Learn How To Wash Dishes

1. Fill the sink with hot water

Use the hottest water that you can without making it so hot that you burn yourself. Don’t fill the sink all the way to the top, since you need room to drop the dishes in. Make it about half full. If you’d like you can fill a large bowl in the sink instead of the sink itself. This will make it a little easier if you have to change the water.

2. Soak pots and pans

If you have any dishes that have baked on grime that will be hard to get off, such as pots or casserole dishes, fill these dishes with the hot water as well and set them on the counter so that they are out of the way. Let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also put smaller dishes with baked on crud in these pans, such as spatulas and knives.

3. Add the soap

If you have any dishes that have baked on grime that will be hard to get off, such as pots or casserole dishes, fill these dishes with the hot water as well and set them on the counter so that they are out of the way. Let them sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also put smaller dishes with baked on crud in these pans, such as spatulas and knives.

4. Start washing

Begin with the glasses and delicate plates, such as those used for dessert. Clean any flatware next, then proceed to the dinner plates, and then finally the pots and pans and cooking utensils that had been soaking. You want to do the most delicate items first to ensure they don’t break, and the most soiled items last, so they don’t get the sink and cleaning tools dirty at the start of the process.

To start washing, simply immerse the dishes in the water and scrub any grease, sauce or food off by using a kitchen brush, sponge or steel wool pad. Since steel wool can be abrasive, don’t use it on dishes made from delicate materials, like stainless steel. To clean forks, use the corner of a scrub pad or dish cloth to get between the tines.

Be sure to scrub every part of each item, including the handles on coffee cups and saucepans where finger oils have been deposited. The old adage of ‘squeaky clean’ comes from washing dishes; you can tell when a dish is clean when it actually starts squeaking when you rub it.

Replace the water and add more soap whenever it becomes too full of gunk to really clean any subsequent dishes or when the water has cooled or the soapy suds have disappeared.

5. Rinse the dishes

As you finish with scrubbing each dish, you want to rinse it off under the tap to remove the soap, or in the second sink if you’re using the double-bowled method. For this method, you can simply fill the second sink with lukewarm water and dunk the dishes in to rinse them, replacing the water as needed. If you don’t have a second sink, just rinse the dishes under the tap. You may need to drain out a little of the water as you do so. Using lukewarm water is fine. If you have hard water, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse sink to help prevent the mineral deposits from forming on your dishes as they dry.

6. Check the dishes

After you rinse each dish, double-check that you’ve gotten it completely clean. Any remaining sauce or food will be fairly obvious, but you may have to remove your gloves and check with your fingers to ensure that you’ve gotten off all of the grease. If any amount of soil remains, repeat steps four and five. If you still can’t get the dish clean, you can try soaking it longer or using a stronger cleaning solution.

7. Dry the dishes

Once you’re sure each dish is indeed clean, wash your hands so those are clean too, then dry off the dish using a fresh dish towel. Don’t use a bath or hand towel since the lint may stick to your dishes. You’ll want to dry the dishes as you go, not save them all for the end, since you don’t want them to get streaks or spots from sitting wet. If you can, recruit a friend or friends to help you dry. It’s an easy task; they’ll still be your friends after this. If this isn’t an option, you can leave the dishes to dry in a drying rack. Be sure to put bowls and glasses in the rack upside down so that the water doesn’t pool.

8. Put the dishes away

Put the dishes away in the cabinet after you dry them. That way they’ll be easy to find later and harder to knock on the floor and break.

9. Clean the dishwashing area

Once the dishes are put away, wipe down the dish rack with a damp cloth then towel it dry to prevent mineral build-up from hard water. Wiping out the sink is also a good idea to remove any food debris.

10. Clean the prep area

Whenever there are dirty dishes in the sink, that means that food was prepared somehow, which means that the countertops and stove need to be wiped down as well. Use a dish cloth or sponge with soapy water on it to remove any crumbs or sticky messes, then wipe the counters with a disinfecting kitchen cleaner if needed to ensure the food prep area is safe for the next cooking session.