Kitchen Confidence

The Only Way You Should Wash Your Dishes

By • July 17, 2012 • 75 Comments

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Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today: the definitive way to wash dishes.

Washing Dishes

Dishwashing is an art form in my family -- the standards and stakes are high. Put a dish away with a drop of grease or a sticky bit and you'll hear about it, sometimes for years. I will confess that despite the following detailed guide, I'm considered the worst dishwasher in my family. 

Step 1: You want clean dishes? You need three simple things: heat, elbow grease, and organization. First, rinse off all dishes, pots, silverware with extremely hot water. The heat helps melt off any cooking fats, sweeping them down the drain. Set them to the side of the sink. If anything needs to soak, fill it with water and save it for last. 

Step 2. Sprinkle a little dish soap (I like Palmolive, which cuts grease better than any other commercial brand I've found) in the sink and using hot water and a dish cloth, wipe out and rinse the sink. You won't get clean dishes if your sink is oily. 

Washing Dishes

Step 3. Fill the sink with hot -- hot! -- soapy water. Scrub the dishes on all sides -- lots of people only scrub the tops, forgetting that the plate/dish/pot was set on top of another dirty plate/dish/pot. Use that elbow grease! Rinse with very hot water and set in a dish drainer in a position that will allow the water to stream off of it. If the water gets at all cloudy, empty the sink and start over. Dirty dishes will not get clean in dirty water.

Washing dishes

Step 4. Dry the dishes with a thin cotton dish towel. Clean your dish drainer and dry it so it doesn't get funky (some dish drainers are worse than the dishes). 

Step 5. Clean around the sink, wiping the faucet and back splash, then wash out the sink; rinse and firmly wring out the dish cloth and hang it in on a rod so it will dry. Never leave sponges or dishcloths in the sink. Who wants to have wring out a cold, wet dishcloth before using it -- gross!

Appendix: Sponges are generally a no-no; think of all the vile stuff that gets caught inside of them. Dishcloths can be washed (daily, if you live with my mom). Hand towels and dish towels should live separately. Never use gloves -- if you do, you can't feel the dishes and sense residual grease; also get in there, and embrace your work! If you want to scrub a pot, one of those scrub brushes is not going to cut it; Chore Boys are your friend.

Editors' Note: This was reprinted, verbatim, from a staff email on 6/18/2012.

Jump to Comments (75)

Tags: kitchen confidence, dishwashing, washing dishes, cleaning, how-to & diy

Comments (75)

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3 months ago Happy Jan

When I was taught how to wish dishes properly in Home Ec class in high school we were told you start with the least dirty items such as glasses and cutlery (after rinsing of course). Otherwise all of your advice is spot on. Luckily I have a dish washer and only use these methods for things that can't go in.

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4 months ago Tatiana

No gloves? I could not stand the temperature of my hot water if I did not wear gloves.

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4 months ago jessica

So I have a plastic dish strainer that keeps this film of funk on it i have bleached it, soaked it in vinegar used baking soda, scrubbed it but yet when it dries it still has this film on it help

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

4 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I wish I had a solution for you, but it sounds like you've made every reasonable effort! It might need to be replaced, alas.

Stringio

6 months ago Em Veraldi

How on earth do you not RINSE your plates out. Yum, you're eating delicious soap dish with added emulsified food particles.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

6 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hi Em -- I think you might have missed step 3, in which I wrote, "Rinse with very hot water and set in a dish drainer in a position that will allow the water to stream off of it." Agree that eating soap would not be fun!

Stringio

6 months ago Em Veraldi

So I did. Serves me right reading while sleepy! Sorry. It's one of my pet peeves that so many people wash their dishes and don't rinse them :(

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7 months ago carole

A few years ago I retired and moved from a large, well applianced kitchen to an apartment with a small kitchen with no dishwasher. My co-ops dishwashing, green dishwashing soap is even better when I add a tablespoon of Borax. It softens the water and helps get everything sparkling clean. My glasses, put bottom down to air dry are spotless in short order! The first time I used Borax, I couldn't believe my eyes. During the past month I have been eliminating cleaning products that contain toxic chemicals and making my own solutions based on a wealth of recipes on Pinterest.com. Vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and lemon juice are mixed in various ways to clean. Essential oils like lemon or lavender added to most solutions give me a boost as I clean ..... Lovely, really. My sponge goes into the microwave every day. Once a week I clean the microwave with lemon juice/water in a bowl for 10 minutes on high followed by a wipe down. Life is good!

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about 1 year ago Wilda Harrison

When I have a lot of dirty greasy dishes I add a little javel to my hot water and let my dishes soak for a few minutes before I wash and rinse them very well.

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about 1 year ago Heather

My roomamte never fills the sink when washing dishes but instead uses one of those sponge soap dispensers. It appears that the bottoms of plates and bowls are not washed and after being risnsed never put upside down to drain. Food is also not scraped off the dishes or cookware before washing so that the food collects in the partially covered drain.
I on the other hand put my dishes in the sink in hotter than I can usually stand for more than a second. I soak everything for a couple of minutes and wash the cutlery first rinsing as the sink fills more for the other dishes. Rinsing with very hot water also ensures the water evaprates quickly so that drying is quick and doesn't require using a dish towel.
My roommate believes her method is just fine and any suggestions otherwise have been dismissed, yet I frequently have to rewash something that I pull from the drawer or cupboard before using it.

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7 months ago Heather

Oh dear. Apparently I did not proofread before posting that, as I see letters reversed, letters missing and just generally a poorly composed note. I wil blame lack of sleep. :o/

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about 1 year ago merilerole

Most dishwashers use water that's hotter than your bare hand could ever stand. And dries with a high heat. Less bacteria will survive that process than your fingers. Go for the high end appilances like Bosch. Your mother would be pleased.

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4 months ago ediblesprysky

Okay, I'll do that. A top-of-the-line stainless steel dishwasher is winging its way toward me as we speak. One tiny problem, though. My apartment has one wall (about 8 feet long) that comprises the kitchen area, including my stove, refrigerator, and all my cabinetry. I would immediately take a sledgehammer to my single under-counter cabinet in the pursuit of ever-cleaner dishes, but I think my landlord might object. Perhaps I could sneak the dishwasher into the communal laundry/bike storage room in the basement? I could share with the neighbors then--maybe if I ask real nice, they would even pitch in on the cost. Yes, I think this plan could work. I'll have to distract the super while the delivery guys bring it in and install it, but that's a small price to pay (perhaps literally, if it comes to bribes) to achieve truly clean dishes. Thank you for inspiring my ingenuity and showing me the way to true hygiene.

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about 1 year ago sabu

You don't "ring" a dishrag or a sponge. You wring it.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Simple typos -- all fixed now.

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over 2 years ago Monika H

I like to use some sort of barrier in the SS sink to protect against glasses or dishes slipping and breaking whille washing. But using a plastic or rubber sink mat ends up attracting black mold and cleaning them is harder and more labor intensive than doing an entire load of dishes. Any other ideas?

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over 2 years ago Monika H

I like to use some sort of barrier in the SS sink to protect against glasses or dishes slipping and breaking whille washing. But using a plastic or rubber sink mat ends up attracting black mold and cleaning them is harder and more labor intensive than doing an entire load of dishes. Any other ideas?

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over 2 years ago Monika H

I like to use some sort of barrier in the SS sink to protect against glasses or dishes slipping and breaking whille washing. But using a plastic or rubber sink mat ends up attracting black mold and cleaning them is harder and more labor intensive than doing an entire load of dishes. Any other ideas?

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over 2 years ago phyllis

So, my dishwasher has been out of commission for a week while we wait for a part to arrive. Ron and I have been washing the dishes by hand. No thought involved, but we follow the same plan as Amanda, except we use a sponge, and I put it into the microwave everyday. I feel cleaner and less prone to lingering bacteria using my dishwasher, but the dishes, etc., are very clean and non-greasy. I'm happy we are only two at the moment.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad this method is working for you -- but, yes, hope the dishwasher is back in service asap!

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over 2 years ago romanticf16

For the reader having trouble finding Chore Boy products- I find them and Fels Naptha Soap Bars at my local hardware store- not at the bog box chain stores but the local one like ACE.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you for this suggestion.

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over 2 years ago romanticf16

For the reader having trouble finding Chore Boy products- I find them and Fels Naptha Soap Bars at my local hardware store- not at the bog box chain stores but the local one like ACE.

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over 2 years ago marynn

Wow! I am/was? a Dawn junkie. Palmolive. Who knew?

Confidential to Amanda--that beautiful wedding ring (I think I have seen pearls) and your admirable dish-assembale may not be great long term...

Is there a ring stash attachment on your IKEA above board sink?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Wow, good eye. Yes there's a pearl in there and you're totally right -- I bewildered Merrill's friend, who's a jeweler, when I showed him how the pearl had shrunk in size and was rattling around in the setting. He'd never seen a pearl that had lost layers -- clearly a result of all the dish-washing I do. I decided that rather than risk forgetting the ring somewhere, I'd just wear it all the time and replace the pearl every few years. Gave me an excuse to get a grey pearl!

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over 2 years ago jenniebgood

I'm gonna debate! I think gloves are a must as well - as I've gotten older my skin has gotten much drier, and in the winter time especially, my hands are chapped and bleeding if I don't use gloves on a regular basis.

My cure for this (I'm not sure if this tip has been mentioned): before I put on the gloves, I slather on lotion (really heavy duty stuff - like Eucerine) - the hot water melts the lotion right into my hands and when I take them off after a good washing session, My hands feel like as though they've been treated to a spa session.

Stringio

7 months ago davidwh

Great suggestion! I, too, must wear gloves to use the hottest water possible. I am thorough and have never had to rewash anything with this method. Elbow grease!

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over 2 years ago Chef CrystalLife

Amanda knows what's up!!! Old School style wins again. Elbow grease, soap and hot H20! Amanda, I am sure that you great grandmother, grandmother and mother, are very proud!

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over 2 years ago ELCookie

So glad you mentioned Chore Boys. They are the best. That is what we use in my family but they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. When I do find them I try to stock up.

Cindy_laughing_at_rog's_ceo_dinner_2

over 2 years ago saltandserenity

I am laughing about the fact that washing dishes has spurred 44 passionate comments! Of course I must get my two cents in here as well. I love to snap on my rubber gloves. It makes me feel like the surgeon my mother wanted me to be. I am a diehard Dawn (original flavour onyl please!!!) fan. I find it gets rid of the smell in plastic containers that you use for leftovers. I also have a Simple Human dish drainer and love it. The knife slots in the cutlery basket are genius.

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over 2 years ago Chantal12

I ALWAYS wear rubber gloves when hand washing! It's the only way to use the hottest water which sterilizes even better than soap. Bare hands can't take that much heat I love sponges which go in the dishwasher with every load. If not urunning the DW then I toss sponges and handiwipes in the microwave for 1 minute to sterilize them.

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over 2 years ago kimiamaz

LOVE my dishwasher and put whatever I can in it. It is a Bosch and was worth every penny. The new model has no heating element and so you put anything anywhere and no melting/catching on fire etc. It is so quiet I have to get right up to it to see if it is running!. Before that I owned an ASKO and it survived 15 years with heavy use. OK I leave out the silver, crystal and very fine porcelain. Which i tend not to use as it cannot go int he dishwasher.... Now I only buy what I think can go through the dishwasher. My AllClad is fine and if I am very ambitious will polish it once in a while with BKF. The Le Creuset has also survived, I figure stainless and enameled iron will out survive me so might as well use the dishwasher and spend more time cooking! After a dinner party for 14 I can usually get all dishes and cooking vessels done in 3 loads. First load goes in after dinner, the second before bed and the last one, usually the bar ware and not so dirty stuff, first thing in the am. I do wash the kitchen knives by hand and put them away as soon as I am done using them.

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over 2 years ago phyllis

Exactly how my grandmother taught me to wash dishes. However, I have had a dishwasher for decades. Pots and pans are done by hand and are mostly spotless and always grease-free.

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over 2 years ago roxlet

I have two sponges in use at all times. One goes into the dishwasher while the other is being used. Every time the dishwasher is run, I swap them. This keeps them clean and prevents mildew. My mother in law gave me a really good tip about rubber gloves. She said to buy ones that are bigger than you need so that your hands slip in and out of them easily. No tugging off or on, and with gloves, which encourages you to use them. With gloves, you can use really, really hot water. I have also found that there can be a residual greasy feeling when washing teflon. The only way I've been able to get them truly clean is the following: put some dishwashing liquid (and no water) in the pan and use a brush to scrub all around. When you rinse the pan, there will be no trace of grease.

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over 2 years ago vaughan

I microwave my sponge regularly (Wet!). Must admit, I like a sponge b/c it is small and easy to hold and gets into corners to clean pots and pans well. Also, I make sure it dries over night by propping it up to let air circulate. I must put in a plug for the natural fiber scouring pads. 'Scotch Brite, Greener Clean'. They out-last and do a better scrubbing job than the synthetic ones.
Just toss them into the compost when done.

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over 2 years ago SueS

Upon reading I intended to say much of what Antonia James said. Order of washing things is very important. I begin with a very small amount of water, just to cover the cutlery. I rinse into the dishwashing sink, so the water rises. I will need more water to wash larger items. It also means no fishing around for silverware in a deep sink. Saves water also. I use the rough green scrub pads, which can be microwaved. A choreboy cannot. I definitely agree wash cloths need frequent changing out, usually daily or every other

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over 2 years ago indiamos

I'm with AntoniaJames—"if the water is not hot enough to burn your hands, it's not hot enough for washing the dishes"—so gloves are a must. They're also a fingersaver if you break something while you're washing, which seems to happen to me about once a year. I can show you the scar from the time I wasn't wearing gloves . . .

Speaking of which, be careful putting thick-bottomed drinking glasses into a sink filled with scalding-hot water; different thicknesses of glass absorb the heat at different rates. When I was a teenager, I once sheared the bottoms off an entire sinkful of our bubble-bottom glasses at once. Oops.

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over 2 years ago louiser0707

For food that's stuck on a pan, put some water and baking soda in it and simmer on the stovetop. The baked on bits will loosen right up.

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over 2 years ago Leslie Bacon

ahhh, does the writer of the article make house calls? She/he can come to my house and do my dishes every day, as specified.

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over 2 years ago dalibor

I use sponges but to clean them, I empty my hot pasta water over them to kill any bad stuff!

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over 2 years ago fhp

Boring!

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over 2 years ago Lost_in_NYC

I think the above method is a total waste of water and resources, sorry folks!! Definitely not a go-green method!! There's nothing wrong with filling a semi-clean/already-used pot (or bowl) with soapy water, adding a little extra soup on the sponge/cloth rag/whatever and then cleaning off the food. You can also refill the pot/bowl with new soapy water if needed and continue.

@AliceM - I agree with your husband's method!

(Maybe because I grew up in an Indian immigrant household, its different, but trust me, all Indian people use the pot/bowl method. You'd never hear the end of it from your mother if you used the 'American method.' Cultural differences I guess....)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's a very small difference in the amount of water, unless you have a huge sink.

Stringio

over 2 years ago gailllc

I'm with Amanda's mom -- A new dishcloth is brought out each morning for the day. If for some reason it needs to be replaced during the day, the wet one can hang over the edge of the "towel laundry" basket to dry in the laundry room. Every time the dishcloth is used during the day it is rinsed out, then hung to air over the faucet. In the morning it is perfectly dry and goes into the towel laundry. Also, our hand-drying kitchen towel hangs over the sink cabinet door, and is from a collection of solid, dark green towels -- they get changed every morning as well. My other kitchen towels are not-solid-dark-green, and you'd better NOT dry your hands on them!

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over 2 years ago Emsbutler

When my sponges are no longer in perfect shape, I snip the corner with scissors and only use them for floor spills. Snipping the corner reminds my family not to use it on dishes anymore!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Even though I'm generally anti-sponge (with a footnote below), what a great idea -- like this!

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over 2 years ago calendargirl

I am going to show my true obsessive nature here: my system for the kitchen sponge is to put it in the top rack of the dishwasher each time I run it (daily in our house), and THEN microwave it, straight from the dishwasher for the same 2 minutes EmilyC advises. It will be very hot, so be careful when removing it from the microwave. It will not only be clean, but also sanitized. When the sponge gets grungy, it becomes our new "floor sponge" and is used to mop up spills on the floor, etc., anywhere but counter tops or dishes.

Barb

over 2 years ago Miafoodie

Calendargirl, I use the same method for my sponges as I prefer them over a dishcloth.
And here I thought I was so clever......

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you for adding this detail about how to clean a sponge. Agree that this makes a big difference. For anyone new to this method, please note that the sponge must be wet when it goes into the microwave. I once included this cleaning method in a story for the New York Times, and didn't specify that the sponge needed to be wet. A number of readers set their dry sponges on fire in their microwaves. Please don't do this!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Also, don't put any sponge in the microwave that has any metal or scouring type surface on it -- also a fire hazard! I often use the type that's 1/2 sponge, 1/2 scrubber -- and this type should only be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Amanda, your Virgo is showing. ;)

I love sponges. Thank you, EmilyC, for the tip on zapping them in the microwave! Will try that. Sponges can also be sanitized in the top rack of the dishwasher, at least once a week.

When I do heavy duty hand washing, I don gloves. Protects skin from hot water and dishes are less slippery with gloves on.

On dish drainers, my kitchen has teeny counter space, so I hack a dish drainer by setting a sheet pan lined with a cooling rack on top of my 8-quart flour container. It works like a charm. Also, empty dish washers make great dish drainers.

I've mostly used Dawn, but have also liked the Costco environmentally friendly dish soap. For the dishwasher, nothing gets my dishes clean except Cascade. Huge difference between that and the less expensive no-name brands.

Happy washing!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I knew all you sponge-lovers would speak up! :) Thanks for your sponge-related tips and also, love the idea of using your empty dishwasher as drying rack. Great.

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over 2 years ago ccaattyy

the real way to wash your dishes is hot soapy water then wash everything that touches your mouth, your silverware, your cups and glasses then plates and bouls then your pots and pans change dish water as needed wipe down the appliance and table

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over 2 years ago witloof

This cracks me up. I fail on all counts! Here's a great tip for having the easiest clean up: Cook only vegetarian food.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

So what do you do with the sponge that's in the photo? Sponges collect and hide grungy stuff from counters just as they do with dishes being washed. Or perhaps you just use it for mopping up essentially clean water from around your dish drainer, once you've put everything away? I detest sponges for any purpose, so they're banned from my kitchen. (Mr T has recently convinced me to keep a sponge in a small bucket, in a storage area not in, but near, my kitchen, to use for spot cleaning my tile floor.) ;o)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great eye, AJ. I keep that sponge for its green side, which is coarse but not made of metal -- it's helpful for scrubbing pots/dishes that you don't want to use something as aggressive (potential scratches) as a Chore-Boy.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You can get just the green part, in various grades (like sandpaper -- fine, medium, coarse) at hardware stores, to avoid the sponge altogether. We get ours at Ace. (The Ace where we shop regularly has the most amazing home cleaning products department.) The green plastic scrubby thingies work really well for all kinds of uses beyond just washing dishes, e.g., scrubbing down the grate on a grill. (I like the aluminum foil technique posted here, but it doesn't clean off the grease, which I find necessary to do after about every other time, depending on what we've grilled. We have porcelain grates on our grill, for which the green scrubber works like a charm.) ;o)

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over 2 years ago Susan B.

I have never used a Chore Boy. Which one do you recommend and can I use it on All-Clad cookware?

Love the article. My husband washes dishes by individually soaping up every item that needs washing, setting them on the counter and then rinsing them under running water. Drives me crazy! I grew up washing dishes using a dishpan filled with hot, soapy water.

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over 2 years ago CathyB

I use Bar Keeper's Friend and a sponge on all of my All-Clad (and other stainless steel) cookware. It also gets my vintage (translation=old) enamel sink clean without scratching it. I don't know why it works so well, but it's magic.

My husband does the same thing. I can't even be in the kitchen when he's cleaning up.

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over 2 years ago Susan B.

Thanks, CathyB. I use Bar Keeper's Friend, too, along with a lot of muscle power and a sponge. I also use BKF in my dishwasher, running it empty, to clean off the hard water stains. Works like a charm and makes me feel like I have a new dishwasher, for a week, anyway. And I'm with you, I leave when he offers to do dishes...

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over 2 years ago AliceM

I SO need my husband to read this. His way to wash dishes is to fill a small, "dirty" saucepan with soapy water and dip a brush or a cloth into said pan and then use that to wash whatever else is dirty - no soaking at all. I appreciate it when he helps out but it drives me crazy!

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over 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

I feel as if this blog was written just for me! Our dishwasher died 2 months ago and we've been too busy repairing other things to get a new one. I will go get a Chore Boy today and more importantly post this manifesto above the sink. And I could not agree more about the dish soap. Mrs. Myers got the heave-ho about 2 weeks after the dishwasher died.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Haha -- glad this was helpful. And really hope you get a new one soon!

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over 2 years ago jellygood

Totally agree with EmilyC about microwaving sponges to reduce waste. Also Fairy Liquid beats Palmolve IMHO!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Not familiar with Fairy Liquid -- where do you buy it? Also, please see my note above about microwaving sponges; make sure the sponge is wet.

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over 2 years ago BurgeoningBaker

Also how does this compare with the energy/water conservancy of dishwashers?

Burnt_offering

over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Dishwashers are a lifesaver for many reasons: sanitation, productivity, and energy efficiency. One of the reasons you should only scrape the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher is to conserve water. But for good knives, pots, pans, and a host of other things that can't go in a dishwasher - this is great advice. I remember washing the dishes at our summer cabin growing up. Mom filled up an enormous enameled coffee pot with boiling water on the stove, and poured it over the dishes in a big metal tub with soap and then we washed everything rinsed them off in the sink with more hot water. We had a cold water spring, but no hot water. Just a propane stove.

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over 2 years ago BurgeoningBaker

I want to know which dish drainers are better than others since it was noted in the article.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I like ones made by Simple Human. They're a bit more expensive but they're thoughtfully designed and sturdy.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

God bless dishwashers.

Burnt_offering

over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

I just stick my Chore Boy and sponge in the top rack of the dishwasher when I'm done and wash them routinely and run them through the sanitizer cycle. Sponges last about 3-5 cycles, Chore Boys are pretty indestructible. I can't have enough cotton bar towels. They're just like large cotton diapers, only thinner, and I use them for everything from straining stocks and sauces, making ricotta and other cheeses, to drying greens. I buy them in 8 packs at Sam's Club. They make great dusting rags and cleaning cloths when their time in the kitchen is up. Instead of a dish rack, I spread a clean dish cloth out on the granite kitchen island and lay everything out on it as I wash it. Makes me put everything away as soon as I'm done.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is helpful, but I have a few suggestions. Stacking of dirty dishes prior to thorough pre-rinsing is strictly forbidden. (It's tacky of course to stack anything in a dining room or other eating area, but for the reason you mentioned, it also makes no sense, even out of sight. Every dirty dish that is stacked creates more work. Very bad idea.) Also, there is an important order of operations. All serving dishes, pots and pans are filled immediately to soak and set aside. Usually I do that right after I'm done using a pot. Time is your enemy when dealing with any dish or pot that is not filled with hot soapy water, soaking. Silverware (and we use our sterling exclusively for all meals, so it all is hand washed, all the time, of course) and serving utensils, once they've been rinsed thoroughly, are set aside in a pan of very hot soapy water to soak. Glasses are then washed, first, and all of them, in the perfectly clean scalding soapy water and sink. Also, if the water is not hot enough to burn your hands, it's not hot enough for washing the dishes. So go crank up your water heater at least ten degrees. I have really sensitive skin, so I have no choice but to wear gloves. I like the bright pink Bella ones that go well up your arm. I go through them quickly because I press hard to make sure I've gotten everything off. And I only use Chore Boys to get the most stubborn crud off, after soaking and scrubbing with a good dish cloth and either Bon Ami or Barkeepers Friend. (I too go through several dishcloths, and replace them, daily.) Chore Boys suffer from the same defect as sponges, in that they can collect debris, so they are always soaked for a good hour in super hot water after use; then, any remaining tiny bits of crud are picked out. Dawn Power Dissolve is great for stripping the thin layers of stuff that cooks hard onto the outside of steel frying pans, etc. I also use it regularly on the glass window inside my oven door. I use the clear, perfume-free Dawn for Dishes. If that stuff can get the thick crude oil from the Exxon Valdez off rocks on a beach, without the benefit of water as hot as what's coming out of my faucet, it can get the grease off whatever is in my sink. And it does. Oh, and can you tell that I enjoy cleaning up in the kitchen? I really do. ;o)

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for all these tips!

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over 2 years ago MeghanVK

I think you'd have to pry dishwashing gloves off my cold, dead (but still lovely and moisturized) hands. I'd rather do that and go back and re-wash a plate or two if necessary. And in a washing machine-less apartment like mine, the thought of letting a grody pile of washcloths build up until laundry day is a little scary (I guess they could be washed by hand? Don't know; don't care; I will jar my own jam but hand-washing rags is apparently my pioneer-lady limit).

Totally agree on the Palmolive, though; it's the best. And now that it's been mentioned, I should probably take a look at my dish drainer... .

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

This is great! I agree that sponges can be nasty, but a cool little tip is zapping them (damp, not dry) in the microwave on full power for about 2 minutes to sterilize them.