[WiP] How to Wash Dishes

Getting the whole family to wash their own dishes is a great place to start. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Wipe first

Use napkins and toilet paper to wipe away leftover food, crumbs, oil before you start washing.

Water hand wash

Your hand is better than any sponge. While rinsing the dish rub it with your hand cleaning off all the oil and junk. Then use a sponge with soap to do a clean and rinse.

Keep a wet garbage bag handy

Put a small garbage bag behind the faucet or next to the sink. Wipe the dishes into this bag and clean the drain filter into this bag. Once full, double bag and tie closed.

Clean in order from least oily

Start with the cleanest dishes and work your way steadily towards more dirty dishes. This helps you recycle the rinsing water over the more dirty dishes in the sink.

Work In Batches

Mentally take stock and arrange the dishes into batches (like all cups) that help you chip away at the messy pile. As each batch is cleaned, you get a small kick of satisfaction.

Flush Thin Soups

Any leftover thin soups can be drained into the toilet instead of your sink. Be careful of this as if the soup is too thick, chunky, etc you could end up with a badly clogged toilet pipe.

Double bag liquids

A pack of low cost sandwich bags is perfect for packing up stews and other liquids/wet food junk right next to or on the sink. I like to roll the top edge of the plastic back so it keeps a cup shape and keeps the top edge free of liquid.

Use a dirty napkin to separate oily dishes

When you need to stack dirty dishes to carry them or get space to work, use a dirty napkin or few strips of clean toilet paper inbetween the dishes. This will keep them separate and save you from having to deep clean both sides of each dish.

Soak Cutlery

Take one of the bowls or cups and rinse it fully. Fill it with water and squirt some soap then dump all the dirty cutlery inside to soak. After washing all the other dishes, swirl the cutlery in the soap dish/cup and then rise them out and wash one by one.

Clean the sponge

Keep two sponges. One for pots and pans and oily stuff. Another one with softer, universal coverings. After washing one batch, make sure to rinse and wash out the sponge until it feels normal (non-oily). Refill with soap and start again.

Wash small batches frequently

Wash each cup you use immediately after using it. Wash the dishes you use right when you finish. This process helps limit ‘pile ups’ that jam the counter and become exhausting washing marathons.

It does take the same amount of time to wash 5 cups as to wash the same cup 5 times. But washing 1 cup 5 times a day is much less painful than washing 5 cups all at one time.

Boil some water

Boiling a kettle/pot of water and keeping it for any especially gunked up dishes is useful. The hot water pretty much cuts through anything. Just be careful not to do it over plastic plates. Remember that the dishes will be boiling hot after.

Clean eggy dishes with paper

If your dishes or cutlery have dried egg, take a damp paper towel with a little bit of dish soap. Fold the towel and then scrub off the egg. Once the dishes are clear of the egg gunk, rinse and wash normally.

Run the tap to keep your drains clear

When draining drinks, milk or other non-water liquids, keep the tap running while you drain it into the sink. This will dilute it and help flush it through the pipes. Otherwise, you may end up with stinky pipes. While this does waste more water, it reduces your need to buy and use drain cleaners.

Wash with your eyes closed

Close your eyes when you scrub and wash the dishes one by one. This helps you feel if there is oil still on the dishes. It also helps you focus on taking more care with fragile dishes. It can be relaxing if you take the time to try.




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Connor Clark-Lindh

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