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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, so you don’t have to hand wash as much.
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, so go to your next smallest item, such as plates and bowl. 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.