wash dishes by hand
Kitchen Cleaning

How to Wash Dishes by Hand

Unfortunately, dishes can pile up after a family meal or dinner party! Get the job done as quickly as possible with these simple tips on washing dishes by hand.

You might have many different reasons for washing dishes by hand – compared to using a dishwasher, it could save electricity, and can also be the best way to protect and clean any delicate items like wine glasses. Follow our advice to maximise the time you spend doing the dishes.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Washing Dishes by Hand

  • Particularly dirty dishes should be soaked in advance – This is key. If you have burnt-on grease on your pans or pots, then put a few drops of SUNLIGHT dishwashing liquid inside and then fill them with warm or hot water. Let them soak for as long as you can – the longer they soak, the easier it can be to remove any tough stains.
  • Prepare the sink – Plug the sink drain, and (if you have one) put a washing up bowl in the sink. Add a few squirts of a dishwashing liquid like SUNLIGHT, and fill the sink basin or bowl with warm water. Wash the dishes inside this water to save on water, energy, and dish soap. If you wash each dish individually under the tap, you’ll be wasting a lot more resources!
  • Start with the ‘cleanest’ dishes and move onto anything more oily or dirty – this way, the dishwashing bath won’t get too greasy too soon. Start with glasses, then cutlery, then plates and bowls. Finish with the dishes used to cook with, as these are likely the most dirty!
  • Rinse the dishes — Once you’ve scrubbed all the food off the dishes, set them aside and rinse them all together afterward. Make sure there’s no soapy film remaining on the dishes.
  • When drying dishes, use a dish rack— If you have the time and space, air-drying the dishes is the easiest and most hygienic option. Dishtowels can harbour bacteria, so if you must hand-dry your dishes, make sure the towel is clean.
wash dishes by hand

Additional Tips for Dishwashing by Hand

Now that you know the basic steps, keep these additional tips in mind for clean dishes.

Hot water cuts through grease the best – However, if you are washing dishes with dairy products or anything starchy on them, use cold water instead. These foods can become gummy upon contact with warm water.

Vinegar and Baking Soda – This is a special trick for particularly tough, burnt-on stains. Pour one spoonful of baking soda and 3-4 tablespoons of vinegar into the dish, and scrub away at the stain. This option is not to be used on brushed metal and non-stick pans like stainless steel, as baking soda can be very abrasive. Always test on a small area of your dish or pan first.

Delicate dishes? – Wash anything particularly delicate on its own. You can place a towel at the bottom of the bowl or sink before you start washing – this might help cushion the delicate items and make them less likely to break.

Washing dishes by hand should be a snap with our how-to guide and tips. It’s easy to ensure your dishes remain clean and sparkling!

Top Tip


You’ll find washing dishes by hand much easier with great equipment – invest in some rubber gloves to look after your hands, a washing up bowl to keep food fragments from clogging the drain, and pick up a bottle of high quality dishwashing liquid like SUNLIGHT for gleaming results.