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How to Hand Wash Dishes

Cut down on the daily drudgery with some tricks.


  • Step 1: Scrape off food Use a fork to scrape any remaining food off the dishes.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Put rubber gloves on if you want.
  • Step 3: First wash Wash glasses and silverware first, when the water is cleanest.
  • TIP: Never put a delicate glass bottom first into hot water, or it may crack. Slip it in sidewise.
  • Step 4: Use hottest water Rinse with the hottest water you can stand.
  • TIP: Rinse crystal pieces in one part vinegar to three parts warm water to get them sparkling.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Step 7: Let air dry Let everything air dry—it's the most hygienic method.
  • FACT: Doing a load of dishes in the dishwasher takes 11 gallons of water, while hand washing them takes 16.

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

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