Washing dishes is one of the most common of household chores, and essential to do regularly. Thoroughly cleaning all dishes is important for both sanitary and aesthetic reasons.
Prepare. Wearing rubber gloves is optional when washing dishes. They may be especially helpful if you have dry hands or another skin condition. If you're wearing long sleeves, roll them up or put them under the gloves. Aprons too, are optional.
Scrape all the large pieces of food on the dishes off into the compost bin or disposal, rather than get your brush/sponge and water clogged with it.
Consider rinsing, or lightly washing, heavily soiled items before putting them into the water. This is easiest if you have two sinks, or one sink with a washing bowl/tub, since you can tip the water away without mucking up your wash water. For example, put a bit of hot water into a pan, swish it around with your brush and tip the water away.
Begin by spreading the dishes out, making sure everything has a clear view of the faucet. Stack them from bottom to top in this order: Silverware, pots, plates, bowls, cups. Fill each item with water, except for the silverware.
Fill the sink with water, as many of us were taught to do. Filling the sink with water and adding soap is the most efficient. Do not put the tap on full blast to avoid splashing water. Use as high a temperature as you can comfortably tolerate, but don't scald yourself. The hotter the water, the better its sanitizing and grease-cutting properties. If possible, use dish gloves to protect your hands and to stand hotter water.
Try dipping the sponge in to the soapy water to deliver more soap to certain areas.
Start with the silverware. Since it goes in the mouth, it needs the cleanest, hottest water possible.
Wash things next that are touched to your mouth, like cups and glasses, so they will benefit from hot, clean water.
Wash pots and pans last since they will really dirty the water. Let them soak first. If anything was burnt or cooked to pots or casserole dishes, put a little extra soap and water in it and let it soak while you wash the other dishes.
Generally, dip the thing to be cleaned in the water. Wipe it vigorously while in the water. Remove from the water and examine. If muck remains, rub with sponge, or other utensil, until removed. If the muck is very difficult to get out, fill the item with water. Then use your fingers (not your nails!) and rub the muck off. If that doesn't work, use iron wool. Do not use the back of a sponge, because that will cause morsels of food to stick to it. Rinse. If clean, place to dry on drying rack, or dry with tea towel. An assistant is useful here.
For most of your washing up, unless you have had to use a lot of washing up liquid or soap, there will be little rinsing required. If your washing up is not excessively dirty, but tastes soapy, consider that you may either be using more soap than necessary, or not rinsing sufficiently. Glasses can benefit from a hot rinse.
If you use the hottest water you can stand, china and glass should dry by themselves very quickly, as they will be hot. Metal will also dry quickly, although the appearance of metal can be improved by drying with a linen tea towel. This prevents watermarks, and makes it shine.
Care should be taken with wood. It should not be soaked if at all possible, and should be dried thoroughly before being put away. This will probably involve drying both with a tea towel, and air-drying in a rack. It is often worth turning wooden objects every so often as they dry, since they may be in contact with puddles of water.
Some things, especially baked on food, benefit from soaking. This does not mean putting all the washing up in the sink and leaving it until you need to use the sink again. If only a few things need soaking, like pans or bowls, fill them with very hot water and a tiny bit of washing up liquid. If they're very bad, one can purchase stronger products to add, but care should be taken with these as they can be caustic. Wear rubber gloves and do not allow it near eyes. If the things to be soaked are not of the right sort to be filled, or are numerous, put them in the sink, ensuring all the dirty areas are covered with hot, soapy water. Leave to soak while you finish washing everything else, or for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes there are diminishing returns, so there's no point in soaking much longer. Attack the dirt with the brush first, as this will quickly get rid of the majority of the softened food. Then follow the usual techniques. These objects are more likely to require rinsing, and definitely will if you've used more aggressive chemicals than standard washing up liquid.
When clean, there should be no visible matter and no "greasy" feel. Run a hand over the dish to ensure that it offers some resistance. If your fingers slide over the item too fluidly and without squeaking, there is probably some grease remaining, if so you should rewash the item.
Tip water out of washing up bowl, or pull plug in sink. Remove food from plughole and place in bin, or run disposal. Rinse sink (and bowl if used), using a sponge or brush to help.
Also rinse out brush, sponge or rag & allow to dry. It can be a good idea to sterilize your equipment every so often, either using boiling water or bleach. When a sponge or brush starts to smell unpleasant, and the smell is not removed by rinsing, throw it away.
Remember, this is about being clean--you don't want to eat on a dirty dish!!
A Closer Look At Hand Washing Dishes
Get the dish wet, they way you will be able to wash it.
Put soap on your dish.
Use a sponge or a scrub brush and scrub off the food and anything else you find on it.
Rinse off your dish a final time. Make sure to get all the soap off.
Dry the dish off with a towel or rag.
If you use a dish to serve something which is likely to be tough to clean, fill the item with water or let it soak in the sink after use. This prevents food from hardening up and making it difficult to clean. It's best to rinse dishes after you use them to remove food residue and prevent it from becoming sticky and hard to remove.
Choose your tools wisely, and use them in combination, if you need to. Different washing utensils have their advantages and problems.
Consider using a brush on a longish stick for washing things with quite thick or viscous muck to remove, as these are good at quickly pushing a lot of stuff off. They also tend to have a scraper above the brush, so you can turn them over and use this to remove some stubborn dirt.
Cloths and sponges are good for getting grease off, and for tougher, thinner layers of dirt that need elbow grease to remove.
Scourers, and the scourer side of some sponges, can be highly effective on baked-on stuff, but care should be taken in the choice of scourer, and the object being cleaned, since some surfaces can be damaged by most scourers.
If you're placing newly washed dishes in the rinse side of the sink, it's a good idea to have a solution of rinse water and vinegar. This will further help disinfect the newly cleaned dish and give it good shine and sparkle.
If you need to use the dishes immediately after washing, use a clean linen towel to dry them. Linen leaves no fabric fuzz or residue.
Wash every part of the items. Just because you don't think anything happened to the handle of the fork or the bottom of the plate doesn't mean they're actually clean.
After you think an item is clean, run your hands over the safe areas (not the edges of knives!) one more time. Very often there may still be food on it that you can't see, but you can feel that its there.
Sponges, clothes and brushes will quickly grow bacteria. You can reduce bacterial growth by rinsing, squeezing/shaking dry after use, and placing in a dry place. For a thorough cleaning, microwave sponges while wet for 2 minutes or wash them in the dishwasher. If microwaving, take great care that the sponge or cloth is wet and doesn't dry out. Take care when you open the microwave; the sponge or cloth will be very hot and might emit scalding steam.
Alternatively, place the cloth or sponge in boiling water for 10 minutes, or soak in one part bleach to nine parts water (1:9, 10%)and rinse thoroughly afterwards. Bleaching will quickly destroy any latex based products.
Replace all washing utensils regularly every few months. If you notice they smell unpleasant, and the smell is not removed by rinsing, throw them away.
Never swirl your hand around the bottom of the sink, as you could be injured by sharp utensils.
Don't put knives in the water until you are going to clean them, and then only put the knife you are cleaning in the water. If you drop knives into a bowl of soapy (possibly dirty) water with other objects, it can be hard to keep track of them and you stand a good chance of cutting yourself.
Wash dishes carefully.....take your time.
Things You'll Need
Dishes to wash
A sink or washing up bowl.
Very hot water, and cooler water to manage the temperature.
Washing up liquid.
Sponge or cloth
Washing up bowl to go in sink (optional)
Caustic, heavy duty, cleaning chemical (optional)
Rubber Gloves (If using caustic and bleach, or just don't like getting hands wet.)