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How to Wash Dishes By Hand

Every meal generates dirty plates and cups which need to be cleaned quickly and efficiently. Being organised can save you a lot of time and trouble.

Clear the plate rack (dish drainer) before you begin. Stack everything that needs to be washed on the other side of the sink according to type – collect glasses together, cutlery, bowls, and so on.

Go heavy on the hot tap water and easy on the washing-up liquid. Hot water, not soap, kills germs. Using a scrubber, carefully clean each item.

Do glasses first – holding them by the stem – only if you can stack them safely out of the way and won’t risk chipping or breaking them by bumping them with the plates that follow.

If you have an enamel sink, you may want to protect glasses and fine china by lining the sink with a tea towel. Leading hotels give glassware a final vinegar rinse for added shine. But this works only if you then dry the glasses promptly with a linen cloth.

In removing baked-on food, try to avoid overnight soaking. The stagnant water is a germ-laden pool in the making. Soaking in cold water for 20 minutes or so whilst you wash everything else up should be enough time to loosen the food. If not, sprinkle salt on your pan scourer to add extra abrasion.

You can try lifting off stuck-on foodstuff with a wooden spatula or a blunt knife, though with a knife you run the risk of scratching the plate or bowl or whatever.

You can sometimes shift tough, baked-on food by covering it with water and briefly heating the pan or returning the casserole to the oven.

To prolong the life of cast-iron pans and pans coated with a non-stick finish, use a pastry brush to coat the surface with vegetable oil after every sixth wash.

Rinse with fresh, hot water. Hot water evaporates faster than cold, which means that dishes dry quicker and with fewer smears if they’re rinsed in hot water. With double sinks, rinsing is easy – you use one sink for washing and fill the other with hot water for rinsing.

If you have just a single sink, pile clean, soapy dishes into an empty washing-up bowl after you wash them, and when you have a decent number of items waiting to be rinsed, drain the soapy water from the sink, fill it with fresh hot water, and rinse off your dishes.

Using the hot tap instead is okay if you’re doing a small wash-up session. It just uses more water and of course makes the soapy water progressively hotter. Simply hold washed, soapy plates under the running tap, then stack them to dry.

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