There’s No Wrong Way To Do It, But Oh So Many Variables
Washing dishes is like the original chore. You know it’s easy because you’ve been doing it since you were a kid. Sure, you could potentially break a glass or come across a sharp utensil, but generally, dish duty can be assigned to children because it’s sort of hard to mess up. That being said, there are a few points of interest regarding exactly how to wash dishes:
The Great Sponge Debate
Are these essential cleaning products just festering germ cesspools? It’s unnerving to think about since you use sponges to clean most surfaces, especially dishes. Once you start to meditate on all the moist food residue hanging out on its porous surface, well… ew. Various studies have shown an alarming amount of bacteria growth on sponges, however not necessarily the type that will make you sick. But still.
If you’re going to use a regular sponge, you should replace it often or clean it regularly. You can clean your sponge by soaking it overnight in a solution of water, vinegar, and salt then wringing it out well and nuking it in your microwave for about two minutes to kill off bacteria. This isn’t a perfect solution, but better than nothing.
If sponges disgust you (or you just can’t stand the way they make your hands smell after using that, gag!), try a silicone or plastic scrub brush instead. These are more likely to dry out when they’re not being used and have fewer nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide and breed.
Team-Handwashing: The Fine Art of the Hand-Washed Dish
There’s an art to it, and we’re going to teach you.
Fill your sink with hot water and a few drops of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid. Dawn Ultra’s powerful grease-cutting formula is highly concentrated, so less is more. Pile your dishes into the sink, with the dirtiest items on the bottom. (TIP: Best to immediately soak your pots and pans after cooking, while you’re actually eating your meal, but before starting on the rest of the dishes. This way, when you ultimately get to washing them, the food scraps haven’t been just congealing this entire time, leaving much less scraping and chiseling to do.)
Give all your dishes a once-over scrub with your sponge (or alternative scrubby brush) while submerged in the soapy water to rid them of major chunks and food bits. Drain the sink. Maybe run the garbage disposal again as you do, if the water is especially gross.
Rinse. Repeat? Choose your own adventure dish game.
Team-Dishwasher (aka Your Best Friend)
There’s nothing like pressing a button and letting the dishwasher wash your dishes for you. Using the dishwasher is a convenient way to keep your sink and countertops dish-free, especially if you can train yourself to load as you go. Just make sure to not let dishes sit in there for days, because remember – there’s decaying food and germs and stuff. And remember, there’s always the quick rinse option, which will help buy you some time before you give those dishes a good scrub.
If you’re using a dishwasher instead of washing by hand, be sure you’re loading it properly for best results. How much pre-rinsing should you do? That’s always the question, isn’t it? Well, it depends on the type of detergent that you’re using. Products like Cascade Platinum ActionPacs contain special formulas with built-in rinse aid action to help dissolve burnt-on food and lingering greasy residue, so you can avoid the pre-rinse altogether. However, some soaps and detergents work best when they’ve got some bits of food and such to cling onto.
When To Prioritize Hand Washing Dishes Over The Dishwasher
In general, you’ll typically want to hand-wash fragile items like:
When To Prioritize The Dishwasher Over Hand-Washing
There really is no right or wrong way to wash dishes, as long as the dishes get done! The surest way to sanitize dishes is by using the dishwasher, what with its hot water wash and hot heat drying cycle one-two punch system. And the surest way to make sure you’re taking care of the right item the right way is to do it by hand. As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about washing dishes, even if you’ve been doing it your whole life. But the biggest tip we can give you for doing the dishes? Wash as you go. Even if that means just tossing your dishes in the sink with some soapy water that you’ll eventually get to later, your future self will thank you. Be kind to your future self.