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Best Dishwashing Method

Last post Mon, Oct 20 2008 12:51 PM by Joyous. 19 replies.
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  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 10:52 AM

    Best Dishwashing Method

    I feel positively goofy for asking this, but unasked questions obviously never get answers. I've been wondering for a long time what the most sanitary, most green, or most frugal way to wash dishes by hand might be. (I recognize that sometimes these are exclusive categories!)  Our dishwasher recently bit the dust, and hard, and so we're washing by hand.

    I was taught growing up to wash dishes under very hot running water with the water running the entire time, and each dish got its own squirt of liquid soap. I think this is obviously about the least frugal way to wash dishes. My mom-in-law frequently will fill an old margarine tub with about 1-2 cups of hot water, dip a cloth into it, and wipe dishes clean without submersing the dishes in water. I feel fine if the dishes just had something dry on it - a sandwich perhaps - but I feel uneasy for dishes which have more residue than mere crumbs.

     I'm lucky enough to have a divided kitchen sink. I've been filling one portion with hot soapy water and allowing dishes to sit in it. When I'm ready to wash, I scrub the dish over the soapy portion with a scrubbie, and then set it in the empty, dry portion. When the dry portion is full of sudsy dishes, I turn on the tap on cool water and rinse them with running water. Afterwards, they sit in the dishdrainer until air-dried. If the water starts looking scummy as I'm washing, I drain it and refill with fresh hot water.

    Does anyone see room for improvement in that method without sacrificing too much sanitation? I saw a recipe for a lye/fats soap bar for dishwashing. Is there anyone who uses a dish-washing soap bar instead of liquid soap? How do you use that - lather your hands in the soak water with it until you have enough soap in the water?

    Thanks for letting me pick your brain!  ~ Joyous

    ~~~~

    Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.
    ~ Lewis Carroll

  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 11:03 AM In reply to

    • Pat
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Mar 6 2007
    • Colorado
    • Posts 14,463

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    You're washing dishes the "old fashioned" way (before dishwashers). The only thing I can add is to put water in the second section of your sink for rinsing instead of running water all the time to rinse. Check this, though, by plugging the sink while running water to rinse to see how much you use. It might take less your way, depending on how fast the water flow is and how many dishes you wash. 

    Before running water was common and even afterward, every household had dishpans - one to wash in, one to rinse in. You might be able to buy them somewhere, but I haven't seen them for a long time. I use a large stainless steel bowl as a dishpan. 

    Edited to add... I rinse dishes with warm water. I always felt that cold water didn't remove all the soap. 

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  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 11:08 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

     I rinse in pretty hot water.  I use the dishwasher most of the time, and like thinking the dishes are pretty sanitized, to keep people healthy.  Air drying is healthiest, not drying with a cloth, for hand washing. 

    If your hands are dry, I would buy a pair of gloves or use some of the dish soap that is nicer to hands.  It doesn't take long in winter for the hot water and dry air to take a toll.

    BTW, I think your mother in law's method sounds frugal, but not necessarily sanitary, I would feel a little oogie eating off dishes that have been in another person's mouth and then not put completely in water and washed and rinsed well.

    Tracy
    Beginning Debt Slayer


  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 11:34 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    In my mom-in-law's defense, she lives under difficult conditions, frequently without electricity or running water (not by choice!). She's always cheerful about it and has been very creative in her problem-solving. So her decision to use so little water to wash dishes is because she'd rather have water to drink than have pristine saucers, and if forced to choose, it's what I'd choose to.

    But if I'm not forced to choose, I want pristine dishes, too! :-)

    ~~~~

    Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.
    ~ Lewis Carroll

  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 1:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    I can understand that.   Maybe she would like some paper plates that are cheap at Walgreen's sometime to save on water, although it sounds wasteful, my mom usually buys me 200 plates when I have a baby, and I appreciate a few fewer dishes to wash!  She shows up a few days after the baby is born with paper plates, napkins, a frozen lasagna, juice, take out pizza, and diapers.

    Moms are the best. 

    Tracy
    Beginning Debt Slayer


  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 2:19 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    That's a very thoughtful gift! I'll have to remember it next time one of my friends has a baby. We're still without children, so it's hard for me to think of the "little things" that are helpful when there's a new baby in the house.

    ~~~~

    Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.
    ~ Lewis Carroll

  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 2:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    Before my mother-in-law got a dishwasher, she washed by hand the way you do, with the following exceptions:

    1. She used dish tubs filled with HOT water (and used dish gloves to protect her hands) for both washing and rinsing. She didn't rinse the dishes under running water.

    2. To her rinsing tub, she added just a little bit of bleach, to sanitize the dishes. I think she added maybe just a splash for the whole tub of water, and that was it. Just enough to kill germs.

    3. She air dried the dishes thoroughly--she didn't dry them with a towel. I think she did this so that any trace of bleach which might have remained on the dishes had a chance to thoroughly evaporate.

    Hope this gives you other options!

    Stacie

    Stacie

    http://holdinghandswithmyhoney.blogspot.com/
  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 2:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    Dear All, My sink is not wide enough for 2 dishpans side-by-side, but I have 2 dish pans.  When I am washing dishes myself, I fill the rinse pan with hot water & set it on the near-by counter.  I have hot sudsy water in the washing pan in the sink.  Then I carry each dish/pot to the rinse pan filled with hot water, rinse it, & then put it in the dish drainer to dry.  I change the rinse water when it starts to get noticably soapy.  This is not the way that my aides do it.  They also use hot sudsy water in the dishpan that's on top (one is a bit smaller than the other).  Once they have a dish nice & soapy, they set it aside in the sink where there's room adjacent to the dishpan.  When that portion of the sink is full, they rinse all of the dishes with hot water.  They put the dishes/pots in the dishrack.  As soon as they have finished filling the dishrack, they take the dish-towel & dry the dishes & put them away.  I don't pay for hot water or for water or heat at all, but I hate to waste it which is why my method is different from that of my aides.  But they are experts at what they do, & I don't want to interfere, so we have 2 different ways of doing things.  Yours in Him, Deb 

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  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 7:16 PM In reply to

    • babs
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 2 2007
    • Vermont
    • Posts 10,988

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

     I know that my Mom uses the paper plates. It is hard for her to wash them. Walgreens has them this week, I think there is 80 in the pack for 99 cents. My mom will only use two a day at the most. she does cereal for breakfast so a bowl to wash. A pack of paper plates will do her about 6 weeks. I think it is probably cheaper for her than to pay for water and soap. Babs

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Prayer Circle
  • Mon, Oct 13 2008 11:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Dishwashing Method

    When  I was the dishwasher (many moons ago)  We had both sinks filled with blisteringly hot water, with a squirt of soap in the "washing" side.  We put the dishes in the water to get them all wet and start soaking any stuck on food, then we picked the dishes out one by one and ran a dishcloth over them under the water, then put them in the rinse water. From the rinse water, the went into the dish drainer (in a particular fashion so they all fit) then we draped a drying towel over them to let them dry (the draped towel was my mom's concession to my lazy ingenuity . . . ).

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