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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.
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 Judy = Oklahoma from Tulsa, OK
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
I have found that using a thick, well-wrung washcloth works very well as a dishrag. Use it to clean crumbs off counter tops.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Tips for handwashing dishes. Post your ideas.
Ahhh, my motto: A soaked dish never needs scrubbing!
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.
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.
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??
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.
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?
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.
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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/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR
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Place rubber shelf liner in the bottom of the sink when washing dishes as a cushion against breakage.
By Monica from Cortez, CO
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)
This maybe a silly request, but does anyone have any tips on washing dishes without the front of my shirt getting wet?