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Hand Washing Dishes

Category Dishes
Hand Washing Dishes
While many homes have built-in dishwashers, some of us still hand wash them. This is a guide about hand washing dishes.
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November 29, 2010

I keep a small squeeze-type bottle full of bleach on the back of my sink. In the morning I put several inches of water in the sink, with a squirt of dish soap and a teaspoon of bleach. Throughout the day, any dirty dishes go in the water to soak or to be washed right away. The sponge sits in the water and is disinfected by the bleach, I use it whenever I need to wipe the stove, counter, microwave, etc.

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I use an empty contact lens solution bottle, but any squeeze-type bottle would do. If I end up with a bunch of dishes that need to be hand washed, I will fill the sink with water, use the normal amount of dish soap and add 1 Tablespoon of bleach. The bleach helps to kill germs and bacteria on the dishes as they sit and keeps the sponge germ-free (I hope!). My mom started doing this many years ago when she developed an auto-immune disease. I started doing it when I had children who couldn't remember to wash their hands, bringing germs home from school to share with us. It seems like we are all less prone to be sick and pass it around among us when we remember to do this.

Caution: Dish soap and bleach will cause toxic fumes when mixed together by themselves. DO NOT put them together in the sink before you add water! Put water in the sink, add the soap and then add the bleach. DO NOT overdo the bleach, or it will still cause fumes - just remember that a very small amount will do, as I said, no more than a tablespoon for a full sink of water and barely a teaspoon for a half sink of water.

By lyonpridej from Tulsa, OK

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By 3 found this helpful
May 1, 2009

When my kids were little they liked to help with the dishes and it seemed that they always used too much dish soap. Well I finally solved the problem. I purchased hand soap in the pump bottle and when it was empty I filled it with dish soap. I wish I would have thought of the years ago but it comes in handy when you only have a few dishes to do or when my little neighbor comes to help.

By Liz from Speed, IN

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June 29, 20092 found this helpful

Living with a house full of guys who all are allergic to dish washing and lacking an automatic dishwasher, I find myself daily washing mountains of dishes by hand. The best thing I have found to help speed this chore along is to use not just one but two dish strainers. This enables me to wash the whole shabang and leave them all to drip dry.

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I used to wash a batch, dry and put away, wash another batch, dry and put away. All that stop and start seemed to make it take forever to finish the job and lots of time I would get distracted between batches and end up with a job half done. Now I keep zipping along washing them, and complete the job fast.

By Kathy from North Scituate, RI

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September 18, 2006

When washing dishes and you have too many suds in the sink after draining wash water, instead of using so much water to wash them down the drain, sprinkle salt on the suds and they just disappear. It really works, hope you try it.

By Sherry from Dixie, West Virginia

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March 19, 20052 found this helpful

Instead of my usual dish cloth, I use a crocheted doily to wash dishes with. The roughness of the material helps "scrub". When I'm done, I lay the doily in the bottom of the sink and it looks pretty there.

By Betsy

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September 9, 2014

We have glasses that are just wide enough on the top that only 3 fit on 5 hooks along the side of the drainer. But if you have larger plastic glasses, you can set those on top and double the space you have.

I hope that helps!

Source: Just needed more space when doing dishes.

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By 4 found this helpful
February 11, 2011

Add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to dishwater to help cut grease. Then, add 1 tsp. vinegar to the hot rinse water for sparkling glasses and to remove any soap residue.

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February 22, 20060 found this helpful

I have found that using a thick, well-wrung washcloth works very well as a dishrag. Use it to clean crumbs off counter tops.

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July 21, 2014

I recently cleaned out a garage and found tons of things others could use. However, they were only usable after about 8 hours of washing and bleach rinsing.

Muffin Tin for Draining Glasses

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February 24, 2014

I use dishwasher cubes to do my dishes by hand for hard stuck on food. I just fill the sink with hot/warm water and my soap and add a little dishwasher soap, as well. The food just falls off, even hard egg. It really saves time.

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October 26, 20050 found this helpful

Save your back by raising your dishpan. Depending on the depth of your sink, place something under your dishpan to raise it high enough that you can stand up straight while doing the dishes...

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February 15, 2014

When I was a little kid I was always underfoot while Mama was doing chores. When washing the dishes she had a really peculiar (to me) habit. This was eons before dishwashers became commonplace. She always ran her hand over a dish before putting it to rinse.

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July 1, 20041 found this helpful

Dishwashers use from 9 to 16 gallons of (very) hot water. You can wash your dishes using three sinks/tubs and 3 to 5 gallons of water.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 5, 2007

If you want your dishes disinfected (especially if you don't have a dishwasher and someone in your household is sick), after washing them in dishwashing detergent, run them through a rinse of 1 gallon of water with 1 tablespoon of Chlorox added to it.

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February 10, 20050 found this helpful

To save time scrubbing the silverware and other utensils I take a bowl or cup, one that's already dirty and fill half way with hot water and a tiny bit of dish soap. I let them soak till I'm ready to do the dishes.

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August 30, 20010 found this helpful

Here's a water saving idea I have used over the years. Rather than filling the sink to the top with water, put in only a couple inches of water, and then rinse your dishes with a small stream of hot water, over your sink of suds.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 28, 2008

Add about a teaspoon of baking soda with your dish detergent when filling the sink to wash dishes. It softens the water, helps the detergent clean better and makes the suds last a lot longer. I do this all the time and found it makes cleaning the dishes easier and helps reduce and remove hard water stains.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 29, 2007

Don't wash dishes with the water running. If you leave the tap running, you'll use an average of 30 gallons of water to do dishes!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
June 5, 2013

When hand washing dishes, do you use the same dish cloth that you washed the dishes with to clean the countertops and stove with? I was watching a TV show and they said this method transfers germs all around your kitchen and it is best to use a dishcloth for the dishes and another one for cleaning. I would think 2 dish cloths in the kitchen could be a headache trying to remember which is for cleaning and which one is for washing dishes. What do you think?

By Onesummer

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November 26, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use a separate dish cloth to clean counters and other areas in my kitchen after hand washing dishes or you can rinse your dishcloth with a disinfectant, place dishcloth in microwave, run microwave for about 1 minute to kill germs.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 23, 2010

Which liquid detergent can you use to wash dishes by hand in hard water? I need a product that will keep the suds.

By Freda from Tulsa, OK

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January 23, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know if it is my imagination or not but I have noticed that it seems to take more detergent than it used to, to make enough suds for cleaning. Has anyone noticed that? I usually use Dawn or whatever is on sale. I don't think there is that much difference.

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January 24, 20100 found this helpful

I use the clear kind that has bleach in it. You can also add a little baking soda to your water. It will soften it, good luck.

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January 26, 20100 found this helpful

Hi and thanks Laniegirl for saying that it appears to take more liquid than it used to. I just said this a few days ago.

I use Dawn and like it but it is watery now so I am sure other brands are also. It just takes a lot more to make and Hold any suds.

In the days gone by - I added water to my liquid dish soap because it was so thick!

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January 26, 20100 found this helpful

I use the Member's Mark brand from Sam's club and put it in a pump bottle (like hand lotion) about 10-12 pumps are all that's needed to do a whole days dishes for all four of us.

Our water here is like drinking rocks. I know of one woman who dissolves a little Epsom salts in a little water and mixes it into her laundry and dish soaps to "soften" the water that way. She says it works.

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January 26, 20100 found this helpful

We have well water & I have always used original green Palmolive but the other day, I purchased the new Dawn (kind to hands) dish washing soap. I find it produces lots of suds & Dawn always gets rid of grease, etc. Although it was hard on the hands but I bought this one.

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January 27, 20100 found this helpful

Cybergrannie, I see we are both grannies. Maybe we are the only ones who remember it used to be thick. Same here, most of the time when it was thick I had way too many suds. I am sure that the manufacturers are not going to advertise it as "the new watered down version" LOL

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January 27, 20101 found this helpful

As I am adding the hot water to the sink, I add about one tablespoon of baking soda to the water and swish it around to dissolve. I then add the dish detergent.

Baking soda will soften the water and cut grease. I keep the baking soda in an old plastic Parmesan cheese container near the sink and shake it in. This is also good when you need a little extra scrubbing power for those extra dirty dishes or pans.

I like Dawn also but the regular one was too drying to my hands. Dawn makes one that is gentle to your hands. It still cleans well but keeps your hands from drying.

Another tip that I read on this site is to mix liquid hand dishwashing detergent with baking soda and make a paste. This works great to scrub bathtubs, sinks, etc.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 3, 2010

If I wash dishes and pots with Clorox, does the glossy coating go away? Someone told me that using Clorox will make my dishes and pans dull. Is this true?

By George from Alameda, CA

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March 3, 20100 found this helpful

I'm not sure what it will do to the finish of your dishes, but chlorine bleach is highly toxic. I wouldn't recommend using it for any household cleaning, but especially not for your dishes; you eat off of those!

Visit this site for more information and natural alternatives. http://www.care  d-cleaners.html#

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March 3, 20100 found this helpful

How much Clorox do you plan on using when washing your dishes & pots? I do use bleach sometimes when washing dishes, especially if I'm washing things that have touched raw poultry and meat. I've been doing this for 35 years and am still alive. To a sink half full of water just a very small amount of bleach is necessary-about 2 tablespoons. It does not dull the finish of anything. Just be sure to rinse well.

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March 4, 20100 found this helpful

Not only will a little bleach not hurt your dishes, it will brighten them if they have been dulled by coffee, tea, tomato sauce,grape juice, and other staining foods and drinks. In addition, the number of colds passed from child to child will slow,your countertops will be a little more sanitary if you use the dishwater to wash them,then wipe again with water and dry,your sink will be being disinfected while the dishwater is in it and your drain will receive the benefit of having soapy bleach water poured down it. I've been doing it for almost 50 years with no harm to anyone or anything.

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Anonymous
March 5, 20100 found this helpful

Bleach is caustic, in more ways than one, so I wouldn't do it because it most likely would erode the finish over time!

With much respect to other posters, I am asking what is more important? Shiny dishes, pots and pans or your health? Bleach is highly toxic :-( Oh, you might not see or feel any damage now but it will happen eventually :-( First hand experience speaking here from breathing it's fumes over nearly five decades for cleaning/sanitizing.)

Another poster recommended adding bleach to your dishwater :-o NO! If you read a bottle of dish soap cautions they all expressly say 'do not mix with bleach'! The reason they caution this is because the combination can create Mustard Gas :-o

http://science.  mustard-gas3.htm

If anyone is super duper worried about germs in their home on their dishes then wash them in soapy water that is 110 degrees and rinse well. If one still wants to use bleach as a sanitizer after that then fill well rinsed sink with hot water and add only 1/2 ounce of bleach to 2 gallons of water. Soak and rinse well again.

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March 6, 20100 found this helpful

Most health depts. recommend a 1;10dilution for bleach to sterilize for germs, but that is if there is a contagious illness or for soup kitchens or group functions.

Why are you washing your dishes in bleach? if there is not a problem i would just use soap and water. if you feel you need a disinfectant, get a bucket sink or basin with water and add a table spoon of bleach.

wash dishes with soap and water, rinse, dip in bucket and rinse again.

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July 29, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for handwashing dishes. Post your ideas.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 20, 20050 found this helpful

Ahhh, my motto: A soaked dish never needs scrubbing!

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July 29, 20050 found this helpful

Sometimes it is easier to wash dishes by hand when there are only two of you. Keep a square plastic storage-type container on the counter filled with water and place your silverware and kitchen utensils in there to soak until you wash all the dishes.

Dishwashers are nice but if it takes several days to fill it and in the meantime you are constantly taking out your favorite item to wash it and use it, it kind of defeats the purpose.

By Syd

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July 29, 20050 found this helpful

If you add about a tablespoon of baking soda to your dish water it will add some cleaning power to your dish soap and it will also make your hands very soft.

By Robin

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July 29, 20050 found this helpful

I had a dishwasher for 30 years and since I moved to the Netherlands I don't have a dishwasher. Correction, I do have a dishwasher.....me!!! Anyway, I always put vinegar in my rinsewater and the glasses just sparkle. I was surprised that most people I know don't even rinse their dishes here. They dry them straight from the soapy dishwater. Interesting, huh??

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By guest (Guest Post)
July 29, 20050 found this helpful

If you have a hose sprayer, you can use a lot less dish soap by "fluffing" it up with the sprayer in your sink. Spray hot water directly into the soap in the sink.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 26, 2012

Do you have a dish rack on your countertop in the kitchen or do you use a drying mat? How does a drying mat dry dishes like glasses very well on the inside if the glass is turned upside down on the mat?

By Onesummer

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May 21, 20130 found this helpful

I am disabled and have to use an office chair (I use it do do everything in the kitchen) to sit on while I do dishes. It puts me at a height that makes the water roll down my arm. I spend half of the time cleaning the dishes and the other half wiping my arm off.

By Dawn

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June 24, 2011

I have almost no counter space. I bought a small drainer but realized I didn't have the pan for it. While shopping lately, I came upon this tub for $.25 and thought it might work. Not only does it work, but it works either way. I will use the lid and the tub for crafts or a "bucket" for cleaning supplies under the sink. Hope this helps!

By Sandi from Salem, OR

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February 11, 20110 found this helpful

Place rubber shelf liner in the bottom of the sink when washing dishes as a cushion against breakage.

By duckie-do from Cortez, CO

Answers:

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

Now this is one heck of an idea. I never would have thought of this. I just happen to have some of the rubber shelf liner, the kind with the tiny holes in a waffle pattern. Since I'm alone, I've gotten to where I prefer to wash my dishes by hand. And, today, the shelf liner goes in the sink. Thanks for a great idea! (10/29/2010)

By Bobbie9395

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October 28, 20100 found this helpful

This maybe a silly request, but does anyone have any tips on washing dishes without the front of my shirt getting wet? The sink is positioned so I have to lean against it when washing dishes so it doesn't kill my back.

I know I could wear an apron or put a dish towel on the edge of the sink, but it usually ends up on the floor or in the sink. Anyone have any ideas?

By Suza from GA

Answers:

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

You could buy or make a vinyl apron to wear. You could use safty pins or clothes pins to fasten a towel to your clothes while doing the dishes.If you are putting the water in the sink, try using a dish pan, so the water is not right at the edge of the sink where you lean. (12/21/2009)

By Omanana

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

Put a big pan in sink bottoms up then put a dish pan on top of it to wash dishes in, that will make the pan higher, maybe this will help you. Also wear a plastic apron,if you don't have on make one with a garbage bag, good luck. (12/21/2009)

By kffrmw88

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

Perhaps you could put on a windbreaker jacket or a light weatherproof jacket backwards - with the back of it on the front and the snaps in the back. Good luck! (12/25/2009)

By kitkatk100

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

I'm visually impaired and do not own a dishwasher. My sink is rather tall for me, as I'm only 5-2. I also have to lean against the sink, but rarely get more than a few drops of water on myself. Here's my strategy:

Rather than pick up the dish completely out of the water to wash, I do most of the washing with the dish submerged. If I have to, I'll stand the dish on its edge on the bottom of the sink while I gently swipe with the dish cloth.

When I'm ready to transfer the dish from point to point - from wash to rinse and rinse to dish rack - I hold it suspended and let most of the water drip off first.

Of course, it prob helps that I don't move very fast, lol! Someone watching me would prob think I was impersonating a sloth, lol! Yet no one gets my dishes cleaner than I can. And all this without soaking the front of my clothes, and no apron required. :D (12/27/2009)

By JustPlainJo

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

I've always washed my dishes by hand. I've never had a dishwasher, but have had a faithful dish dryer for 48 years. His name is Ray.

I learned to wash dishes in the 50's. The rule was; glasses first, pots and pans last. It never occurred to me, until I was saving water during the drought last summer, to rinse the food off my dishes before washing them.

During the drought, wells were going dry, trees and shrubbery were showing signs of stress and I was recycling all the grey water I could collect to water our new shrubbery and keep the commodes flushed.

For the kitchen sink, I purchased two large plastic dish pans and put one in the sink to collect water as I rinsed my hands, etc. After each meal and in between, I used this water to rinse the food off the dishes because, to save water, I washed all of the dishes at the end of the day. I knew if I didn't rinse the food off, they would be a pain to wash. I stacked the rinsed dishes in the other dish pan. It was not until I started doing this that I noticed how dirty the water got after rinsing the food off the dishes. All those years I had been washing dishes, the soap subs hid the food particles in the water and I never gave it a thought.

It only takes a little water and a little effort to rinse the food off the dishes. Each time I do this the thought runs through my mind that this is slop water and I used to wash my dishes in it. It might be just the thought, but I feel like my dishes are much cleaner now.

I also learned another trick last summer. I don't like my kitchen cluttered up with dirty dishes so to keep my pan of dirty dishes out of sight, I put it in the stove oven. I still do this.
To keep from preheating the oven, I have the control knob for the on and off button in the kitchen drawer. This sounds kind of crazy, but it gives me much more space in my small kitchen and keeps my kitchen tidier. I don't use my oven that often for cooking anyway.

By Still Learning from NC

Answers:

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

For washing dishes and wiping off my table and counter tops, I use a dish cloth. At the beginning of each day, I get a clean dish cloth. The dirty ones go on the towel rack to dry then into the laundry to be washed.

When I do the laundry, I soak the dish towels and dish cloths in some bleach water before washing. (09/12/2008)

By Betty

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

My grama used to wash her dishes this way, but she didn't have such a faithful dish dryer as you because of all the hours he worked. Her grandkids sure were helpful for a cookie or two, though.

You mentioning your oven, and thinking about my grama, brought back a funny memory. She had a huge wood burning stove purchased when she and my grampa were first married in the 1930s. In the 1960s my dad and uncle thought they would surprise her by replacing it with a brand spanking new electric stove while she was running errands and doing her marketing one day. She went ballistic (and, boy, did she have a temper) and they had to get her wood burning one back and return the electric one to the store. She used that wood burner until she passed away in the 1980s. (09/15/2008)

By Deeli

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September 12, 20080 found this helpful

Is a sponge, a dishrag or a brush the most germ-free tool to use to hand wash dishes?

Beth from Los Angeles, CA

Answers:

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

I have heard that sponges can carry bacteria, but during one child development class learned of a great way to clean it, instead of throwing it away... when ever you run your dishwasher throw your sponge inside with the dishes. I was amazed at how clean it came out and it lasts a lot longer. (i put it in the utensil holder, and dont forget the cascade or whatever brand you use). (07/16/2007)

By Allison

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

You can microwave a damp kitchen sponge for 30 seconds to kill the bacteria. But be careful when you take it out- it's HOT! (07/18/2007)

By

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

You need to microwave it for 1 minute to kill all of the bacteria inside a sponge. Make sure you WET the sponge before you put it in the microwave or it will melt!
I also microwave my dishclothes also (wet this too) to kill the germys! (07/20/2007)

By Chanelle

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

It's all in how they are used. A dishrag could be run through the laundry and come out very clean (I'm a healthcare worker and we are being told that items washed in hot water with bleach and machine dried come out essentially sterile). But if it's left in a lump to rot at the back of the sink, it's a rotting mess of course. A sponge can be heated in the microwave as posted above, but it must be SOPPING wet or else a very bad stink from the scorching will be hard to get out of your kitchen. A brush can be cleaned by squirting antibacterial spray into the depths between bristles every day. Good luck, and you are smart to be germ-conscious, there are some truly terrifying super-germs out there. Have you read this month's Reader's Digest? (07/20/2007)

By kimhis

Tips for Hand Washing Dishes

I fill my sink up with hot water and use a dish rag. I also wear rubber gloves to protect my hands from the hot water. (11/17/2007)

By Katie

Hand washing

I was just wondering if anyone had any ideas for a hand washing theme float for a parade. Thank you. (07/16/2008)

By Tracy Gallant

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July 16, 20070 found this helpful
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