How to Hand Wash Dishes Like a Pro

You might think this is a no-brainer – everyone knows how to hand wash dishes properly, right?

The main steps seem clear: remove leftover food, lather up the dishes, and rinse.

But we found some additional hacks.

This post contains 9 proven steps that will teach you how to hand wash dishes better than ever.

Let’s dive right in!

How to hand wash dishes

1. Soak your dishes

The best way to save time and mess while doing the dishes is to soak ‘em in some water.

After soaking, grease and other food residue will come off your dishes much more easily.

Meaning less work for you.

High five on doing a better job washing the dishes in less time!

2. Pre-treat the burn

Soaking can do wonders on food residue, but when you’re dealing with burned food stuck to your pots, you need to up your game.

Time to add some salt to those pots.

Why salt?

Because it’s absorbent and naturally abrasive.

Just rub it into your greasy pots and pans until any residue is gone.

Problem solved.

Alternatively, sprinkle a bit of baking soda inside your pots and pans, add some water, and then bring to a boil.

Turn off the burner and let the pot sit for about half an hour.

The burned food will soften like butter, allowing you to clean your pots easily.

3. Clean the dirtiest area in your home first

Wait! What? That’s right – in order to get your dishes truly clean, you gotta do some cleaning elsewhere.

Scientists at the University of Virginia discovered that when you wash leftover food down the kitchen drain, the food residue provides abundant nutrients for bacteria to grow.

That’s right.

The bacteria colonies in the kitchen drain grow about 1 inch per day, and make their way up into the sink.

So before doing the dishes it makes a lot of sense to use some dish soap to clean the kitchen sink and rinse it with water.

A clean sink and clean dishes go hand in hand.

Wanna save some time?

Get a separate dish pan to wash the dishes.

Here’s a dish pan with an integrated drain for easy handling.

You can store it underneath the sink where it’s out of the reach of bacteria from your drain.

Check out the ingenious design and the awesome reviews it received.

Whether you clean your sink with dish soap or get a separate dish pan, either way you won’t get a bunch of germs on the freshly washed dishes.

Just a quick reminder… stick to dish soap when cleaning the sink and never use bleach.

Many conventional dish soaps contain ammonia, which causes a chemical reaction when getting in contact with bleach.

By avoiding those two from mixing in with each other you won’t be breathing in any toxic fumes from that mixture.

4. Read the ingredient list

We betcha you won’t find a single conventional dish soap that includes 100% safe ingredients.

Most of them are made from chemicals like methylchloroisothiazolinone that will give your skin irritations and allergies.

Natural dish soap is different.

It doesn’t harm your health, you won’t eat tiny bits of leftover chemicals mixed in with your next meal, you don’t pollute the environment, and your kids are protected from harsh substances.

And there are many other benefits of natural dish soap.

No harsh chemicals ever.

Just safe and clean dishes for everyone living in your home.

Here’s the most natural dish soap there is.

5. Cold vs. hot water

You’ve probably heard that hot water facilitates cleaning your dishes.

But this depends what was on your plate.

Food residue from starches and dairy products turns all gummy if you add hot water.

So keep that hot water off your lasagne dish or you’ll have to scrub twice as hard.

But there are other reasons why you don’t need to use hot water to do the dishes.

A team of scientists at Rutgers University tested how hot dish washing water needs to be to remove germs.

They tested three different temperatures: 60, 79, and 100-degrees Fahrenheit.

The result showed that bacteria removal is equally successful in all three temperatures.

In other words, you can now start saving energy by using cooler water to do the dishes.

In addition to saving energy there’s also another benefit that comes with that:

Your hands won’t feel dry because lukewarm water doesn’t remove the natural oils, fats, and special proteins on your skin as much as hot water does.

Say hello to softer hands and a lower energy bill.

Thanks, guys at Rutgers!

6. Wash the cleanest dishes first

If you wash dishes in a sink or dish pan filled with soap and water then it makes a lot of sense to wash your cleanest dishes first.

Why?

Because this will keep your water cleaner. There’ll be no more leftover food floating in your sink and getting all over your freshly-washed dishes.

Usually your cups and glasses are the ones that should go first, followed by silverware, plates and finally your pots and pans.

But here’s the thing:

As we explained earlier, doing the dishes inside your sink isn’t the most sanitary method.

The safest way to hand wash dishes is to lather them up with soap using a sponge or brush and then rinse them with clean water.

7. Dry your dishes

After having washed the dishes, a bunch of bacteria might still grow back depending on how you dry them.

A group of researchers studied the level of bacteria growth on dishes that where stacked while still being slightly wet versus dishes that had been air dried for a day and as a result were entirely dry.

After 24 hours both samples contained roughly the same amount of bacteria.

But after 48 hours, the dishes that had been put away slightly wet had significantly more bacteria on them.

The takeaway point?

Letting your dishes dry well is part of how to do dishes properly.

Alternatively you can use a towel, but in most cases towels contain bacteria which will end up on your freshly washed dishes.

Air drying your dishes remains your best choice.

Need the right tool for that?

Here’s a dish drying rack with an incredibly smart design that fits 50% more dishes than conventional ones.

Take a look and see what you think.

Next up:

8. Need a new sponge?

The dirtiest areas in homes are kitchen sinks and the dirtiest items are dish sponges.

Surprised to read this?

A group of German researchers discovered that dish sponges may include 362 different kinds of bacteria and up to 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter.

In other words:

Your sponge might add more bacteria than it removes.

That’s why switching out dish sponges regularly is part of how to do dishes properly.

But that raises another issue:

Unnecessary amounts of trash.

But we got just the right solution.

We found the one and only compostable dish sponge made entirely from natural materials.

It even costs the same as regular sponges available at stores.

Customers love it and so does the environment.

9. Parting advice

Before you go here are 3 things to up your dish-washing game even more:

a) Remember to wash the rims of your cups and glasses with extra care since this is where they’re dirtiest.

b) Don’t forget to wash the handles of your silverware.

c) The same goes for pots and pans.

Now all that's left for us to say is...

Congrats!

You're a dish-washing pro and you know the ins and outs of how to do dishes by hand.

And just in case someone ever dares to tell you that doing the dishes by hand is a waste of time, then we’ve got news for them.

Did you know that one of the riches people on the planet does the dishes EVERY day?

We’re talking about no one other than Bill Gates.

And he might be on to something.

A group of researchers in Florida found that doing your dishes reduces your stress level and increases your mindfulness.

Sounds like it’s time to check out some quality dish soap.