Most of us have dishwashers at home for keeping our dining ware, kitchen utensils, and cookware in pristine condition. There are certain items that require a more personal, hands-on approach however. In such instances, we should be ready to get down and dirty since these kitchen items will need our tender loving care. To be more specific, we have to wash them by hand and make sure that they are clean and sanitary before we use them again. For some, washing dishes by hand may be a tedious task. For others, it’s a sensory experience like no other. Regardless of how you look at washing dishes by hand, one thing is certain: you have to do it the correct way. Here are 10 handy tips to accomplish this.
Wear the Right Gloves
Wearing the right dishwashing gloves can help protect your hands from the chemicals that may be present in your dishwashing soap. You don’t want to strip the natural oils from your hands, do you? You can also help protect your hands from potential scrapes and cuts as you wipe off food particles from the dishes. It’s a good barrier against rogue sharp kitchen utensils, too.
One of the positive things we often overlook about dishwashing gloves is the firm grip they provide. This is true when handling dishes that are slippery in themselves. Add to this the use of soapy water and you can have a dicey issue. At least, with the gloves over your hands you will have a firm grip on your kitchen items.
Invest in a Good Dish Rack
There are some folks who don’t think it’s necessary to get a dish rack. Some would rather stack their just-cleaned dishes on top of a piece of towel on the kitchen countertop to dry. This may work for a few pieces of plates. But, if you’re working with many dishes, then you are courting disaster. These dishes can fall into your kitchen sink or the kitchen floor in an avalanche of ceramic and glass.
A good drying rack is what you need to keep everything in order. Invest in a dish rack that comes with a drip pan at the bottom. This will catch the water that is draining or dripping from your dishes. It can also help prevent spilling water onto the countertop. Be mindful of the size, though. You don’t want the rack to occupy every bit of space on the countertop.
Remove Food from Your Dishes Immediately after Use
If there’s one thing about hand washing dishes that can be a real challenge, it would be having food particles sticking on the surface like glue. This happens to dirty dishes that remain dirty for longer than 12 hours. During the time that the dish is waiting for your hands to clean it, moisture is evaporating. With the loss of moisture comes the tendency of the food particle to stick to the surface.
It is for this reason that you should remove food particles from dishes immediately after use. You don’t have to clean or wash them yet if you’re not in the mood. Wipe off the surface of your dishes and stack them the kitchen sink.
Soak Dishes with Stubborn Food Deposits
If you fail to remove food particles right after using the dishes, there’s a tendency that they will stick to the surface like glue. Facing such a dilemma, it is best to soak these dishes in hot soapy water solution. You can get a large bowl or basin and fill this with hot water. Add a few drops of the best dish soap and stir the solution with a ladle. Don’t use your hands as the water temperature can be high enough to scald you.
Try to remove as much of the food particles as you can. Put the dishes and other kitchen items into the hot soapy water solution and leave them overnight. The following day, these should already be easy to clean. You can place them under running water while scrubbing away at the stubborn food particles. You can also sprinkle some baking soda to help in the scrubbing action. If there are still food particles that you cannot remove, soak the dish some more.
Wash with the Hottest Water that You Can Tolerate
There are many reasons why hot water works best in washing and cleaning dishes and other items. Heat can loosen stubborn particles and allow them to break off from their attachment. Hot water also “melts” grease and oils that are present on your dishes. Sure you can use the best dish soap with grease-cutting technology, but hot water works best. Hot water can also help dry glasses and cutlery without ever leaving streak marks or spots.
As a general rule, the hotter the water temperature, the better it is in cleaning your dishes. However, you have to be careful as hot water can be dangerous, too. You can scald your hands, resulting in painful burn injuries. That is why you need to wear the right dishwashing gloves to protect your hands from hot water.
Use the Right Sponge and Other Cleaning Tools
You may have the best dish soap and the right dishwashing gloves, but if you don’t also use the right sponge then everything else is for naught. It makes perfect sense. A good sponge should have a non-scratching surface so it will not create streak marks and other surface imperfections on your dishes.
It may also be wise to invest in a dish wand so you can pour some dishwashing liquid soap right in the handle. This can make washing a real breeze. A dish scrub brush can also come in handy if germs are a concern of yours. There’s also a scraper that is perfect for removing tough materials on your dishes.
Be More Efficient in the Use of Dish Soap
Most of us wash the dishes by wetting the sponge and adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid soap. This works, but is not an efficient way in washing the dishes by hand. A better solution is to fill a small bowl of warm water. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and stir the solution. Dunk your sponge into the warm soapy solution and start washing.
Dip your sponge into this soapy solution every time you don’t see soap suds on the dishes anymore. It’s a much more efficient way of cleaning dishes without having to squirt soap onto the sponge every now and then. It is more practical, too.
Observe the Clean-as-You-Go Protocol
We hear this phrase very often, but we seldom practice it in our kitchens. We only want to emphasize the importance of keeping your kitchen clean all the time. This is also true with hand washing dishes. Right after using a plate or bowl, you can immediately wash and rinse it with water.
Keeping a large container of soapy water in your kitchen sink can help provide for a nifty cleaning system. Get a large bowl and fill this with hot soapy water. You can dunk your dirty spoons, forks, dishes, and other kitchenware into the solution. Immersing these dishes in hot soapy solution can start the process of removing food particles and grease. When you’re ready to wash them, it will be a cinch.
Wash from the Cleanest to the Dirtiest
If you look at your dinnerware and kitchenware you will notice that there are certain items that are “cleaner” than others. Drinking vessels and glassware are cleaner than cutlery. As such, you should wash these first before you start cleaning your spoons, forks, and knives. Next in line are the plates and bowls before washing greasy serving bowls and dishes. The last items that you need to wash are your pots and pans.
Proceeding from the cleanest to the dirtiest can help you avoid contaminating the water wash. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you are going to use a single basin of water for everything. Take note of the wash water. If it is already getting grimy and greasy, you may want to replace it altogether.
Create a System for Washing Dishes
Find a system of hand washing dishes that works best for you. You can pre-rinse all of the dishes first before applying a solution of warm soapy water. Leave your dishes for about 2 to 3 minutes so the soapy solution can do its magic. You can then start washing and rinsing the items one by one.
If you have a 2-sink kitchen, you can adopt a more systematic approach. Fill one of the sinks with hot soapy solution. Fill the other with cold water and vinegar solution. Dunk your items in the hot water sink and wash them. Move them to the cold water sink for rinsing. Dry your items in the dish rack.
Washing your dishes by hand is easy if you have a system to follow. Keep these tips in mind so you’ll have a much better chance at a fuss-free dish handwashing activity.
- What Gets Your Dishes Cleaner: You or Your Dishwasher? – HowStuffWorks
- Hand Washing Your Dishes Could Be Better For Kids’ Health – HuffPost