You’d be forgiven for thinking washing the dishes was invented to make humans miserable. This seemily never ending task can thankfully be made easier with just a couple simple steps:
- Get a dishwasher.
- See #1.
All jokes aside, washing the dishes doesn’t have to be brutal, whether you do the dishes exclusively by hand or pair up with a dishwasher. Investing in some simple tools (like high-quality dish gloves and a pump for dish soap) as well as a couple inventive ones (like a plastic bench scraper for removing leftover food or gunk) can transform the after-cooking time into something if not quite pleasant, then much less miserable to what it’s traditionally been.
These 10 tips and tools will make washing dishes so much easier
- High-quality dish gloves: Investing in a pair of sturdy, high-quality dishgloves might sound obvious. Perhaps you imagine yourself as someone who is happy doing the dishes without gloves because they’re a hassle or they let water drip in and become smelly and slimy. Seek out a pair that are longer and can withstand months of regular dishwashing, like Casabella’s Premium Waterblock Gloves.
- A good and sturdy dish drying rack: Having somewhere that supports your dishes and allows for different sizes means you’re less likely to break things, and can fit more, to boot. Opt for one with a container for silverware and cooking utensils to maximize space.
- A washable drying mat: A soft drying mat extends your drying area and is great for pots and pans that would hog precious drying rack space. Wash and dry it regularly to prevent mildew from building up.
- Repurpose your flexible bench scraper: If you have a small, plastic bench scraper or dough cutter, you’ve got one of the best dish tools on hand. Use it to scrape any leftover food or residue into the trash before beginning to wash. This prevents the pipes in your sink and dishwasher from clogging and makes them easier to wash, too.
- Tougher sponges and the right scrubbing tools: A soft sponge can’t do much to get rid of caked on food. Opt for two-sided sponges, instead, that have a rough surface on one side. Keep steel wool on hand for the tougher stains. (The great news is, steel wool is safe on HexClad pans!) A bottle brush does wonders for water bottles, too.
- Scouring powder: When elbow grease won’t do the trick, sprinkle a scouring powder like Bon Ami or Barkeeper’s friend over the dish in question, let sit, then scrub away.
- A hand-pump for dish soap: Stopping to squeeze a bottle of dish soap every few minutes is not just a waste of time, it’s annoying. Instead, buy a refillable hand-pump and fill it with your dish soap of choice.
- Something to organize: Keeping your dish soap, sponge, and steel wool handy with something organizational. You’re likely to find passionate advocates for in-sink suction cups or for dedicated stands. The key is to find something that works with your space and that won’t constantly annoy you. Seriously! Even if it’s a repurposed takeout container, that works. It will make the space look tidier and make your job easierr, too. If you have a dishwasher, opt for something you can chuck in once a week or so to keep it sparkling clean.
- Cleaning cloths and a nontoxic spray: Ending every dishwashing session with a good wipedown of the work surfaces and sink is key. Scrub the basin with dishsoap and a sponge, then rinse it down. Spray the countertops, basin, faucet, and handles generously with an all-purpose santizing spray (ideally that’s nonstoxic). Wipe well with a microfiber cloth or multiuse disposable cloth, then rinse, wring, and hang the cloth to dry. Launder it after a few uses, or discard if using a multiuse cloth.
- Finally, but perhaps most important of all: Include some entertainment. If you find the mere idea of doing dishes to be exhausting, then cue up your favorite podcast or a riveting audiobook for company. It’s likely to make the task less daunting, and you might even learn something in the process.