Smarter ways to do the dishes

August 15th, 2014

Appliance Talk Dishwashers Kitchen Sinks Sinks, Taps & Water Small Appliances

As the old saying goes, “work smarter, not harder”.  While there is a certain nobility in hard work and labour, there’s also usually a better way to get any job done.

Hand_wash_dishesSource: Wikipedia

Here are a few simple tips for saving time and effort when it comes to washing up the dishes after a good meal:

Clean up as you cook

Everyone has a different cooking style, but it’s not uncommon to experience the occasional lull in kitchen activity when in the midst of preparing a recipe, leaving you standing idle while pots boil, rice cooks, or flavours infuse.

This is a great time to get multitasking!

steam oven cooking

Once you’ve finished using a utensil, plate or piece of cutlery in your food preparation (say, your chopping board and dicing knife once all the ingredients are in the pot), see if you can give it a quick clean during this downtime – it’ll be one less item to deal with when the meal is over!

Hot water is your friend

Hot water (when combined with detergent) does the best job of cutting through grease and fat, so try to efficiently power through your dirty dishes as quickly as you can, before the water starts going lukewarm.


If, after powering through some of the washing, you find yourself struggling with some tough-to-shift food particles, it may be time to give the sink a quick top up from the hot tap.

Remember – it goes without saying that hot water is, well, hot – hopefully you’ve invested in some rubber gloves!

rubber glove rocky horror*snap*

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule – dairy and starch residues can actually be thickened by hot water, so these are best tacked with some of the cold stuff.

Make sure that the sink is clean

If your dishes just aren’t getting clean, no matter how hard you work, the problem could be that your sink itself is dirty, and that it’s sharing the love with your dishes.

Cats in sink“There’s your problem – you’ve got cats.”

If your sink’s stainless steel surface is looking a bit gross, give it a quick scrub with your dishwashing detergent and a bit of water before you start the washing up.

Oliveri Solitaire kitchen sinkOliveri Solitaire Sink LR510

Another oft-repeated technique is to not wash your dishes in the sink itself at all, but rather to wash in a plastic tub placed inside the sink for a more efficient, hygienic and water-saving wash that’s also gentler on your dishes (plastic being a softer surface than stainless steel, and therefore less likely to chip a plate that’s accidentally dropped).

Organise and sort your dishes in order of dirtiness

When you wash food particles off a plate, cup or glass, they don’t magically disappear into the aether.  They may break down and dissolve a bit, but the more items you wash, the dirtier your water will get.

While you could use all-new water to wash each and every item, that would be massively wasteful and inefficient.

Dirty Dishes

A better option is to wash up in a specific order, prioritising the items that require the cleanest water first, and working your way down:

  • Crystal and glassware – grots show up on these material very easily, and you’ll want to give anything that goes in your mouth (such as wine glasses) the most hygienic clean possible.
  • Cutlery – much like the crystal and glassware, these items that go in your mouth need to be hygienically cleaned in fresh water.
  • Crockery – use your common sense here, working through from the least dirty to the most dirty items, so that each dish gets washed in the cleanest water possible.
  • Pots and pans – save these heavily-soiled items until last, as they’ll dirty up your water a lot.

Remember, if the water cools off and becomes tricky to wash with, top it up with some of the hot stuff.  And if it starts looking a bit filthy, it may be time to replace it with a fresh batch.

Use the dishwasher

What’s smarter than letting a machine do the washing up for you?

Of course, there are still various little tips and techniques to get the best results your dishwasher.

Bosch Dishwasher SMV69T10AUBosch Dishwasher SMV69T10AU

Loading the dishwasher properly, using well-measured detergent tablets, and choosing the right dishwasher type for your household can all help to give your dishes a great clean, leaving you with more time to look after the rest of your home (or, y’know, put your feet up).

Also, don’t worry about pre-rinsing your dishes!  Turns out it’s time-consuming and ultimately unnecessary.

Your turn:

What’s your washing-up routine?  Do you have any secret tips or tricks that you’d be willing to share?

Remember, if you require a new sink or dishwasher in order to make your home’s washing up that little bit easier, your first port of call should be Appliances Onlinecontact our expert team on 1300 000 500 if you need an help!

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

One response to “Smarter ways to do the dishes”

  1. Amelia says:

    Organizing is really important and you’ve shared the most important steps that a person has to pay attention for!

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