Do you dread washing dishes? Maybe you were blessed with a dishwasher…and then it goes out. Now you are stuck with hand washing dishes and you are struggling to be a happy homemaker about it.
Maybe washing dishes takes up way too much time. You want to relax after a good long day of homemaking, but the piles of dirty dishes are staring you in the face.
Did you know that you can actually enjoy washing dishes? Creating a dish washing routine orders this monstrous task breaking it down into manageable bite size pieces so that you can do this task effeciently and joyfully.
How to Create a Dishwashing Routine
A good dishwashing routine should include…
- When are you going to wash dishes
- How often are you going to wash dishes
- How you should wash the dishes
- A kitchen reset
If you settle these things in your mind creating a plan and sticking to it, you can joyfully flourish even when you have dirty dishes to wash. You have to commit to working out the kinks though, tweaking this and that, until the process goes smoothly and to your liking.
If there is something that annoys you about washing dishes (like your hands getting chapped or there is always too many dishes or it takes way too long), then do some research. See what other homemakers are doing for these problems.
Don’t just put up with the annoyances because you will only get more annoyed. There are solutions. You can create a dishwashing routine that you enjoy, but you have to commit to making it so.
When are you going to wash the dishes
If you don’t choose ahead of time when you are going to wash dishes and build it into your daily routine as a homemaker, then it will weigh on you and you undoubtedly will dread doing dishes. If you predetermine when you are going to wash dishes and stick by it, then you will be surprised how much this will relieve you. You might actually stop dreading it, too.
How often are you going to wash dishes
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, it is solely up to you. You should at least wash them daily though. I find for my family that twice a day works well. You may find that committing to doing it after every meal actually works best for you.
What ever you choose to do, commit to it. Work consistently at doing it that many times until it becomes second nature. When it becomes a habit, then you will start enjoying it or at least not dreading it half as much.
How you should wash the dishes
This is the nitty gritty part of creating a dishwashing routine so that you can flourish. It actually is very helpful though to find out and predetermine what order you are going to wash the dishes in and how you will actually wash them.
It may not be exactly the same every time, but having a simple order to the process that you establish simplifies this task immensely. This is the order that I find works best for me…
- Glasses and Jars
- Serving Dishes and Storage Containers
- Pots and Pans
Having an order really helps so that you can make the most of the drying mat or drainer. If you do things out of order, you may find yourself having to lift or move dishes so that you can make everything fit.
Here is how I wash dishes…
Gather all the dishes
The first step in washing dishes is to bring everything that needs to be washed to the sink. Clear off the table and make a mental note whether or not any dishes were taken to other rooms at the house. Often times there is a cup or two on a night stand somewhere that needs to be washed.
Because I clear off the table after a meal and put dishes in the sink or near the sink once I am done with them throughout the day, there isn’t usually much to do in this step.
Rinse and scrape
Before washing the dishes, it’s a really good idea to rinse them and use a brush to get all the food off. This keeps your soapy water clean, so you don’t have to change it out because it got nasty.
I got this wooden brush for my birthday one year and I love it for this step.
It’s such a nice experience using something wooden over something plastic!
A good habit that I am trying to establish is to rinse and scrape my dishes throughout the day, when I am finished with them, instead of waiting till it’s time to wash them. The longer they sit the harder stuff sticks in the longer it takes to get it off, but when I read stuff right away, it hardly takes any time.
Next, I wash out the sink next to my drainer and run soapy water into it. If there’s a large bowl, that’s already dirty, I like to run my water into that this saves me to step of washing at the sink.
Also, if I am doing dishes by myself (which is most of the time, but I look forward to the day with my children. No chore should be down alone.), I choose the sink next to the drain or for washing in the farthest ones are insane.
If you do it, the other way, you have to take a step or reach farther towards the drainer every time you rent something. This means an extra unnecessary step for every dish. This wastes so much time and energy!
After I run my soapy water, I swivel the faucet to the other seat and let it run, and I rinse each dish as it gets washed, stacking it on a drying mat or drainer.
Not having to turn the water on and off and having to wait to get to the right temperature each time saves time. It’s also not more expensive because we pay a flat rate for our water.
I grew up cleaning and filling to rinse sink up to rinse dishes, but after trying a few different things, I realize that this took up time. When you were busy mom with toddlers, having official routines like this dishwasher routine with my laundry routine saves time and energy.
Also, I like to use drying mats over a trainer because you can fit more on them.
Towel dry/air dry
After rinsing and stacking dishes on my drying mat, most the time I let them air dry. I would love to get to the place where I dry my dishes right away and put them where they go. This, however, is not the season for such things. Maybe when my kids get a little older and can help me, I can do extra things like this that aren’t necessary, but are really nice to do. It would be really nice to have that countertop space back someday.
But the reality is that I don’t have the energy to dry my dishes in this season of life. I grew up drying and putting the dishes away, and although I find it satisfying the old-fashioned, it just isn’t practical.
Any time it is time to do the dishes is a good opportunity to reset the kitchen. I do at least two kitchen resets a day, where I…
- Put things away like leftovers or spices
- Clear off the table
- Wipe down counters, table and stove top
- Sweep the floor
- Care for my cast iron
Doing a kitchen reset and refreshes the room, clearing it up of clutter, and spills. As one old fashioned homemaker said “The great secret of a clean kitchen is keeping it that way all the time”
Housekeeping after office hours 1953, P 112
Tips for Hand Washing Dishes
- You don’t have to wash dishes three times a day. My family is still relatively small and so it doesn’t make sense to me to wash dishes three times a day. We do very well only washing twice. I like to skip washing after breakfast because we don’t make that many dishes. Someday when my family grows bigger, it will become a necessity to wash dishes after every meal, but for now I am enjoying what works well for me.
- Rinse dishes as you are done with them. It takes twice as long to scrub dishes that have sat for a while. Stuff dries on which makes it much harder to rinse it off, but if you rinse dishes as you bring them to the sink after a meal or throughout the day, washing will be a breeze.
- Rinse dishes before washing them. If you don’t get to rinse the dishes as you bring them to the sink at least rinse them before you wash them. This will keep your dish water clean which makes washing much faster because you won’t have to refill your dishwater so often. It also makes hand washing much more enjoyable because your water won’t get grimy so fast. It’s a good way to keep the water from getting oily, too.
- Invest in a scrub brush. Having a good scrub brush makes rinsing your dishes before washing them easier. While it isn’t absolutely necessary to have a wooden one, I was given this long handled wooden scrub brush and I love it! The wood adds a nice touch especially if you are veering away from plastics. It’s practical, very helpful, and a little bit old fashioned, but I like using a quality brush even to scrape my dishes.
- Use natural dish soap. Handwashing can be really hard on your skin, but the chemicals from the soap will seriously chap your hands. I struggled with this for over a year until I switched to a more natural dish soap. Now my hands hardly suffer from being in the water for long periods even in the winter.
- Moisturize after you are done. After you are done washing dishes, it’s a good idea to moisturize your hands to keep your skin hydrated. In fact, I have recently learned that the best time to moisturize your skin is while it is still a little wet, which means that after dishwashing is the perfect time. My favorite thing to use is Organic Jojoba Oil.
- Make your own washcloths and scrubbies. This is definitely not a must, but I absolutely love using things I have made myself. Crocheting a few washcloths and scrubbies is not very hard to do either so if you don’t know how to crochet, this is a wonderful project for a beginner.
- Wash your sink out after you’re done. Making it part of your dishwashing routine to wash out your sink last thing ensures that your sink will always be spotless.
- Use a different washcloth and/or scrubbie each time. I used to have a problem with my dishrags always stinking. It was not fun and definitely took away from having a good experience hand washing my dishes. Part of the problem I realized was that I let the wet rag sit in between washes so I tried and experiment. After every time I was done washing dishes, I threw the washcloths into the washer and got a new one for next time. It worked! Using a clean washcloth everytime kept them from getting stinky and because I was making my own, it was super easy to have plenty on hand and never run out.
- Find what works. If any part of handwashing (or any part of housekeeping for that matter) really frustrates you or annoys you, experiment. Tweak the process until you find what works smoothly for you. In the words of a 1920’s housewife, “Let the housewife read, investigate, and be willing to try a new method until she proves that it is better or worse than her own.” Lydia Ray Balderston, Housewifery, P. 240 You don’t have to be stuck with a system that doesn’t work for you. You have to do the dishes but that doesn’t mean that you have to dread it so figure out how you can do it the best way possible.
I hope you didn’t find this too nitty gritty! It can sound overly complicated, but stopping to think through these things can really help you enjoy the necessary task of washing dishes.
Please, share this if you found it helpful or were inspired in anyway! My hope is to be a blessing to homemakers and help them lessen the load so that they can flourish in this wonderful calling of homemaking!