How to Hand Wash Dishes

Cut down on the daily drudgery with some tricks.


Up next in How to Clean Your Kitchen & Bathroom (34 videos)

Keeping the bathroom and kitchen clean is an ongoing battle. Make it easier with the cleaning tips and tricks in these videos. You'll learn fast, easy ways to get rid of bathroom mold, hard water marks, rust stains, bathtub rings, lime scale, mildew stains, soap scum, and more. Plus, tips on how to clean a granite countertop, a toaster oven, the garbage disposal, a sink drain, chrome, grout, your microwave, shower curtains, and many other hard-to-clean household appliances and surfaces.

You Will Need

  • A fork
  • A sink
  • Hot water
  • A dish tub or large pan
  • A dishcloth
  • A scrub brush, nylon mesh pad, or piece of steel wool
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • And a drying rack
  • Used dryer sheets
  • Rubber gloves
  • Vinegar


  1. Step 1

    Scrape off food

    Use a fork to scrape any remaining food off the dishes.

  2. For pots and pans with caked-on food, fill them with water, throw in a used dryer sheet, and let them stand for one hour.

  3. Step 2

    Fill tub

    Place the dish tub or large pan in the sink, squirt some dishwashing liquid into it, and fill the tub with hot water.

  4. Put rubber gloves on if you want.

  5. Step 3

    First wash

    Wash glasses and silverware first, when the water is cleanest.

  6. Never put a delicate glass bottom first into hot water, or it may crack. Slip it in sidewise.

  7. Step 4

    Use hottest water

    Rinse with the hottest water you can stand.

  8. Rinse crystal pieces in one part vinegar to three parts warm water to get them sparkling.

  9. Step 5

    Wash in order

    When the glassware and silver are done, continue washing in this order: plates and bowls, serving dishes, utensils, and pots and pans.

  10. Step 6

    Use brush, pad, or wool

    Use a brush, nylon mesh pad, or steel wool on tough-to-clean pots and pans, but heed the manufacturer warnings that came with them.

  11. Step 7

    Let air dry

    Let everything air dry—it's the most hygienic method.

  12. Doing a load of dishes in the dishwasher takes 11 gallons of water, while hand washing them takes 16.