Learn how to wash dishes by hand fast and efficiently, proper order for washing dishes by hand, and all of the tools you need in this step-by-step guide.
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I know what some of you may be thinking: girlfriend, doesn’t everybody know how to wash dishes?! Its pretty simple. Is this really something you’re going to talk about??
Well… yes I am. But let me tell you why!
You see, I have a sweet, young sister who I am very close to. She is about four years younger than me. She has only been living on her own (she has roommates but I mean out of my parents house) for about a year.
Sometimes small things will come up in conversations, or she’ll ask me questions, or I’ll notice something when I’m over at her house. Little things that make me realize there are good, old-fashioned homemaking skills she might be missing.
And its not just my sister that makes me ponder this, its ME. Old me. I’ve been there. I remember! I remember being a newlywed living in our tiny, first apartment, not knowing what the heck I was doing.
Even ME from a few months ago (because I’m learning things all the time and constantly adjusting my routines as a homemaker.)
Newly married ME dreaded cleaning. I felt uncomfortable with most homemaking tasks, and I definitely didn’t really feel like a homemaker. Looking back there were so many things I did the hard way. Washing dishes was one of them.
Obviously there are a lot of different ways to wash dishes, some more efficient than others. If you feel like you’re dish washing skills have been lacking, or you could use some extra tips, then this is for you!
You could take all of it, or little bits and pieces of it. I hope you find something helpful that makes your dish-washing routine more enjoyable.
Another thing you may be thinking: why do I need to know how to wash dishes by hand, isn’t that what dishwashers are for?
Sure, dishwashers are wonderful. They’re pretty darn convenient. BUT rounding out your skills as an old-fashioned homemaker should include learning how to wash dishes by hand, and how to do it well.
Honestly I think in our modern world we’d do good just to get back to the basics of things, do you agree? Even washing dishes.
Whether you wash all of your dishes by hand from here on out, or just on occasion when you’re cleaning up at a friend’s party, at least you’ll know how to do it better!
PSA: Did you know I have a FREE eBook on my 5 Secrets to SIMPLE, SEASONAL, OLD-FASHIONED, Homemaking?! Its an actionable guide that will help you to embrace this vintage lifestyle in your own home. I think you’d love it! Sign up for my email list HERE to get access to yours today!
Benefits of Hand Washing Dishes
Didn’t know there were benefits to hand washing your dishes? Well there are! Just check out THIS article by Little Things. You’ll find that washing your dishes by hand can lower stress, reduce allergies, heighten your immune system, and save water, to name a few.
All of that is great, but the NUMBER ONE reason I enjoy washing our dishes by hand?! Its old-fashioned. Its slow and its warm. AND its the perfect time to think about next weeks meal plan, and the plot twist in the show you’ve been watching, and your mental list for vegetables to plant in the garden this year. I guess that was more than one reason but you get the gist.
There are a lot of things, especially homemaking tasks, that are getting replaced by machines and technology. I am not anti-technology and I’m very thankful for modern conveniences.
BUT there is just something really grounding about washing the dishes by hand. It gives a pretty great sense of satisfaction. I think people should try it more often!
When you wash dishes by hand you have more control. You can get everything as clean as you like. No more waiting on a 3+ hour long dishwasher cycle or waiting until the dishwasher is full to start on it.
Have I convinced you?! Let’s get started then!
Gloves for Washing Dishes
When I was young I remember going over to my Nana’s house for special holidays. After we enjoyed a big meal together we would all join in to clean up the mess.
My nana, or whoever else was in charge of the dish washing, would pull her trusty pair of yellow, elbow length gloves out from under the sink, and get to work. I can still smell them and its such a fond memory!
It seems like rubber gloves for dish washing (or any other cleaning) is a bit old-fashioned.
There are several benefits to using a sturdy pair of rubber gloves when washing your dishes. For one, you can make the water VERY hot, without burning yourself. Hot water does amazing things for dirty dishes, let me tell you.
On another note, using rubber gloves will protect your hands. Hello fresh manicure! I plan on taking good care of you.
Gloves will keep your skin from drying out. I don’t know about you but my skin is notorious for drying out, especially in the winter time. Water can be the biggest culprit.
Hand creams help, but nothing beats a good pair of rubber gloves.
Here are a couple options for gloves to wash dishes in internet-land that you might enjoy. Just click to shop!
How cute are THESE printed ones?!
Sponges, Brushes, Soap, and More
I’ve used all different types of sponges and brushes. You can’t really go wrong here. THIS set is the most recent set I’ve been using.
I buy a bulk pack of sponges from Home Depot usually and I cut each one in half to make it last longer. A good dish cloth will also work great!
If you use cast iron pans then a good bristle brush will work really good. Remember, don’t use soap on your cast irons! Just hot water and a brush. Another brush to have when washing dishes is a long handle one for cleaning out bottles or jars.
Try using a natural dish soap when washing your dishes. Stay tuned for a DIY recipe coming soon. HERE is a recipe for a bar dish soap. So neat! If I’m not making my own soap I like to use the Mrs. Meyer’s brand.
You may also want a drying rack, or drying mat. I have both! But to be honest I usually just use the mat and JENGA my dishes onto it LOL. I got my mat a long time ago as a gift, but THIS one looks really similar.
Tips for Washing Dishes by Hand
Before you start to wash your dishes there are a few habits you should get into to make your dish washing easier. Encourage your family to do them as well!
- When a dish is done, right away rinse it with hot water. If its a larger dish with a lot of gunk on it, or something that’s sat for too long, let it sit in hot water.
- Place dishes in ONE side of the sink before you’re ready to wash, so you always have the other side to access.
- Fill a cup up with hot water and put your utensils in there to soak until you’re ready to wash as well.
- Don’t get behind! Try to wash the dishes a few times a day if necessary. If you don’t let the sink fill up too much, it will be a breeze and not such a big production when you go to wash them.
- Before you even start to wash dishes, head around your house to make sure you’ve collected anything that needs cleaned.
Well, Let’s Get Into It: How To Wash Dishes By Hand Fast
Step One: Make sure all of your dirty dishes are on one side of the sink. You can also stack them on the counter next to the sink if you don’t have a double basin.
Step Two: Put your plug in and fill up one side of the sink about 1/3 full with hot as you can stand water. Add your soap. Don’t fill your sink completely full! You don’t need to. NOTE: at this point, before I add any dishes, I like to use my clean, hot and soapy water to wipe off all of the counters, highchair, etc. with a dish cloth.
Step Three: Dump your utensils that were soaking in a cup or jar into the water first, then add a few more dishes until you’ve fit as much as you can under the water.
Step Four: Begin washing! Start with large, flat dishes, like plates, pans, and trays. Use your scrubbers or dishcloth to wash the dish under the hot soapy water until it comes clean.
Step Five: As you finish washing a dish, rinse it under hot as you can stand water in the other side of the sink, and stack it on your drying mat or rack.
Step Six: Continue to add new dirty dishes to the hot water to soak as you wash. If you rinsed your dishes before placing in the sink like mentioned in the tips above, you shouldn’t need to switch out your water.
Step Seven: Keep going until all of the dishes are washed, rinsed, and stacked!
Step Eight: Use your water to wash out in and around your sink and around your faucet. Pull out the plug
Step Nine: At this point you can use a drying towel to dry your dishes and put them away, or you can just let them air dry on the counter.
Now you should be finished! How did you do?! Is this how you wash your dishes or do you do it some other way? What other tips would you add?
P.S. how often do you wash your dishes? Washing dishes is an awesome part of an effective homemaking routine. In my subscriber library I have a printable guide on daily homemaking rhythms (dish washing is one of them!) You can get examples and fill out your own for yourself. Get the password to my library HERE and go get yours!
I’d also love to know how many of you wash your dishes by hand, or use the trusty dishwasher?? Let me know in the comments below!