Ask a House Cleaner, Wash Dishes by Hand, Savvy Cleaner

Wash Dishes By Hand – Easy Peasy

Wash dishes by hand when you have no dishwasher? Or how about when your dishes are not dishwasher safe?

Today on Ask a House Cleaner we learn how to wash dishes by hand, and the art of soaking pots and pans.

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru answers questions on housekeeping. Should you wash dishes with running water? What kind of Dish soap or non-scratch scrub sponge should you use? Should you dry your dishes by hand and with what? What kind of dish drainer should you use?

When you wash dishes by hand does it consume more water? Or is there a better way to hand wash dishes? All these tips and more. Right here, right now.

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Listen: Wash Dishes By Hand

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Watch: Wash Dishes By Hand

Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Question: What Is The Best Way To Wash Dishes By Hand?

Today’s question comes from a college student who just found out that the college dorm he’s going to, does not have a dishwasher. And he wants to know; “What is the best way for me to wash dishes by hand?”

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Answer: Wash Dishes By Hand Tips & Tricks

 Alright, well that’s awesome because lots of people that have dishwashers still do wash their dishes by hand. And there are a couple different reasons for that.

Wash Dishes by Hand dish drainer on sinkNot All Dishes Are Dishwasher Safe

If you’ve ever thought about washing dishes by hand, here a couple of tips that will help the job go easy.

First of all, you want to have a dish drainer. And that can be inside your sink where every time you wash dishes you just leave them there in the dish drainer. And the water will drip down the drain. So that’s all you have to do you just wait until the air dries them out.

That’s not my preference. Because every time you turn on the faucet you re-wet those dishes, so for me, it’s not effective.

Keep a Dish Drainer On The Counter Near The Sink Wash Dishes by Hand dish drainer on countertop

But another way you can do it is you can have a dish drainer right by the side of the sink on the top of the countertop.

And lots of people will buy a great big dish drainer so that it will hold pots and pans and cutting boards.

And while I do have a dishwasher, my preference is to use the bottom rack of my dishwasher as my dish drainer. Because it’s huge. Right?
And it holds all my dishes, and my pots and pans, and all that stuff. And it even has the necessary silverware holder.

Instead of a drip pan, I just use a towel on my counter top and then I change that towel out of a couple of times a week. Only clear water is dripping on that towel so it’s not building up a lot of bacteria.

But you do want to change it regularly if you go the towel route.

Towel or Drip Pan When You Wash Dishes by Hand?

Now, some people will actually buy a dish drainer that has a drain pan underneath it. Just make sure that the drain pan is over the edge of the sink. So that as the water drains, it drains right into your sink and not out onto your floor.

Because if there is standing water on that dish drain, or if water gets underneath it, then it does build a bacterium and it leaves marks on your counter.

So, you want to make sure that at least once or twice a week you take the dish drainer off the counter. And you take the drainer pan off the counter. And you wipe everything down. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t have stuff that’s building up under there and getting icky.

Wash Dishes by Hand sink full of dish waterIf You Wash Dishes by Hand Do You Need A Sink Full of Water?

Well, I don’t think so. That’s not how I wash dishes.

But if you had a lot of people at your house, or if you had a big party. Maybe. Let’s say it was Thanksgiving, and you were going through a lot of dishes, then it might make sense.

If you’re going to wash 8 or 10 or 20 dishes sure, you can fill up the sink with soapy water. If you have one of those double sinks, fill one up with soapy water. Fill the other one up with clear water and put about a half a cup of vinegar in it.

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Why Use Vinegar When You Wash Dishes by Hand?

Now, the cleaning vinegar that we use for pretty much everything in our house is great for dishes.

Especially for rinsing glass, china, and stainless steel. Rinsing your dishes in a sink of clear water with vinegar will prevent the dishes from streaking, and spotting. So, yay!

What Supplies Do You Need When You Wash Dishes by Hand? Wash Dishes by Hand dish soap and sponge

Now, I’ve seen people wash dishes by hand, and they have all kinds of little kitchen gadgetry. Scrub brushes and rags and things that they use for washing dishes.

I am a super simple person. I like to make it easy. And so, for me, I just have a little pump of dishwashing soap and I have a non-scratch scrub sponge that’s it that’s all I got that’s all I got.

So, how do I use it? I use the faucet sprayer to get the dishes wet (1-2 seconds.) Then, I put a couple of drops of dish soap on my scrub sponge.
And I wash my dishes. My scrub sponge is wet. But there is no water in the sink and the faucet is not on. I’m just knocking the food off.  I’m rubbing it down with soap and then I stack them all in the other sink.

Then I grab the sprayer and I rinse the soap off the dishes and put the dishes in the drainer.
That’s it. Super simple.

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Save Work, Save Water When You Wash Dishes by Hand

So that way I’m not using much water because even if you fill up a whole sink of water you’re talking about 2 gallons of water. Which is a lot of water if maybe you only need three or four cups of water.

And when you use that sprayer it rinses all the soap off the dishes and you can do it all at one time. Easy, peasy.

Now, when you wash silverware you can grab the whole handful of silverware. Grab the scrub sponge in one hand and clean the silverware you’re holding in the other hand.

And then you can kind of filter through them, and spray them off so that you’re spraying them all off at one time.

You got the whole handful of silverware in your hand.

And without setting it down, once rinsed it goes in the dish drainer.

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What Are The Rules for Washing Dishes?

Well, the rules are these:

  1. Keep it super simple. Don’t over complicate the dishwashing process.
  2. Wash dishes after each use.
  3. Soak hard to clean pots and pans with hot soapy water.

After you finish with a dish, rinse it out and put it in the dish drainer. There are no value or time savings to leaving food to dry and stick to dishes, pots or pans.
Even before you serve a meal, all your prep dishes and cooking utensils should be in the dish rack drying.

Soak Your Pots and Pans Wash Dishes by Hand soaking pan

Now, if you do have a pot or pan and it has caked-on gunk.

You can put a couple of drops of dish soap in it. Add some hot water and set that on the side of your counter. And let that soak while you serve and eat dinner.

When you do your dinner dishes, you can also rinse out the pots and pans that are soaking.

Don’t wait for a couple of days to get around to cleaning the soaking pots. The water will turn cold and greasy. Not fun.

Wash Your Dishes After Each Meal

Okay, so another thing is when the meal is over.
Lots of people take their dishes and they go put them in the kitchen sink. While they are sitting in the sink, the food dries and sucks the moisture out of the food and it sticks to the plate. And now you have a lot more clean-up than you did if you were to just rinse them off right then.

Don’t create more work for yourself by waiting to wash your dishes by hand later.

If You Use Water, Should You Turn it On Full Blast or a Trickle?

Use as much water as you need and no more.
If you use the dry wash method where you wet your dishes and scrub them down with no water running – you will conserve water.

Whether you use a faucet sprayer or a trickle of water – turn the faucet on enough to rinse the soap off the dishes. You don’t have to turn it on full blast.

Is It Necessary to Dry Dishes By Hand?

It’s a great question. And you can. Wash Dishes by Hand Waffle Weave Drying Towel
I mean you can. It’s up to you if you would like to dry them and put them away.
My recommendation would be to have a waffle weave microfiber cloth.

Because that’s going to suck the water out. It’s going to do a great job and won’t leave any spots or drips on your dishes.

They’re kind of expensive there about $11 bucks for two of them. You can get them on Amazon and here’s a secret buy them in the automotive department. But they last forever and they are worth it if you dry your dishes by hand.

The wrong kind of towel will smear the water around and leave streaks on your dishes.

Dishes Will Dry Naturally If You Let Them

Wash Dishes by Hand Waffle Weave Dish Drainer

Dishes in a drainer will dry on their own. Go do something else. Then when you come back in the kitchen you have a couple of choices. You can leave them in the drainer. Or you can put them away.

And for college kids, do you need to even really put them away?

I don’t know. If you’re using one bowl, one plate, one spoon, you might just leave it in the dish drainer until you need it again. And then rinse it off and put it right back.
I’ve had a dishwasher for 20+ years. But I’ve only ever used my dishwasher five or six times.
I do use it if I’m home during Thanksgiving. Because I have lots and lots of dishes.
But for the most part, I’m rinsing out a cup or a bowl or something that’s easy to just rinse and dry.
And I just leave the dish drainer there.

And then when I need it again, it’s just right there waiting for me.

Hide Your Dishes When Company Arrives

Wash Dishes by Hand Waffle leave kitchen clean

Now, here’s a secret: if I’m expecting company, I put the dish drainer back in the dishwasher. I remove the towel and bam! My kitchen is clean.

Even if your dishes aren’t dry, they can go back in the dishwasher. No one but you will ever know.

Washing Dishes by Hand Is as Old as My Great Grandmother

My Mom washed dishes by hand. Her Mom washed dishes by hand, and so did her mom. Maybe even her Mom and the Mom before. My point is it’s not a new concept. It’s the way it used to be.

If you don’t have time to wait for a dishwashing cycle, or you are trying to conserve energy, water, time, wash your dishes by hand.

It is a skill that easy to learn, and your dishes will always be clean if you stay on top of them. And, lots of dishes are not dishwasher safe.

Thinking about it? Give it a try. You got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Okay, so that’s my tip for today.

I hope you enjoyed it. Leave us a comment if you have a better way to wash dishes. I would love to hear your ideas.

And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Professional Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel –

Non-Scratch Scrub Sponge –

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Sink Caddy – shown to hold dish soap and scrub sponge –

Vitamix 5200 Blender, Black is shown in Dish Drainer –

White Distilled Cleaning Vinegar 1 Gallon –

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