Washing Dishes: An Art Form

Where I come from dishwashing is serious business.  I grew up in a house that had an actual, mechanical dishwasher but my mother never approved of its dishwashing capabilities.  The phrase, “but you’re the dishwasher” was a typical answer to, “but Moooom why can’t we just use the dishwasher?!”

So you see, I grew up mastering the art of hand washing dishes.  If you have visions of free form dance flowing through your head switch gears to something more akin to printmaking—a systematic approach.

The 3 keys to successful dishwashing: Organization, Heat and Muscle.

Rinse Cycle

The dishwashing process begins by rinsing all the dirty dishes with scalding hot water, eliminating grease residue and stubborn bits of encrustulated food, down the drain.  After rinsing, remember to wipe out the sink BEFORE washing, the process can’t begin with a dirty sink!

Sorting Cycle

Next we methodically stack our dishes in the order of washing; glasses, cups and silverware followed by plates, bowls and then pots and pans (saving the greasiest and dirtiest dishes for last.)  Plug the drain and fill that side up with more scalding hot water and a swirl of dish soap.  The other side of the sink is used for rinsing which is done with cooler (less scalding) water— my mother would approve of adding vinegar for good measure. To the right of the rinsing station is the drying station.

Washing Cycle

Here is where the brawn and muscle come in, don’t just swipe the dishes with a twirl of the dish rag, get in there and really scrub on all sides—fork tines, the very bottom of drinking glasses and even the bottom of pots and pans.

*I should also mention to refrain from those scrubbing brushes and rubber gloves. These items deter the sensation of residual bits of food and grease that may be gripping to the dish.  Also sponges are not recommended as they soak everything up and store the food bits and bacteria inside their crevices.

Rinse Cycle x2

The systematic approach to washing applies to rinsing as as well e.g., once all the cups are washed rinse and stack, repeat with silverware, then plates and bowls and so forth.

Drying Cycle

Once the soap is rinsed away stack the dishes in an orderly manner on a clean dishtowel (because we wash dishes in an orderly fashion, stacking is a cinch!)  If you have one of those fancy dish racks then by all means use that.  Dry with a clean dishtowel then put away your sparkling, dry dishes.

Final Spin

Wash down the countertops and sink, rinse the dishcloth and hang it to dry, viola!


∆ If the water becomes cloudy or grimy at anytime during the washing process, drain it and continue with fresh water.

∆ If you break a dish, your master plan of getting out of doing dishes ever again will foil—be prepared to never hear the end of how you shattered Mom’s favorite trifle bowl!

∆ An SOS pad, steel wool, or tin foil are acceptable tools for scrubbing those extra stubborn stains and grime.

4 thoughts on “Washing Dishes: An Art Form

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s