6 Easy Tips for Cleaning the Dishes Quickly

6 Easy Tips for Cleaning the Dishes Quickly

No one likes cleaning the dishes, so follow these 6 tips to make the chore go a bit quicker and easier so you can spend less time cleaning.

We all love to eat, right? But who loves to clean up the dishes afterward? In my 30 years, I’ve only met one person who doesn’t mind dishes: my dad. He likes the warm water on his hands and a clean kitchen, so is always willing to get the dishes clean.

But for those who don’t have someone in the house like my dad, there are a few things you can do to make meal cleanup a bit easier on yourself.

Originally Published On: April 19, 2018

Last Updated On: July 29, 2020

Wash as You Go

The best way to make cleaning easier is to clean your dishes as you go, as much as possible. Not all recipes give you downtime. But if there is, take advantage of it to clean a few of the dishes you’ve already gotten dirty. Or better yet, if you have a willing partner or child who can help, get them in the kitchen cleaning as you cook.

Hands cleaning a fork under running water

Soak your Dishes

For all those dishes that you weren’t able to clean while cooking, at least get them soaking in the sink to clean after eating. It’s much easier to clean stubborn, stuck-on food after it’s been soaking in water.

Red, blue, and green plastic cups in soapy water

Use Hot Water

Have you ever noticed the difference between washing dishes with hot water versus cold water? The hot water makes cleaning dishes so much easier and quicker for a couple of reasons. The hot water cuts through grease and butter better than cold water. And the hot water will also help to sterilize the dishes.

Spoons and measuring spoon in a stainless steel sink with the water running over them

Have the Proper Equipment

When you are washing dishes, it helps to have the proper equipment. It doesn’t take much to clean the dishes. You just need some good dish soap and a way to scrub. I’ve always found that Dawn dish soap seems to work the best when it comes to getting all of the grease and grime off the pans. I also prefer a scrubbing brush, but I know others who use a sponge or a rag. Find out which works best and quickest for you so you can get the job done efficiently.

Yellow sponge in a caddy over a stainless steel sink

Utilize Your Dishwasher

If you have a dishwasher, make sure you use it! Of course, there are some things that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher. We don’t like to put our pots and pans in the dishwasher, or the big mixing bowls just because they take up too much space. But for all of the little things, such as the plates or bowls you eat off of and your silverware, those can go in the dishwasher. Then you don’t have to hand wash as much.

Dishes loaded in a dishwasher

Gradually Fill the Sink

For all the dishes you have to hand wash, start with the smallest things first and only an inch of water in the sink. Wash and rinse these dishes (such as cooking utensils, serving spoons, silverware, etc.) and set them aside to dry. As you rinse, the water will start to fill the sink. Go to your next smallest item, such as plates and bowls. Move on to cups, and finish with pots and pans and large mixing bowls. You won’t use as much water since you are filling the sink as you continue to wash.

Child's hands reaching into soapy water to grab spoons from a sink

Cleaning and Organizing the Kitchen

Working in the Kitchen

30 thoughts on “6 Easy Tips for Cleaning the Dishes Quickly”

    1. We use our dishwasher a lot, but it just recently broke and we can’t get a new one for about 6 weeks! It’s made me really realize how many dishes we use in a day!!

  1. You know, I love cooking. And eating. And preparing. BUT I hate the dishwashing! Your wash as you go tip is a good one because I tend to wait till the machine is fully loaded and this, of course, creates the perception of more work unloading.

  2. I don’t know why but I actually enjoy washing the dishes! Maybe it’s the satisfaction of getting rid of grease and feeling that squeaky clean feel of the dishes afterwards? When I have to rush in the morning I usually just wash them off first with hot/warm water and then leave them soaking in dishwashing liquid so when I get back in the afternoon I only need to scrub! fantastic tips!

  3. I am going to be that weird person ha.. I love your sponge holder! Where did you get it?

    I’m all about quick. so anything that can make things easier is perfect.. great tips (ps I wish I had a dishwasher lol)

  4. These are useful tips! I love eating but I really don’t like doing the dishes afterwards… and our dishwasher has just broken too!

  5. I am a big fan of soaking things that need it instead of trying to kill yourself scrubbing! Always helps a ton!

  6. We do tons of dishwashing daily and we do them manually most of the time because we feel it is a lot cleaner. Great tips, will apply them for sure.

    1. I usually put the regular dishes in the dishwasher and wash all of my cooking utensils, pots and pans, and big items. But, our dishwasher has been broken for a week and it’ll be about 6 weeks until they can get us another, so I am washing everything by hand right now!

  7. I can not stand a dirty kitchen. I try washing as I go. Nevertheless, my favorite dishwasher friend is on standby. The automatic or my son’s. I typically have to soak dishes as well.

  8. I definitely use my dishwasher because I love the steaming feature at the end of the cycle. But I also use the tips you suggested for one-offs, and also, before loading the dishwasher, I soak and rinse things off so food doesn’t get stuff.

    1. I try to get them rinsed as soon as I can instead of waiting a while if they had something dark in them, such as pasta sauce. Hot water and scrub with some good dish soap does the job pretty well. Unfortunately, if they are plastic, they will eventually absorb the colors. I’ve been working on slowly switching all of my containers over to glass or stainless steel for that reason, and they are safer for food.

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