal use. My Toyota cost about $17k new and I expect it to provide good transportation. Just because it costs less than a Cadillac, it shouldn't break down more often. Unfortunately many manufacturers don't really give a damn about quality.
As to the dishwasher utensil baskets, cut some 1/8th-inch plastic sheet, drill a few holes in it for drainage and put it in the bottom of the basket compartments. I have a GE washer and the baskets are OK, but eventually a sharp knife will take its toll on the bottom plastic webbing, no matter the quality of the plastic or design.
I couldn't agree more, Jon. If you look at Consumer Reports annual reliability ratings, Honda Accord gets better ratings than most of the Cadillacs, Mercedes, and BMWs, year after year. Even if you don't trust Consumer Reports, it's still fair to say that Accord buyers are happy with their cars. If a low-priced appliance is a piece of junk, maybe the manufacturer should think twice about building and selling it.
Reviews need to be taken with (several) grains of salt. Before I bought my first Jeep Cherokee I read the reviews. The Isuzu Trooper was recommended over the Cherokee. The Trooper was under-powered, had the same cargo space, did not have an established dealer network, did not have a production history. The reviewer obviously was prejudiced against the Cherokee = I bought a Cherokee.
I also am unimpressed with the current aggrandization of Toyota and Honda. When a dealer tells you a car is worth more because of better 'quality', are you getting more or less 'quality' per dollar spent ?
Sometimes you don't get what you pay for, since it's so dang hard to vet these in a store, and even the Consumer Reviews can lead you astray I've had expensive and cheap, yet nothing that convinced me to stick with a brand. Everytime someone mentions dishwashers or washer/dryers here, I see a load of letters.
I may have the same issue with my GE, perhaps it's even the same model as mentioned. The cutlery holder is designed to accept the handles of the cutlery, as it's most sanitary to keep the working ends up in the spray, and draining away. My butter knives have fairly thick handles, which won't even fit in the cutlery holes!
This cutlery tray is on the side of my machine, I think the front would have been better, easier to load and unload. The face of the plates in the rack is parallel to sides, so unless you carefully close the drawer, the plates you so carefully placed, all roll!
I look at these dishwasher trays/drawers, note that there are millions out there, and wonder why they can't have spent some time engineering a more elegant solution. These are the customers primary interaction point with their product! I who looks at the electronics gizmos after they've figured out where 'start' is.
I'm not sure how GE/Hotpoint works but it seems reasonable to me that in companies like this that the engineers designing the Hotpoint brand are just as capable as the engineers designing the GE brand. Who knows, they may be the same people. Anyway, the point is you can't hold products of all price ranges to the same standards. Obviously less time and money went into a product that is less expensive - that is why it costs less.
The cost of good design should be minimal over a big production run. Hotpoint Aquarius is a major product range and is (or was) GEC top of the range. Since Hotpoint has been going for many decades, their designers should have plenty of experience of faults and issues.
As an engineer, I know that I would recognise a weak design, and I maintain the cost of maybe 2% extra plastic and I think 0% extra machining to make a stronger part would save a much greater cost in guarantee claims, never mind reputation.
People often beg the question of how much more would it have cost to do X versus Y. This is assuming that every logical design was put on a table and the accountants got to pick solely on cost. In reality, it may be much simpler in that the design was poor to begin with. A design was created that "worked" and that was enough. If it worked well or even saved money may have never been addressed. I have certainly seen products that were no cheaper just because they were poorly designed.
Perhaps this article should be titled "Used by Monkeys".
All dishwasher manuals I have seen (including the random Hotpoint one I veiwed on-line) state to place silverware in the basket with the handle down. So maybe if the dishwasher is used properly the basket works fine.
Not everything can be designed for people with no regard for common sense to operate.
Disagree. Dropping knives and silverware in from a few inches up hardly constitutes and lack of common sense. I'll bet most people except complete nerds load the dishwasher this way. We ALWAYS placed the handle down - and ours still broke.
Some of the blame here may also have to do with heat cycles and degradation of the plastic over time under these conditions. It would be interesting to know how well the material was stabilized against this effect.
It seems that having to grab "sharp" knives by the SHARP end is dangerous in itself and why can't Cutco make handles that can stand a dishwasher. Their knives are not a kitchen decoration. I've heard there are plastic materials these days that could be molded into knife handles.
I feel your frustration on this one. I have a different brand of dishwasher (forget the brand from here..) and have had the exact same issue. My wife finally replaced the basket. However, a thought just occured to me. I work for a comany which makes extruded plastic net and a little piece of that net could be cut to fit snuggly in the bottom of the basket. Could have saved $15-20 if that thought had occured a few weeks ago..
My (generally well-made) Maytag dishwasher had a similar problem with steak knives wearing out the plastic grid at the bottom of the cell in the cutlery basket after several years of use. In the Maytag, the cutlery basket is a basket, about 5 inches by 7 inches divided into 7 compartments. Like everyone else, I put handles up on knives and down on everything else.
I went to the craft store where for about a dollar and a half, I bought a sheet (10" x 15"?) of a plastic grid/mesh intended to be used for cross-stitch needlepoint projects in kindergardens and senior centers. The cells in the grid are about 2.5 mm square. I cut out a piece of grid that I fashioned into a liner for the bottom of the damaged compartment in the cutlery basket, reaching about 8-10 mm up the side of the cell.
Problem solved, looks good, works well, and I have 80% of the material left over in case I need to re-do it in 5 years time.
I could probably have bought a replacement basket for 15-20 dollars, but it would have taken me more time to figure out where and how to order it than it took to complete the project that I did.
We are finding products made in far off regions of the world far away form our homes with little quality support and control. Evan part and factory service houses are finding themselves with miss label bags of parts and instructions that have little meaning or miss the mark altogether in explanations. LG is one company where I'm personally finding not only customers in frantic dismay but service and part houses frustrated. I have gone through hours and money trying to locate simple parts for our microwave oven and a dishwasher both only several years old and of course out of warranty. Parts ordered not only from LG own parts house but from several others and all can not obtain the correct parts even though the manufacture believes these parts are correct. Even authorized service houses are frustrated because they come to your home with parts in hand and the parts are clearly wrong when the service rep try's to install the parts. They go for days and weeks trying to make it right but run into the same brick wall as the consumer does. The part from LG is packaged for the model but the packaged part is wrong and LG will not do anything about it. I have an eight hundred dollar dish washer that is only five years old and I can not obtain the correct drain hose. Even the parts folks know the problem but they have nothing to offer. Bulbs for my microwave oven same thing. They send bulbs they believe is correct but clearly they are not. They will do nothing to try to resolve these fumbles. They seem to not care. All they want is for you to purchase their products and once you have it you are stuck with junk. Even the store where purchased contacted their factory LG rep to help us and they will not respond. Why would I ever recommend or purchase LG again should concern LG but I believe it just doesn't matter. I have heard customers also from other manufactures complain about the same problems also and those products are also made overseas.
Great idea! I had not thought of that. I have used Nylon Ty Wraps to fix specific broken parts of the mesh, but this is a better idea. I assume you cut the plastic a little bigger, and then cut slots in the edges so the edges "fold upward, as you push the cross stich sheet into the compartment.
BTW you may have noticed that your dishes are not as clean as they were before. This is becasue the detergent manufacturers have eliminated phosphates from the detergent. If you want to add them back in you can buy Trisodium phosphate any number of places. When you wash dishes you add a half of a teaspoon to the detergent. Makes a huge difference. It may or may not impact the environment, depending on where the water is treated.
After "THE WAR" (WW II, for you younguns out there), GE introduced the HOTPOINT brand as an intro brand to entice builders for the housing boom that began across America in the late 1940s, early 1950s. It was a low-end appliance brand with less features than the mainstay GE brand. It has for decades been considered a "builders' brand".
Having said that I totally agree w/ Jon Titus' comment about his TOYOTA. As the owner of my 3rd CAMRY, I can attest to the excellent quality & durability of this design. My only fear now is that when I'm in the market for a replacement CAMRY, TOYOTA will not have engineered this vehicle to be so "smart" that I won't want to own one!!!
I always put the sharp knives in handle first so that the blade does not work it's way through the bottom. Of course, I was also able to get a basket made of stainless wire screen. Taking a sharp knife out by the blade is only dangerous for those who choose to be careless or to not pay attention. But with a minimum of caution it is not hard to remove those sharp knives quite safely.
Commercial kitchens are required to put the working ends up when they wash for sanitary reasons, i.e. everything drains away from the effector end. Butter knives, spoons, fork tines are hardly dangerous to your hands, given the ultimate delivery point is your mouth.
Decent cutting knives shouldn't be in the dishwasher, imho, and particularly in the cutlery area. Banging a nice sharp edge against cutlery is a good way to dull a knife. If you must put these in the dishwasher, I'd suggest you lay them down in the top shelf somewhere.
In your home you can do can do whatever you want, of course. If you are dropping sharp knives blade down in the cutlery area and damaging the bottom, then the clever work-arounds addressed by several here, is the way to go.
If we ever have a contribution here about a toilet paper dispenser made by monkeys, we'll have to debate the whole over the top vs out the bottom roll orientation issue.
I guess I had to read a certain number of Made by Monkeys columns to realize that many consumer goods manufacturers must not realize how many engineers use their products, try to fix them when they misbehave, and write up their critiques here (and probably elsewhere on the web). If they did, they might care a bit more than they seem to now about making them right the first time.
It is certainly true that those really sharp cutting instruments should not go in the dishwasher, not only because thye sharp edge may get banged up, although on the good stuff the sharp edge is quite hard, but more important, the detergent is hard on the high carbon hard steel. Cheap soft stainless knives will take a sharp edge, but they will not hold a really good edge, since they are soft. They can go in with the other stuff. But the really good ones with the much harder alloys are not all as resistant, so they get hand washed.
The fact remains, though, that unloading the dishwasher does take 100% concentration to do safely.
And it is indeed true that the "most serious" should be hand washed each time.
I never realized that sharp knives aren't supposed to go in the dishwaher. I always put them in the dishwasher, sharp end down. Do dishwashers actually say in their manuals that sharp knives should be handwashed, or is this just considered common sense?
Never put sharp knives in or ones you want to stay sharp or keep the handles on. Even placing a larger knife (like a 8 inch chef knife) alone one its side on the top rack will ruin it in short order. In a professional kitchen doing things like this will get you severely yelled at by chef as the knifes will now be too damaged or dull for him to do worse :-) in a dishwasher the knifes flop around as the spray passes. If placed on their side as most dishwasher companies recommend this actually causes the blade edge to get microscopic waves or dents or even chips with the result being a dull blade. if you put two knives the you get steel on steel and you can kill two knives in one wash. And if it has riveted handles they loosen up or can pop off on cheaper knives. A single higher end chef knife can sell for over $5000 so take a guess how they get cleaned :-)
I don't use a dishwasher anymore, mostly because the detergent is so damaging to both fine pots and pans, as well as to good knives and other utensils, and also because it's so damaging to the environment. When I did, I always kept out good knives, and anything with wood on it, as well as most of my good cookware.
While the detergent isn't environmentally friendly washing everything by hand uses way more water and way more energy. So in that regards not using a dishwasher damages the environment even more.
Dishwashers are generally also not designed to wash pots and pans or fine dishes. Some have programs that claim to clean pots and pans, but anytdishes with painted ornaments are a no go for the dishwasher. If the environment is a concern, then phase out using the fine dishes and go with high quality plain white dishes. We use those and they look as new as on day one, including the fancy set.
Washing by hand only uses more water if you keep the faucet running instead of building up a pile to rinse, turning it on at low flow to rinse, and back off while you build up the next pile. Some of us here in regularly-drought-stricken California take showers that way, too. There's no way that hand-washing dishes uses more energy. Meanwhile, the detergent is extremely damaging.
I agree... If I was single, I don't think I would own a dishwasher... It's not that much more work to wash the dishes, the problem is that after your meal nobody ever wants to do the dishes.
But yes, I rinse off all the plates and silverware prior to putting them in the dishwasher, otherwise the food might harden to the point where it doesn't come out quite clean... Then you run the dishwasher, with the detergent and the rinse aid adding to the burden on the water treatment plant...
So I believe that the dishwasher uses far more energy, far more water (In actual practice) and adds more chemicals to the waste water than washing dishes by hand...
Then, what happens at my house is that I will run the dishwasher at night before I head upstairs to bed, and in the morning someone throws a cereal bowl and a coffee cup in it and runs it again... I believe that happens quite a bit in my house...
Sigh... What can you do? If our dishwasher broke and I announced that we would wash dishes by hand, I would be answered with "You either get a new dishwasher or you can get a new wife"
Trisodium phosphate definitely impacts the environment, no matter where it is used. That's why it was removed from dishwasher detergent. It's a powerful poison, among other things. As a cleaning agent, it also stains metal and damages grout. At my house, my husband washes the dishes, since I cook and food-shop. In my childhood, everyone washed them by hand, including kids. I think it's a matter of priorities.
Which is one of the reasons I bought a Miele... It has a dedicated cutlery tray as the top rack, and mine has never been completely full... As I place silverware in it, I place the spoons at the front, the forks in the middle and knives towards the back. They all nest together pretty efficiently, and the tray will never wear out...
This Miele G851 has just been an awesome dishwasher. It has a built in water softener, in case your water is hard.
I bought my house new in 1991, and it came with GE Profile appliances... Three years after we moved in, I discovered that the dishwasher was leaking... The pump had failed... The thing was so noisy that we had to schedule it to wash in the middle of the night, because you had to turn the TV in the family room up way loud to be able to hear over that thing...
The Miele was not cheap, but it is 100% quality... Very well designed and built... I bought new panels for it when we changed to all stainless steel appliances six years ago when we put in granite counter tops...
The Miele is 18 years old now, and it has yet to break down or malfiunction in any way... When I took out the GE I carried it out to the back yard by myself, and held it with one hand when I opened the slider... The Miele I had to get my oldest son to help me carry it in from the garage... It is extremely heavy compared to that GE... Like 4 times the mass...
The inside of the Miele is stainless steel, and it is so quiet that if I am in the family room I can barely hear it run when the TV is off...
It has double walled hoses to guard against leaks, and it will light up with an alarm if it detects that a leak has occurred... The only time I have seen an LED come on is when the Rinse Aid is low, or the salt for the softener is low, or there is an obstruction in the intake or drain. It has a screen to trap sediment on the intake, and if food or broken glass restricts the drain it will light up an LED... Couple of minutes later, it's all fixed and working again...
If it ever does break, no question about it: I will buy another Miele. Stick a fork in me, I'm done... Customer for life.
I am aware that some folks always wash their dishes before putting them in the washer. My attitude has always been that if I had one that needed me to wash the dishes in advance, it would be replaced! That is why I have a dishwasher. Also, it is important to open it and let the moisture out after the cycle is done, so that the dishes get dry without wasting a lot of power on the drying.
The unintended results of not rinsing or pre-washing is that it is simple to see if the dishes in the machine are clean or not. MY poor old dad had a water inlet valve fail on his dishwasher, but because he always rinsed his dishes it was weeks before he realized that there was a problem. Using the diry dishes did cause him a few problems but nothing permanent or really serious.
I never thought I would see such a long discussion on handles up or down in a dishwasher amongst this august group of intelligent engineers. Our dishwasher was in the house when we bought it in 1989. It gets used 10-12 times a year when we have a large group and flatware rarely goes through the dishwasher, but when it does it is handles down so the business end gets the bulk of the spray.
However, my real question is to those who claim hand washing does or does not waste water. Where does the water go to become wasted? Here in St. Louis it comes out of the Missouri River to a water treatment plant, to my house, to a waste treatment plant and then into the Mississippi where it is used down stream by some other town or village. It was probably used by a home in Nebraska, Iowa or some other state before it got to St. Louis. Now if you want to argue about watering lawns or tell me about my water bill, you may have a case, but even lawn water eventually ends up some where. Probably not where we want it and not in a timely fashion, but it does not just disappear.
I am always curious as to where people think water goes or where the next supply comes from. Is there more or less water on the earth today than there was 50, 100 or even an ion ago? Or is it just the same amount rearranged?
Good enginners should be able to cut costs as much as is possible without infringing on quality. I don't think any good engineer would sign off on a faulty design, but it happens every day...probably not the engineer's doing, but someone else...cutting costs. just my opinion. Those poeple doing the cutting probably don't realize that they could make a higher quality product for the same costs as they are going for if they just gave the engineer time to do it.
I agree good engineer wouldn't sign off on such a design. However one of my clients let the sales and marketing people define design requiI agree good engineer wouldn't sign off on such a design. However one of my clients let the sales and marketing people have a huge part of defining design requirements. It's ok to get input from other areas however when a companies allows people who in my opinion aren't qualified to make technical decisions make them, it can hurt the product and company. Guess this is why this client hasn't released a new design in a long time and current products are well let's say not the highest of quality. rements than the people who
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Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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