Doing Dishes

First I rinse everything that needs to be rinsed. Then I put all the cutlery in the bottom of the sink. I turn on hot water and rinse the sink, making sure there are no food chunkies left in the bottom. I put the plug in and squirt some soap while the hot water runs. I let the water run until I have a few inches of soap and water. Then I wash dishes using a dishcloth (not a sponge), starting with cutlery, and ending with the biggest and/or dirtiest dish. If the dishes are dirty with stuck on food, I use a plastic scouring pad that gets replaced monthly. If it’s really stuck on, I dump a little baking soda in the dish and make a paste with water and scrub like a maniac.

Before the dishes get put on the drying rack, they get rinsed in hot water. Once all the dishes are washed, rinsed, and put on the rack, I rinse out my dishcloth and thoroughly wipe down my counters (and my stove if I did the cooking there). My counters get wiped a couple of times every day. The only things that don’t air dry are my knives because they’re the most expensive thing in my apartment besides my couch. I like my knives. My knives are my children. My knives don’t talk back to me. My knives are pretty.

I replace my dishcloths every 3 to 5 days. I have different towels for dish drying and hand drying. Those get replaced every 5 to 7 days. If I ever have to wipe up the floor, I either use paper towels or I throw the cloth or towels in the wash immediately. Raw meat juice gets sprayed with disinfectant and wiped with paper towels.

My mother washes dishes like this, as do my siblings. I assumed (until fairly recently) this is how everyone did dishes. I was wrong. Very wrong.

As it turns out there are huge divides when it comes to sponge versus cloth and how you wipe counters. Or IF you even wipe counters (YOU NEED TO WIPE YOUR COUNTERS). This causes me significant (probably unnecessary) stress and I want to know if anyone out there is as neurotic as I am about dishes (oh gosh, I hope so).

This type of thing fascinates me. How can something so simple vary so drastically? How can some people be super gross about dish washing? Who taught you to wash dishes? WHY DON’T YOU WIPE YOUR COUNTERS?

Please indulge me and explain your process. Sponge or cloth? Full sink or running water? Rinse or no rinse? Hand dry or drying rack? What gets left out of the dishwasher? What about your counters? Am I insane? Have I waved my freak flag a little too enthusiastically with this post?



21 thoughts on “Doing Dishes

  1. We use a dishwasher for almost everything. There’s some knives and other odds and ends that are hand wash only. I disinfect the sink when raw meat or peanuty items were involved. I wipe the counters with Clorox wipes. I will not not not touch a dish cloth or sponge. These are the cleanliness equivalent of a pond scum cesspool.

      • Paper towels and lemon-y disinfectant spray!

        P.S.- I just read your “Why I write”, and I’m just going to read the following to everyone who wants to better understand me:

        “I write better than I speak. If I sound well spoken, it’s only because I’ve already written about it. If I speak about something before I write, I pause, I stammer, I lose my train of thought and I have to stare off in to space to formulate sentences in my head before they come out of my mouth. My mouth doesn’t move as quickly as my brain does, but my typing fingers can usually keep up.”

  2. Dishwasher except for pots and pans that can’t go in there, in which case they sit on the stove until the next use when we have to wash them to use them. haha. I usually make Craig do it. Sponge, running water, towel dry.

    I clean the counters with 409 cleaner and paper towels because I’d rather just throw it away than have to clean towels all the time. hashtag lazy.

  3. I have no dishwasher, so everything is washed by hand. First I rinse whatever needs rinsing with running water, then cutlery goes in the sink, and I rinse the sink with hot water, put in the plug and add detergent while I half-fill the sink. I also half-fill a second sink with clean hot water for rinsing. I wash glasswear and fine china first, then cutlery, and end with the biggest or dirtiest dish. I wash the dishes with a scourer sponge or a dish brush if necessary, then everything gets rinsed in the second sink before being stacked on the draining rack. And yes, the benches get wiped. Mostly I leave things to air dry, but if anyone else is in the house, washing and drying together is a good community activity.

  4. Yes, you’re a little crazy. And cloth, running water, rinse, air dry, big stuff like pots and pans and my knives get hand washed ( because they’re nice and it said to hand wash them on the booklet). I wipe the counters a lot too and also spray a disinfectant spray that smells nice once a day before I wipe. Also all of this is now done in 5 minute bits when I get a minute now that I have a baby and nothing is ever all clean at the same time anymore ugh.

  5. First, everything gets put into the dishwasher that will possibly fit and is safe. Then, I wash the hands dishes under running water soaking anything that needs it. Everything dries in the drying track. I wash with a sponge that is replaced monthly and set out of the sink to dry, but I run fast and loose with the germs. It’s good for the immune system. If everyone is helping, someone is assigned to wipe counters, but if everyone has deserted me, getting the dishes done is triumph enough. I have at least 85 square feet of countertops possibly 114. I can never get the math on that. It’s a lot, and after I homeschool, clean up, chase the toddler, and feed and launder a family of 5 sometimes the couch is louder than the countertops. Sorry for letting you down.

    • Oh and when I get to the counters, it’s a homemade vinegar, soap, essential oil cleaner or just water and a dishrag, replaced often. I will bleach raw meat juice, though.

  6. I feel like you and I would get along really well, based solely on this post. When I hand wash dishes & knives, it’s with a dishcloth, never a sponge, as those aren’t allowed in my house! (Sponges are one of the grossest things to me…sorry to all I offend.) The cloths are replaced almost daily, as I use them to wash dishes daily and to wipe down all of my counters and stove (and sometimes the faces of my cupboards and around drawer pulls…). I’m with you on the sanitizer/paper towel combo for meat juice and floor messes. Everything hand-washed air dries. I do have a scrub brush, for very rare moments when I need to clean a soup pot or something. It gets replaces on a regular basis, and it gets cleaned in the dishwasher often… I do have a dishwasher for the majority of my dishes. It MUST be loaded in a very precise order, everything has its specific place. Not that I’m obsessive about any of this stuff or anything…

  7. When I moved to New Zealand, I realized just how crazy different washing processes can be. I was taught to rise the dishes, then put the dishes in the dishwasher. There were always the known “handwash” items both my siters and myself knew NEVER went in the washer. The sink was rinsed and filled with hot water and soap. Vigorous washing and burning of hands were had. Also screaming when hands had to be pulled out of the water. Then dishes are rinsed and dried immediately. We had a drying rack, but it was only used when two or more people were involved in the washing/drying process. If I’m alone, I’ll dry immediately.

    What I found, is that in NZ, they wash their dishes and then put them in the drying rack to sit. Oh yeah, AND THEY DON’T RINSE THE SOAP OFF. I know. Luckily, I was taught, and thus was able to teach my flatmates.

  8. I like to give the dishwasher the benefit of the doubt.
    When I put a peanut butter covered knife in, I whisper, “You can do, believe in yourself.” Then I hand wash it the next day.

    Never give up hope.

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