There’s no escape from washing dishes. Not unless you spend the rest of your life eating out or hire someone to do it for you (which are both very expensive options). Yes, you can eat off disposable plates and use disposable cutlery, but this again is an extra cost and isn’t great for the environment.
All in all, washing the dishes is something that you have to face up to. But how can you make this daily task less gruelling? There are a few ways in which you can make washing dishes easier and less tedious. Below are just a few tips.
Upgrade your soap
The invention of liquid dish soap has made washing up a lot easier than it used to be. Over the years, new formulas have been created that are even better at removing stubborn grime. Some are a lot better than others, so it can be worth experimenting with different washing up liquids. You could find that switching to a different brand makes a big impact when it comes to tackling things like grease or removing streaks.
Upgrade your sponges and brushes
Sponges and brushes are not all created equally. As with your dish soap, it could be worth upgrading your sponges and brushes to make cleaning easier. Every home should invest in a bottle brush – these make cleaning the inside of tall glasses and bottles easy. You can also buy sponges on handles for when you need more than bristles. Non-scratch sponges can also be worth buying for tackling stubborn stains on beloved pans without causing damage. Wire wool is useful for those ultra-rough burnt sauce marks, but should otherwise be used sparingly as it can easily damage most kitchenware.
Start with glass and mugs
When washing up, you should always start by washing the cleanest items first. This typically includes glasses and mugs. Doing this prevents the water from getting as dirty as quickly, so that you don’t have to replace it as often. Trying to wash glasses in water that’s already dirty is not a good idea as the glasses will usually end up getting stained and you may have to rewash them.
Use cold water to rinse off dairy and potatoes
When it comes to rinsing off most items, it’s best to use hot water to get rid of as much grime as possible – ideally as hot as you can go without scalding yourself. There is an exception however. When it comes to bowls of mash potato or cereal bowls with milk in, rinsing them off with hot water may just cause the food to stick. Cold water is actually more effective at loosening up these foods and could reduce scrubbing.
Leave stubborn grime to soak (ideally as soon as you’ve finished using them)
After frying an egg or cooking food in a sauce, it’s always worth placing the pan in hot water straight away to soak. This will stop the food from hardening, so that it’s easier to scrub off when you get round to it. Of course, if you leave items in hot water and let the water get cold, the food on them will eventually harden again. In other words, don’t leave pans soaking for too long in the hope of eventually getting around to them – try to wash them up while the water is still fairly warm if you can.
Line up some tunes
You can make washing up a little more fun by finding a way to occupy yourself, and a great way to do this is to simply line up a playlist to listen to. You could even use washing up time as an opportunity to listen to new music. Consider setting up voice control so that you can skip and select songs using your voice rather than having to dry your hands before using your phone (you could also try using a smart speaker).
Put on an audiobook
You could also occupy yourself while washing up by putting on an audiobook or a podcast. This could help washing up to feel more like downtime and could allow you to catch up on books that you’ve been meaning to get around to. There are lots of places where you can download audiobooks or listen to podcasts.
Work out and wash dishes
You could try to integrate a few exercises into your washing up ritual to give it a dual purpose. Just what kind of exercises can you do while washing up? Leg raises are a great way to exercise your core and practice balance. You can also incorporate squats while putting dishes away. Check out this post for a few ideas of how to turn other household chores into workouts.
Share the duty
Washing up can be a lot easier and a lot more fun when doing it with someone else. One person can be on washing duty, and the other person can handle drying and putting away plates. You could find that the task is done in a lot less time and you can entertain yourself with conversation while doing it. Of course, taking turns washing up is another way to share the burden. If you’ve got a large family and your kids are old enough to take on the responsibility of washing up, you could create a rota so that you each take it in turns to wash up.
Consider investing in a dishwasher
If you really hate washing up dishes by hand, why not invest in a dishwasher? A dishwasher can take out a lot of the work. You do still need to load and unload it, and pans may still need to be washed by hand, but you can save time cleaning plates, cutlery and glasses. Dishwashers do take up a lot of space and will need to be plumbed in. If you rent a property, you’ll likely need to ask your landlord for permission before installing one. Try to choose a dishwasher that gets good reviews and that has a good energy rating.
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