How to Hand Wash Dishes
I recently read about a woman who was tearing her hair out because she was so overwhelmed with piles of dirty dishes. Even though she would wash them several times a day, there always seemed to be an endless pile of them from snacks and things, so she came up with a plan. She decided to pack away all of her dishes and gave one plate, one bowl and one glass to each member of the family. Then, all each person had to be responsible for the washing of that dish.
You can assign each person a certain color dish or something like that. That mom said that, the first day or two, some of the members left oatmeal in theirs and she had fun watching them trying to get the dried on oatmeal off so that their bowl was ready for the meal.
This may not be something that you want to do all the time but it might be good to try it for a couple of weeks or at least long enough to get your family to start rinsing their dirty dishes off when they are done with them. You might even get them to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher or stack them nicely in the sink.
Here’s another way to save on dishes, especially dirty glasses: I would keep a small jug of water in the fridge that my kids could drink straight out of. Each had his own special jug and would just stick it back in the fridge after drinking from it. When their jugs were empty, they would fill it themselves.
Even with all the little tricks moms will try, there still will be a certain amount of dishes to be done. Not all of them can be put in a dishwasher and at times you may have to do without one. Most important of all, washing dishes is a skill you and your children both need to know. Here are the basic steps to hand washing dishes.
By the way, Dining on a Dime isn’t just a cookbook. It includes a big section with many more good cleaning tips and ideas.
How To Hand Wash Dishes
- Rinse dishes and stack in piles. Use a long handle scrub brush and clean large food particles off of dishes.
- Fill sink with hot soapy water. (Go easy on the soap.)
- Place all the silverware in the soapy water to one side. Place 4-6 plates in the water (or more if you have a large sink). Then lay in as many glasses as you can get in on top of that. Do this so the plates and silverware can soak while you are washing the glasses.
- Wash the things that touch your mouth and those that are the least soiled first: glasses, silverware, plates, bowls, serving dishes, pans.
- Keep placing more dirty dishes in the sink to soak as you have room. If the water starts getting gooky then change it.
- Rinse each piece with running hot water. I just turn the water on and off as I rinse each piece, so I use very little water (only about 2 gallons for a huge pile of dishes). Also, I don’t fill the sink too full of soapy water when I start. That way, as I go along, the rinse water I use keeps my soapy water hot and refreshed so by the time I get to my pans, my water is still hot.
People often fill one sink with water to rinse dishes but, if you think about it, after the first glass or two, the rinse water has soap in it and is “recontaminating” (for lack of a better word) each subsequent piece. There is a reason why surgeons wash their hands in running water and the same principle applies to dishes.
Additional Dish Washing Tips:
- I am not sure why but some people take a lot of time scouring their sink before they wash the dishes. I don’t believe in working any more then you have to. No wonder so many hate doing dishes – they make more work for themselves then necessary. When you are done with the dishes each time, use the soapy water that is left in the sink and with the dishrag wash it out like it is a big bowl. Let out the water, rinse with clear water and it is done. When you are ready to wash dishes again you may have to rinse with a little clear water to get garbage out of the sink but that should be all. When you fill it with the soapy water for the dishes it will kill any germs that are in the sink the same way it kills the germs on the dishes you will be washing. Once a week when you clean the kitchen give it a good scrubbing.
- When hand washing dishes, never put you hand inside of a glass. It could easily break. Use a long handled brush, bottle brush or, if you don’t have those, put your dish rag in the glass and use a table knife to move the rag around. (Note from Tawra: I’ve broken many glasses by putting my hand inside them and I still don’t listen to my mother!)
- Always be sure to wash the rim of a glass.
- When washing silverware, be sure to wash the handles of the silverware. Be sure to do this with pots and pans, too.
- Pans: Pour hot soapy water in them and let them soak while your are eating. They should be ready to clean by the time you are done.
photo by: brooke