How to Wash Dishes By Hand

Hi there, I’m Angela Brown in this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a explain where you get to ask a house cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. ‘s question comes from a college student who just found out that the college dorm he’s going to, does not have a dishwasher. And he wants to know; “What is the best way for me to wash dishes by hand?” Alright, well that’s awesome because lots of people that have dishwashers still do wash their dishes by hand. And there are a couple different reasons for that.

Not all dishes are dishwasher safe. If you’ve ever thought about washing dishes by hand, here a couple of tips that will help the job go easy. First of all, you want to have a dish drainer and that can be inside your sink where every time you wash dishes you just leave them there in the dish drainer.

And the water will drain naturally down the drain.
So that’s really all you have to do you just wait until the air dries them out. Well, that is not my preference.

Because every time you turn on the faucet you re-wet those dishes, so for me it’s not very effective. But another way you can do it is you can have a dish drainer right by the side of the sink on the top of the countertop. And lots of people will buy a great big dish drainer so that it will hold pots and pans and cutting boards and things like that. Well my preference is to just use… (I do have a dishwasher) is to just use the bottom rack of my dishwasher as my dish drainer because it’s huge. Right?

And it holds all my dishes, and my pots and pans, and all that stuff. And it even has the little area where you put the silverware inside the little bin. Okay so for me, I just use a towel on my countertop and then I change that towel out of couple of times a week. Only clear water is dripping on that towel so it’s not building up a lot of bacteria. But you do want to change it regularly if you go the towel route.

Now, some people will actually buy a dish strainer that has a drain pan underneath it. Just make sure that the drain pan is over the edge of the sink. So that as the water drains, it drains right into your sink and not out onto your floor.

So, that would be a way to do that. Now, a lot of times because there is standing water on that dish drain, if it doesn’t drain properly or if water gets underneath it, then it does build a bacterium and it leaves marks on your counter. So, you want to make sure that at least once or twice a week you take the dish drainer off the counter. And you take the drainer pan off the counter. And you wipe everything down.

Just make sure that you don’t have stuff that’s building up under there and getting icky. Alright, so the next thing, if you’re washing dishes, is it necessary to fill up the whole sink full of water? Well, I don’t think so. That’s not how I wash dishes. But if you had a lot of people at your house.

Or you had a big party. Or let’s say it was like Thanksgiving or something, and you were going through a lot of dishes, then possibly it would make sense. If you’re going to wash 8 or 10 or 20 dishes maybe it makes sense to fill up the sink with soapy water.

If you have one of those sinks that has a double sink, then you could certainly fill one up with soapy water. Fill the other one up with clear water and put about a half a cup of vinegar in it. Now, the white vinegar (which is the cleaning vinegar that we use for pretty much everything in our house,) when you use that on your dishes it prevents spotting and streaking.

So if you’re washing a lot of glass dishes and you rinse that off then in the clear vinegar water it will prevent streaking and spots.
So, yay! Okay, so for the most part, what supplies do you need? Because I’ve seen people wash dishes by hand, and they have all kinds of little kitchen gadgets and gizmos and scrub brushes and rags and things that they use for washing dishes.

I am a super simple person.

waffle weave microfiber

I like to make it really easy. And so, for me, I just have a little pump spray of dishwashing soap and I have a non-scratch scrub sponge that’s it that’s all I got that’s all I got. So, for me washing dishes, I put a couple of drops of dish soap on my scrub sponge.

And I wash my dishes. My scrub sponge is wet. I wash all of my dishes with no water. I’m just knocking the food off. I’m rubbing it down with soap and then I stack them all in the sink.

Then I grab the sprayer which is the faucet sprayer and I spray the dishes down very quickly and just put them in the rinse bin. That’s it. And the rinse bin, I mean the dish drainer. So that way I’m not using very much water because even if you fill up a whole sink of water you’re talking about 2 gallons of water.

Which is a lot of water if maybe you only need three or four cups of water. And when you use that sprayer it rinses all the soap off the dishes and you can do it all at one time. So, it’s super simple. Now, when you wash silverware you can grab the whole handful of silverware. Grab the scrub sponge in one hand and you can go over each of those while they’re in your hand.

And then you can kind of filter through them, and spray them off so that you’re spraying them all off at one time. You got the whole handful right in your hand. Still while they’re in your hand, you move them over and you put them in the bin and you let go of them. And they’re they are ready to dry. So, it’s super easy.

Okay, so what are the rules for washing dishes? Well, the rules are this: keep it super simple. While you’re cooking your food if you have pots and pans that you just used, all the stuff is still fresh on those pots and pans.

So, you can grab the non-scratch scrub sponge and you can go over it really quickly. Rinse it out, put it in the dish drainer and you’re done. There’s no letting the food dry and bake on there, it’s hard to get clean and then it takes you know, an hour to do your dishes.

That’s ridiculous. Before you even serve the meal, all of your pots and pans and the bowls that you used to prepare your food in, that can all be washed and be drying before you even serve your meal. That way it’s super easy to clean.

Now, if you do have a pot or pan and it has caked-on gunk. You can put a couple of drops of dish soap in that throw some hot water in there, and set that on the side of your counter. And let that soak while the meal is being served and during dinner. Then when you come back with the dinner dishes, now is the time to wash that pan and it’s only been sitting there during dinner.

So, it’s not like it’s been sitting there for 2 days. Because you don’t want the water to get cold and then greasy and all that stuff. But it’s super easy if you do it right after you have just used those dishes. Okay, so another thing is when the meal is over.

Lots of people take their dishes and they go put them in the kitchen sink and then the food dries. And as the food dries it sucks the moisture out of the food and it sticks to the plate. And now you have a lot more clean-up than you did if you were to just rinse them off right then.

Again, with the non-scratch scrub sponge just a couple drops of dishwashing soap you put your dishes on the counter beside your sink. Which leaves your sink free and open for you to work in it. Wash the dishes really quickly with again with no water. You’re just knocking the big chunks off of it.

And you’re putting soap on there, cleaning it up. Then you have a whole stack of clean dishes that are soapy. There’s no water, there’s no water in your sink. Then you turn the water on. Turn hot water on, rinse it off really quickly and again you’re only using three or four cups of water instead of gallons of water.

And then as you rinse them off, (and you don’t have to turn the water on full blast,) you can just turn it on a trickle.) That is enough to get the water off of your pots and pans and plates and stuff like that. And again, if you have one of those sprayers it makes it super easy. Because it spreads the water and so you just rinse your dishes off and put them in the dish drainer.

Now is it necessary to dry your dishes? It’s a great question. And you can. I mean you can. It’s up to you, if you would like to dry them and put them away. my recommendation would be to have a waffle weave microfiber cloth.

Because that’s going to suck the water out. It’s going to do a great job and because it’s microfiber it’s not going to leave any spots or drips on your dishes. They’re kind of expensive there about $11 bucks for two of them.

You can get them on Amazon and here’s a secret buy them in the automotive department. Maybe you can buy them in the automotive department at Walmart or Target or something like that as well. But I’ll put links in the explain notes to them so you can see what I’m talking about. When your dishes are drying. They will dry naturally so if you have something else to do, run go do something else while they’re drying.

Then when you come back in the kitchen you have a couple of choices. And for college kids, do you need to even really put them away? I don’t know. If you’re using one bowl, one plate, one spoon, you might just leave it in the dish drainer until you need it again. And then rinse it off and put it right back.

Because in my house I have a dishwasher and it had a dishwasher for 20 years. But I probably use the dishwasher I have now, five, six times. I do use it. I do use it if I’m home during Thanksgiving. Because I have lots and lots of dishes.

But for the most part, I’m rinsing out a cup or a bowl or something that’s really easy to just rinse and dry. And I just leave the dish drainer there. And then when I need it again, it’s just right there waiting for me. Now, here’s a secret: if I have people coming over and I’m expecting company, then I can take the dish drainer and I can put it back inside the dishwasher. And I can remove the towel and my kitchen is entirely clean, there is nothing out of place and it looks like I got it all going on.

Right? So, you can do that too. And even if, your dishes are not dry, you can still pop them inside the dishwasher and no one will ever know that your dishes are inside your dishwasher. But it’s a really great way to wash your dishes by hand. It’s quick it’s efficient, it doesn’t take a lot of time, it doesn’t take a lot of water.

It doesn’t take a lot of waiting for a whole cycle of dishes to go through. Especially if you’re a college kid and you’re not going to be using a lot of dishes. There’s no sense to try to figure out how to get a dishwasher or anything just rinse it by hand. That’s the way that they used to do it when my mother was growing up.

That’s the way her mother did it when she was growing up. People have survived for, (I’m going to say hundreds of years) just washing dishes by hand. So, it is a skill that easy to learn, and super easy if you stay on top of it. It’s super easy to do, and like I said there are a bunch of dishes that are not dishwasher safe.

So, learn to wash dishes by hand and just give it a try.
You got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Okay, so that’s my tip for . I hope you enjoyed it.

Leave us a comment if you have a better way to wash dishes. I would love to hear your ideas. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.