How to Hand-Wash Your Dishes

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How to Hand-Wash Your Dishes

How to Hand-Wash Your Dishes

Washing dishes doesn’t have to be a difficult task
How to Hand-Wash Your Dishes

© Sasi Ponchaisang/Dreamstime.com

You might have a dishwasher that can do the bulk of your dishwashing for you, but some dishes can’t go into the dishwasher, or maybe your appliance is overflowing. That’s when it’s time to go back to the old-fashioned way of hand-washing your dishes. If you’re rusty when it comes to this cleaning process, don’t worry — we have some tips and tricks you can follow to make hand-washing your dishes more effective, more enjoyable, quicker and easier.

Change your sponge often to avoid spreading germs

Change your sponge often to avoid spreading germs

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How often should you change your kitchen sponge? The answer is often — about every week. Bacteria can live in your sponge and spread to your dishes while you’re washing them. So it’s recommended that you stock up on several sponges at a time.

Don’t let dishes pile up

Don’t let dishes pile up

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Yes, washing dishes can be exhausting, especially after you cook a delicious Cajun meal that took a lot of time to make. But it’s worse to let your dishes pile up in your sink. Not only can stacking cause certain food scraps left on the plate to dry and become more difficult to scrape off, but it will also make for a daunting task once you finally do get around to washing. Sometimes it's easier to wash dishes while your eggs boil or your oven preheats.

Don’t let food sit

Don’t let food sit

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After making some great dinner dishes from the freezer, your plate is probably full of leftover sauce and food bits. You should rinse it off immediately. If you allow food to sit on the plate long enough, it will lose its moisture and create a solid bond to your plate, making it more difficult for you when it’s time to wash it.

Get the family involved

Get the family involved

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Though you probably made an easy recipe that took less than an hour to make, why does it feel like you’ve been washing dishes for an eternity? Ask your children or significant others for help to make the time go faster. You can wash the dishes while the other person dries and stacks them and vice versa.

Wear gloves

Wear gloves

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Much like hand sanitizer, certain dish soaps contain ingredients that may cause your hands to feel dry. If you don’t like the feeling of your hands after hand-washing dishes, grab some gloves to protect your hands from any skin irritations.

Wear an apron

Wear an apron

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An apron can be great for protecting your clothes while you’re baking or cooking some great home-cooked meals, but it can also be useful while you’re hand-washing the dishes. You can invest in a waterproof apron that can protect your clothes from the water splashes. No more soggy shirts or pants from washing a big pan or the bottom of your spoon.

Play music or a podcast

Play music or a podcast

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Dishwashing can be a boring and tedious task, but you can put on your favorite tunes to help the time go by. Into podcasts? That’s an option too, and you may even learn a thing or two along the way.

Use a sink strainer

Use a sink strainer

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Chances are that even if you scrape the food off your plates and into the trash can, some bits will still fall into the sink. Over time, food can accumulate in the drain, causing issues. So use a sink strainer to catch bits of broccoli or pasta before they fall down the drain. The sink drain is one thing you never thought to clean but really should.

Let the dishes soak

Let the dishes soak

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Do you have tough stains stuck on your pans that won’t go away no matter what you do? It might be helpful to fill your pots and pans with hot water and soap or baking soda and let them soak in the sink for 15 to 30 minutes. The cleaning agent dissolves the grease or residue and makes it easier for you to wash. Allowing your dishes to soak is one of the daily habits to adopt to keep from getting sick.

Use hot water

Use hot water

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The American Cleaning Institute suggests using hot water for washing and rinsing your dishes. Most of the time, you will have grease and other residues stuck on your dishes, and applying heat with the detergent in the dish soap can help remove debris. While temperature matters for dishes, you should know that temperature doesn’t make a difference when it comes to washing your hands properly.

Wash in order

Wash in order

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It may be easier to wash dishes in order of the least-soiled items to the most-soiled. Usually, that means washing glasses, cups and flatware like forks and knives first, followed by plates and bowls and lastly any form of cookware like pots and pans. After the dishes are done, you should also make sure to properly clean your stove, oven and microwave.

Make baking soda your bestie

Make baking soda your bestie

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Baking soda acts as a great cleaning agent because it is a mild abrasive that can cause dirt and grease to dissolve. So whether you need to clean tough grease stains in a bowl or in the sink, use baking soda to solve your issue. Sprinkle some baking soda and add some vinegar to your pan and let it soak overnight. Then scrub any leftover residue while you’re rinsing with water. It also makes a great deodorizer and can replace harmful air fresheners.

Use a sponge with a handle

Use a sponge with a handle

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Step up your cleaning game by investing in a sponge with a handle. Not only does it keep your hands from touching dirty residue on your cast-iron pan, but it allows you to put more force into scrubbing, ensuring the dish is nice and clean.

Use brush tools for small places

Use brush tools for small places

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You know plastic straws are one of the least eco-friendly things you can buy at the grocery store, so you invest in metal straws, but how do you clean them? Sure, you can just let water flow down the tube, but depending on how you use the straw, there could be residue stuck along the walls from that iced coffee you drank earlier. There are small pipe and tubing brushes that can thoroughly clean your straws.

Scrape with a squeegee

Scrape with a squeegee

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Do you have some food stuck in hard-to-reach crevices? A dish squeegee might change your life. This tool is perfect for scraping off leftover food on plates and bowls and is flexible enough to get those curved parts in your bowl or pan.

Use a spatula to remove food bits

Use a spatula to remove bits from a casserole dish

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Did you make a quick dinner out of cans but now you’re stuck with a dish with stubborn foot bits that were baked on? It can be a real pain to just use a sponge and your hand. If you are tired of experiencing sore wrists after washing, try using a spatula to scrape off the food bits without using as much manpower.

Don’t pour grease down the sink

Don’t pour grease down the sink

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What should you do with all that leftover grease from cooking bacon? One thing you should never do is pour it down the drain. Even if you pour it down with the hottest water, the grease will still coat the inside of your drains and trap other food particles, eventually causing your sink to clog. Instead, pour it in a jar and use it for another time when you’re cooking. Using valuable grease is one of the cooking hacks your grandma knew.

Blend soap and water to clean blenders

Blend soap and water to clean blenders

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After you’re done blending up fruits and other foods that can help boost your immune system, you hand-wash your blender, of course, but there are certain parts that are just too hard to reach. Let your blender clean itself. Add water and dish soap in the blender and then blend it to allow the liquid to clean those crevices.

Use a mesh produce bag as a DIY pot-scouring pad

Use mesh a produce bag as a DIY pot-scouring pad

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When you buy a bunch of lemons or a sack of potatoes from the grocery store, sometimes they come in mesh bags. Don’t throw those away, repurpose them. Place a sponge in the bag and create a scouring pad perfect for scrubbing tough stains on pots and pans. You should also consider other household items that can be repurposed when you’re done with them.

Use vinegar to remove stains on plastic containers

Use vinegar to remove stains on plastic containers

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Plastic containers can be useful when it comes to packing away comfort food that you can freeze. After a while, however, stains start to develop. But don’t just throw away your good containers. Fill the container with 50% water and 50% white distilled vinegar and let it soak for 30 minutes or overnight. The stains should be reduced and your container ready to take on another meal prep.

Salt and lemon can clean wooden cutting boards

Salt and lemon can clean wooden cutting boards

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You may not realize it, but your cutting board is one of the dirtiest places in your home. After frequent use, your cutting board gets scratches and knife marks that make it easy for bacteria from raw meat to live in between. Simple hot water and dish soap should do the trick, but be mindful that water can cause wooden cutting boards to crack and warp. Instead, try sprinkling coarse or kosher salt on the board, cutting a lemon in half and using the fleshy side to scrub before rinsing.

Use a potato to clean your cast-iron skillet

Use a potato to clean your cast-iron skillet

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There are a lot of things you’re doing wrong to your cast-iron pan, including cleaning it. One hack for washing this valuable tool is to use a potato. All you need to do is cut your spud in half, sprinkle coarse or kosher salt into your cast-iron pan and scrub vigorously in a circular motion with the flat side down. Keep going until your pan is clean, then wash with water and pat dry.

Use a drying rack

Use a drying rack

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Towel drying is fine but sometimes it may be hard to ensure your plates and other dishes are completely dry. Air drying is an easy solution. You will be able to dry your pots and glasses simultaneously and have more time for yourself.

Make your own dish soap

Make your own dish soap

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Certain cleaning products like oven cleaners, and even dish soap, may contain harmful chemicals. If you’re not careful to read the ingredient list on your dish soap, you may not realize that it contains chemicals that can cause skin irritation as well as skin drying. But you can make your own chemical-free soap that won’t sacrifice the ability to clean bacteria. There are plenty of recipes, but you can keep it simple and combine water, vinegar, an all-purpose cleaner and moisturizing oil. In fact, it might be smart to adopt more of these natural cleaning tips for your home.

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