2006-09-28 / News

Make quick work of washing those dirty dishes

By Tresa Erickson

Dinner is over, and while everything was delicious, the table is now full of dirty dishes. You don't have a dishwasher, so it's up to you to wash the dishes by hand. You run a sink full of warm water and prepare for a few hours of washing and drying dishes. Ugh, if only you could speed up the process. Then you could move on to more important tasks. Lucky for you, you can.

To make quick work of dishwashing, start by prepping the dishes. Scrape off any remaining food from them, rinse with hot water, which will help loosen any hardened residue, and stack next to the sink. Run hot water into any dishes requiring soaking and set aside.

Once the dishes are ready to be washed, run a sink full of hot water. Don't use tepid water. It won't remove residue or cut the grease as well and may leave some bacteria behind. If your hands are sensitive to hot water, wear a pair of rubber gloves and be sure to change the water once it cools off. Add a few drops of quality dishwashing liquid to the water while the sink is filling. Be careful not to go overboard with the soap, however, or you could have a hard time rinsing it off the dishes.

As soon as the sink is full, get out a clean dishcloth and wash the least soiled items first. Generally, glasses, cups and silverware fall into this category. Follow those with plates, bowls and serving dishes. Rinse everything with hot water, which will help reduce drying time and eliminate water spots, and place into a dish rack to air dry. Do not dry dishes with a towel. Wet towels are a haven for bacteria.

After you have finished with the least soiled items, change the water if needed and move on to the pots and pans. Keep in mind that certain materials call for certain cleaning methods. Here is a brief list:

+ Aluminum. Wash aluminum pots and pans in hot, soapy water. Do not let them soak, or they will tarnish.

+ Cast iron. Wipe out cast iron pots and pans with a damp cloth and dry completely with a paper towel to prevent rust.

+ Copper. Wash copper pots and pans in hot, soapy water. Use half a lemon dipped in salt to scrub away stubborn stains.

Wash all other types of pots and pans as you would any other dish. If necessary, you may use a scrub brush or pad. Be wary of using it on pots and pans coated with a non-stick surface. You could scratch the surface. Rinse all pots and pans in hot water and let them air dry.

Washing dishes by hand doesn't have to take hours and hours. By following these tips, you can get the task done quickly and have more time for other things. Get moving, and if you have loads and loads of dishes to wash, enlist the help of a family member.

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