Dishwashers have become a standard appliance in most homes. They make the tedious chore of washing the dishes much simpler and free up a great deal of time to do other things. Despite the convenience and time-savings they offer, sometimes it makes more sense to wash your dishes by hand. Maybe you couldn’t fit all the dishes into the washer. Perhaps you don’t have enough dishes to justify running the washer, but you need one of the dirty dishes to be cleaned.
Washing the dishes by hand, while tedious, is very simple. It’s a task that, if done half-heartedly, can take a long time, but if you put your head down and charge into it, you can get it done in very little time.
Stack the Dirty Dishes
One of the more frustrating things that can happen is to think that you’ve washed all the dishes and to start cleaning up the sink only to turn around and see more dishes somewhere else in the kitchen or dining room that still need to be cleaned. To avoid this, you should scan both the kitchen and dining room to make sure that you’ve collected all the dirty dishes and stacked them next to the sink.
Fill the Wash Basin
Most sinks have two basins side by side. Add a couple squirts of dish soap to one of the basins first so that the water can agitate it and bubble it up. Then, fill that basin about halfway with water that is a little hotter than you can stand it. You shouldn’t spend much time with your hands actually in the water and it will cool down quickly. This basin is what we’ll call the wash basin, the other is known as the rinse basin. The wash basin is the one with either a food processor attached to it or a food strainer to catch any large chunks of food that would otherwise go down the drain and potentially clog it.
Once the wash basin is half full with soapy water, place one stack of dishes in it so that water can start loosening up the food. Place the silverware in one area in the wash basin. It helps to have all the handles on the same side so that you can reach in quickly to grab one when it’s time to wash it without grabbing the business end of a knife or waving your hand around in the hot water.
Take the first dish from the stack and start scrubbing it with the rag. Make sure to cover all the surfaces, front and back, inside and out. Once you’ve scrubbed off all the food residue and covered the dish with suds, place it in the rinse basin and proceed to the next dish. Once you’ve emptied the wash basin or once the rinse basin is full, it’s time to start rinsing the washed dishes. Before starting the rinse, move any dishes on the counter into the wash basin so that the warm water can start loosening up any food residue.
Rinse the Washed Dishes
Run warm water over the dishes in the rinse basin to wash off any remaining food and soap suds. Then place the rinsed dishes into the drying rack. If you don’t have a drying rack, laying a dish towel flat and stacking the rinsed dishes on it will work. You should arrange the rinsed dishes so that the water can drip off rather than pooling on the dish.
Dry the Rinsed Dishes
If you choose to dry the rinsed dishes by hand rather than letting them drip-dry, you should use a dry dish towel and put them away as you go. Drying the dishes is a simple and straightforward operation. The more you do it, the more tips you’ll pick up and the faster it will go. Over the years, I’ve learned that I can get the job done well and quickly if I dry off similar dishes and stack them up before actually putting them away.
For example, if I’m drying plates, I start by drying one and placing it on the counter next to the drying rack. I dry the next plate and stack it on the first. I repeat this step until I’ve dried all the plates and stacked them on the counter. Then I take the whole stack and put it in the cupboard at once. This reduces the back and forth time of going to and from the cupboard and let’s me gain efficiency.
Once you’ve washed, rinsed, dried and put away all the dishes, it’s time to clean up the sink. Let the plug out to drain the water from the wash basin. Empty the food trap or run the food processor and rinse out the wash basin. Rinse out the dish rag and use it to clean up any splashes or messes made while cooking, then hang it over the sink so that it can dry.