It came about because I want to make fantastical meals for my not-so-interested-in-cooking but very appreciative Le Boyfriend. I decided that since the only thing stopping me, essentially, was 1) I can't buy ALL the exotic food, much as I would like, and 2) I hate washing dishes.
So obviously the first step was to have a heart attack, not because of Fat, Sugar, and Salt from cooking, but because dishwashers are expensive. And they get crap reviews! There's $500 models for apartments that have crappy production, they don't drain, they don't wash dishes well. And they're bulky. I do not have enough space for a countertop model.
Let's make our own for 1/4 to less than 1/10 of the price you'd pay for a "real" dishwasher. I got the idea for this build by looking at the abstract for the original dishwasher patent filed in the 19th century- a rich housewife got her husband to make a "rack and water jet" system for washing dishes because she was tired of the servants chipping her fine china.
Step 1: Collect Stuff
Here's what I recommend you get: (mostly but not all pictured)
-dish drying rack (a housewarming present from Le Boyfriend's mom, I'm pretty sure they can be cheaply had. We didn't use it before this so hooray it now has a purpose in our life!)
-Plastic storage bin big enough to fit the drying rack with ample wiggle room. Ours fit the rack and had abour 4-6 inches free which was perfect
-lawn sprinkler (I used a $6 Discovery Kids version I got from Rite Aide. Here it is on amazon. I have no idea how good it is as a lawn sprinkler, but it's a really fun dishwasher jet! The purple drum is all spinny, which is the type of sprinkler I was looking for, and originally I was nervous about the wiggly tubes but as it turns out, they reach the back pretty easily. They are also at fault whenever water seeps out the top. Someone should tell me how I OUGHT to do seals)
-gasket (I got this later)
-Aquarium silicone seal (because for some reason tub seal dissolves. I think they wanted me to buy a separate product to cure it. laaame.)
-hammer for tapping in brads
-hacksaw for cutting
-I used a cheap soldering iron to cut the drain hole because I was too impatient to go at it with a knife.
-dishwasher hookup (take your aerator off the sink and take it to the hardware store and make sure the dishwasher hookup will match the hose and the aerator. )
-tape, if you don't have an extra pair of hands
Step 2: Cut a Notch for Your Hose
Here's a video of the test, and another video of how I got the porch clean too.
Step 3: Cut a Hole for the Drain
Don't do what I did. Don't try and be cute like "I'm going to have a hose for the drain, too!" It added a week of non-consecutive work time because the short version of the story is that utility hoses are heavy enough that unless you have a super drill bit and a drill (I do not have these things because I have to pay tuition) you are never going to make a seal that will withstand the force that the hose flexing will exert on the box. So don't even try, unless you do in fact have a super drill.
Just placidly, zen like, cut a hole instead. Mine was on the side to make a hose easier, but you could put yours on the bottom.
Also, if you have zero patience, do not use a steak knife because you will crack the plastic. Use something like a cheap soldering iron and a face mask for the fumes because you can mend cracks that you made because you're impatient and want to cut easily. If you are patient, unlike me, use a knife that is suited for the job. I'm getting a rotary tool for my birthday.
Step 4: It's Hard to Hold a Lid On
I tried a LOT of different ways to seal the lid and right now I'm on the one that is most effective, aquarium seal all over a gasket that's been tapped into place with a hammer by included wire brads. Ignore the drain hose, I was still under the impression that was a good idea when I took this picture.
As you can see, wire brads extend down beneath the lip. Where everyone wants to hold the box. They've bitten me, so I recommend cutting them down and covering them with hot glue. I'm going to do this. You should too. It hurts like a piece of hot wire has been shoved into your finger, which if it happened while the dishwasher was running, it would be. Yep. Right under your left thumbnail. When you're left handed. Don't be an idiot, like me. (My thumb healed in a couple days. It wasn't that deep, but I have an appreciation for why the Chinese Bamboo Torture chooses this place for insertion.)
Also, aquarium silicone seal will get everywhere and it's hard to get off. It'll rub off after it's cured, though. I have an old hanky that it peels off of, and I managed to get it off my hands. The floor, for some reason, was really slippy though for a few days.
Step 5: Put the Whole Thing Together!
Replace the aerator of the sink with your hookup (I've taken to holding a dishrag in between my hand and the hookup when I do this as I discovered the hard way that it's possible to cut yourself on the threads. That was my right thumb, it's still healing, just like a really bad papercut. That runs along the side of the knuckle.) and attach the utility hose.
Put the sprinkler, the rack, and any dishes you want to wash in the box. Everyone has their own way of stacking the dishes, so we'll leave that part up to personal interpretation. Do a line of normal dishwashing liquid down the long way, and if you have a lot of silverware that needs to be washed, you can do another horizontal line, but you really don't need a whole lot of soap.
Especially if your water is not temperature capped. My water is not temperature capped, so I use the soap more to get any food I missed wiping off. The water kills any buggers.
(The story behind the tiny bottle is that I stayed at a hotel once that had a kitchenette and a little sample sized dishwashing liquid bottle. If you've ever read Mindless Eating, by Dr. Brian Wansink, you've seen how he proved that if there is more, we pour more, and since dishwashing liquid is expensive, I just keep the little bottle stocked with dishwashing liquid and keep the big bottle hidden. In this way, I only have to buy dishwashing liquid every two and a half months.)