Hello all! If you didn’t know, I’m currently in university completing my undergrad, and what I have noticed is that at this age, in this stage of life, it is a sad few number of people that know how to properly wash dishes. I don’t believe this is an innate skill, and if you weren’t taught at home, it is important to learn in any stage of life. Not washing your dishes properly can lead to bacteria breeding in your kitchen, some forms of which can make you very sick (trust me, I’ve had food poisoning, and it is not fun). So today I am going to share with you my step by step process for perfect, spotless dishes, WITHOUT a dishwasher!
What you will need:
A dish towel or sponge
A drying towel
A hard scrubbing brush/steel wool
Surface Cleaner/Paper Towel
This is a sometimes-optional step that I highly recommend, as it makes the overall process go much faster, and means the water gets dirty slower. Rinse/scrape every dish you own. And if there’s a pot that needs to soak, fill it with hot water now, along with a little bit of dish soap, then leave it on the counter to soak until you get around to washing it.
2) Clean your sink
You are about to fill your sink with clean, hot water to wash your dishes in. If your sink is full of all of the crud that just came off of the dishes you rinsed, it is only counter-productive to the overall chore. So clean it, preferably with a disinfecting surface cleaner.
3) Fill your sink with very hot, soapy water
When I say hot, I mean hot. Hot water kills bacteria. Also, dish soap is made to work under hot water. It will make suds easier, and will actually go to work on your dishes rather than simply sit on the surface. The water should be uncomfortable to the touch, but if you don’t have rubber gloves to protect your hands from the water as you wash, it would be best to tone down the heat by a few degrees.
4) Cutlery, then glassware, then dishes, then pots/pans/cutting boards
This is the order to wash your dishes in. If you are doing a massive load that will fill the sink multiple times, then between each of the above categories, empty the sink, and refill it again with hot, clean, soapy water. This will prevent the water from being too gross as you’re washing. Clean the dishes with a dishcloth or sponge. Only use the dishwashing brushes or steel wool for tough to get off areas. Otherwise, the brushes are not great tools for cleaning…you will not get to every nook and cranny with them.
5) Rinse the suds off with very hot water
You need to get those suds off anyway…and if you are wearing gloves, the hot water will be of no harm to you. However, it will be one last way to kill any lingering bacteria.
6) Dry your dishes with a dishtowel and put them away
I know how tempting it is to leave those dishes out overnight. But before you know it, the entire contents of your kitchen cupboards has piled up into your dish rack. Just do it now, and save the trouble later. Actually drying them is important. Putting them away wet creates an environment for bacteria. Also, just like drying your hands on a towel wipes off 60% of the bacteria that was on them even after washing your hands, wiping off your dishes has the same effect (I feel like I’ve said bacteria a lot in this post. To make one thing clear, I am not a germaphobe, but when it comes to washing your dishes, bacteria is the name of the game!)
7) Maximum of two uses per dishcloth before washing it!
If you use the same dishcloth for a week, by the end of that week, you are only adding bacteria to your dishes. It is important to replace the dishcloth as often as possible. The same goes for sponges!
8) Be selective about your dishwashing products
This isn’t really a step, just a tip. Use natural-based dish soaps that aren’t full of harsh chemicals. Don’t get those gloves that are coated in antibacterial chemicals. Use a dishcloth that you will get many uses out of before it starts to look ratty. Washing dishes is such a drag anyway…make it easier on yourself.