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
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)
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)
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