It’s pretty safe to say, washing dishes isn’t anyone’s favorite chore. And although you can’t escape it, you can make it a little more enjoyable. Streamline the process with these simple tips.
Trick No. 1: Start Each Day with an Empty Dishwasher
There’s nothing worse than getting ready to tackle a sink full of dirty dishes, only to realize your dishwasher needs to be emptied. Create a habit of running the dishwasher at night after dinner and emptying it first thing in the morning. Starting each day with an empty dishwasher is a simple step that makes a big difference. As you and your family create dirty dishes throughout the day, you can rinse and pop them into the dishwasher as needed. (Here’s why using the dishwasher is better than washing by hand.)
Trick No. 2: Use a Large Tub of Soapy Water
When you know you’ll be creating a lot of dirty dishes, preparing dinner—use a large tub of soapy water to get a head start on the chore. Before you start cooking, fill a large tub or other container with hot, soapy water and place it next to the sink. As you cook, throw used utensils and other dirty dishes into the soapy tub while you finish making dinner. When it’s time for cleanup, dirty dishes will already be soaking without cluttering up your sink.
Psst: These clever products will make you want to wash dishes.
Trick No. 3: Wash in Order
Did you know there’s actually a particular order to wash your dishes that makes the job easier? To keep the water as clean as possible throughout the job, start with lightly used items. Wash glasses and flatware first. Then move on to plates, bowls and serving dishes. Save the pots, pans and that casserole dish with the baked-on lasagna for last. This way, you’re finishing up with the dirtiest and largest dishes.
Trick No. 4: Don’t Wait
Even though washing dishes is not your favorite chore, putting it off only makes it worse. The dishes will keep piling up, the food left on them dries and gets more difficult to remove, and unwashed dishes are a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck! Try to wash or rinse dishes as soon as they are used, then place them in the dishwasher right away. Letting go of dish-washing procrastination might be a hard habit to break, but as soon as you do, you’ll never look back. Once you’ve kicked the habit of letting dishes pile up, kick these seven other dish-washing mistakes you could be making.
Trick No. 5: Load the Dishwasher Correctly
Be careful not to overcrowd the dishwasher or block water flow with large pieces. Large cutting boards and serving dishes should be placed on the bottom rack, toward the sides or back. Cups, glasses and plasticware, like kids’ dishes, should be placed on the top rack. When loading cutlery, stagger and mix the pieces so that none of them nest together. About once a month, clean your dishwasher thoroughly.
That’s it! Tackle these easy tricks and you’ll be able to relax in no time.
Next up: Learn more cleaning tricks that actually work.