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How To Wash Dishes By Hand

Not sure about how to wash dishes by hand? Here is an easy primer from the CHK Homekeeping 101 eBook to get your started. Almost everyone has washed dishes by hand, but did you know that there is a method you can follow to make it more efficient and easier?   Here’s the method, its what I do ….    dishes
• Scrape all food from the dishes into the trash or other receptacle.
• Rinse off excess food from the dishes.
• Stack the dishes according to kind: plates, glasses, silverware, cups, etc.
• Make two sinks of water–one with soap at the hottest temperature you can stand on your hands, the other with clear, clean water for rinsing. Add a couple of teaspoons of bleach to the rinse water if desired.
• Make a place on a counter for clean dishes, preferably at the opposite side of the sink from the stacks of dirty dishes.
You will wash the least dirty dishes first and then move on to the most soiled ones. This keeps your dish water cleaner as you go.

If you have burned-on food, you may want to soak those pans or dishes while you are washing the others. Even if you don’t have an automatic dishwasher, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of automatic dishwasher liquid on hand. Pour a little of this detergent on burned on foods and allow to soak. The burned food and carbon comes off very easily. Depending on how burned the food is, you may have to soak it for several hours. At any rate, it beats standing and scrubbing for hours!

Begin by washing plastic ware. Wash well and rinse. Let it sit to dry or towel it dry (children are very handy for the latter!). Next wash the glassware. Use a scotch-brite pad or other small cloth to wash the dishes.

Rub the outside and then the inside of the glass. Be careful not to put your hand so far down in the glass that it breaks. Get most of the bubbles os off the glass before rinsing. Rinse the glass in the rinse water by immersing it several times.

Place the glass on the prepared area and allow it to air dry if you have used bleach. Air drying allows the bleach’s disinfectant properties to kill bacteria. If you have not used bleach, your dishes can be dried immediately.

You may also rinse dishes in hot running water. It’s not possible to disinfect them this way, but it does do a good job of getting rid of streaks and takes away the trouble of refilling the rinse water when it is too soapy.

Next move to the cups, saucers and silverware. Be sure to clean between the tines of the forks well using your scotch-brite or cloth. Rinse as directed above. Wash the plates and serving platters next. Then move to the pans and cooking pans. Ideally, the pots and pans you have cooked in are washed as you are cooking and moving food from them into serving platters. “Clean as you go” is a great way to manage your kitchen.

Having the pots and pans already washed before dinner also gives you a break when it’s time to wash the dishes and you are tired.
If you have cast-iron, be sure to dry them completely before storing them. I like to dry them with a clean towel and then place them on a hot burner on the stove for a few minutes. When they are dry and hot, I rub some shortening into the inside and handle of the pan and continue to heat it for a few minutes. This gives the pan a quick seasoning and keeps it non-stick for longer.

If you have air-dried your dishes, you can put them away whenever they are completely dry. Don’t allow moisture to remain on the dishes though, mold and bacteria can grow. If you are going to towel dry your dishes, use a clean, absorbent, dry towel. Thoroughly dry the dishes and put them in their storage places.

Now wipe down the counter tops and behind the faucet. Use the dish water to clean the sinks. Wash out the sinks after you

scotch brite

let the water out, scrubbing the inside of the sink with your scotch-brite or cloth.

Wash out your cloth or scotch-brite with some bleach and water and place it in a small dish or other receptacle to dry. Dry the counter tops with your dish-drying towel and hang it to dry


  1. Vicki

    Wanted to let you know I printed this off for my husband and his crew. Many copies made and posted in man camps in the Bakken oil fields…they thank you.

    • Sylvia

      Vicki, thanks for letting me know, that’s very cool! They are welcome 🙂 Glad to be of help.

  2. Jilly

    Hi there Sylvia, I have never heard of a little bleach in the rinse water before; that is interesting! Is it for any germs? Thank you!
    Jilly oxoxo

    • Sylvia

      Yes it is, Jilly. But it only works if you allow the dishes to air dry.