It might seem simple at first – and it largely is – but there are a surprising number of useful steps to washing dishes by hand.
Before Hand Washing Dishes
As with so many things, using a few tricks before you need to hand wash the dishes can help save you time and effort.
- If dishes are left out too long, they dry out and become harder to wash. So, if you can’t wash the dishes immediately, cover them with water to prevent this from happening.
- If pans are heavily soiled – e.g. with burnt-on food – it may be necessary to soak them. Cover them with hot water and a couple of drops of dish soap and leave overnight. The dirt should lift off easily when you come to hand wash them.
- Invest in a pair of sturdy gloves for washing dishes and utensils so you don’t have to come into contract with the leftover food or worry about drying out your skin.
A Step-by-Step Guide for Washing Dishes
- If you don’t have a side sink, wash your dishes in a plastic bowl.
- Make sure your sink or bowl is thoroughly clean before you wash your dishes. If it’s dirty, you’re only going to be moving grease around.
- Fill your sink or bowl most of the way up with hot water and a few drops of Vim. The hotter the water, the easier it will be to shift dirt, and the faster everything will dry. Use dishwashing gloves for cleaning utensils and plates if you have some; this will offer some protection from the heat of the water but also stop your fingers going wrinkly!
- You should only need a little dish soap – don’t be tempted to use more. A few drops of Vim, for example, will go a surprisingly long way and just one spoonful of Vim liquid (3.7ml) in a bowl of warm water (40ml) should be enough to clean an entire sink full of dishes
- Start with the least greasy items progressing to the greasiest. First, wash glasses, continuing to cutlery, crockery, and – finally – cooking pans themselves. Make sure to change the water if it becomes too dirty.
- Before hand washing dishes, scrape any loose food off into the bin to reduce the amount of dirt and the risk of blockage.
- Submerge the items in the sink and scrub with a pad. Use a coarser pad first if necessary.
- Rinse with hot water and leave to dry.
Tips When Hand Dishwashing
- Cast Iron and Other Delicate Pans. Pans used for frying often need special care to prevent rust. Always hand-dry these immediately (rather than leaving them to dry) and then rub them with a dry cloth and a little cooking oil to restore their protective oily layer. You may want to keep your dish gloves on for this!
- When the Plates Pile Up. If you have a big stack of plates or cutlery, put on your dishwashing gloves and submerge the whole lot in the sink. They’ll get a soak, and it’ll save you having to fetch them from the side one by one.
For more information on how to clean dishes by hand, refer to other Cleanipedia articles like this one.