Sunday, December 21, 2008

All those Dirty Dishes...

Before Christmas is upon us, with the never ending food feasting resulting in stacks of dirty plates, greasy trays and well used drink glasses I thought I should do a post about washing dishes. Yes, I realise most people know how to do this, but at Christmas time it can all seem really daunting. This post is more of a reminder about how to do it properly to save time, effort, water and our nerves.

Now I suppose there is going to be a divide between those with a dishwasher, and those without. But I will be addressing both of these, because even a dishwasher has a right and wrong way to be used. Plus, everyone knows that at Christmas time, it's impossible to fit everything into your dishwasher, and some items are too fragile or valuable to be put into a dishwasher.

Let's get started with hand washing dishes...

  1. Start off by arranging all the items that are to be hand washed on one side of the sink. Scrape off any food, check that all glasses and mugs have been emptied and rinse any greasy pots and pans with hot water, then fill with hot soapy water and set aside to soak. Utensils can be left inside these pots for soaking too. And finally rinse any particularly dirty items under the tap. There should be no items left in the sink.
  2. Make sure the sink is clean and free of food and grease. Fill the sink with hot water, but not so hot as to scold your hands. The temperature for water to kill germs at are higher than possible for hand washing dishes, but the warmer the water, the easier it will be to get rid of grease. Add dishwashing soap, remember that you don't need much soap. Clear the space on the other side of the sink for draining, or use a draining board.
  3. This is where we might have a differing opinion, but if you have a second sink, fill it with clear hot water for rinsing. Alternatively use a large plastic washing up bowl (like the ones you use for camping). I prefer to rinse my dishes and glassware because I don't like soap suds staying behind, but I also realise that doing this under a running tap wastes allot of water.If you don't believe in rinsing dishes for water conservation purposes, just make sure you dry the dishes well with a dishcloth to get rid of the soapy deposits.
  4. Start off with washing the fragile and cleanest items first with a soft cloth. These will normally be glasses, and so they will need to be dried with a cloth to prevent soap and water spots from forming.
  5. Next up is the silverware. Place all items into the sink and wash each piece as you pick it out of the water, then dipping into the rinsing sink and putting aside for drying.
  6. For the plates, start off again with the cleaner ones such as plates that were used for bread of butter, stacking them all in the sink and working your way through the stack with a sponge to make sure you get rid of the grimier bits. Don't forget to wash the back of the plates since they have most likely been stacked on top of the other dirty plates. Keep going until all the plates have been done.
  7. The next lot to go in the sink are the mixing bowls and not-so-greasy bowls and serving dishes and utensils. You might find that the water has now become too filthy and needs changing, but give any bowls and serving dishes left a swish in the water anyway before you empty the sink. Once the sink is empty remember to pour out any water that you left in the pots and pans to soak.
  8. Now tackle the pots, pans and roasting trays starting with the cleanest. Never use a scourer on non-stick surfaces, I find a washing up brush is brilliant for quickly and easily removing stubborn food and grease from pots and pans without damaging them- I get mine from IKEA. For extremely greasy pans and trays, you might want to drain the water and scrub them on their own, rinsing when all the bits have been scrubbed off.
  9. After all the clean dishes have been packed away (well done!), drain, wash and rinse the sink. Wipe down the counters, stove top, and even cupboards where spills have occurred with a sponge or damp dishcloth. Then dry everything with a clean and dry cloth (including the sink and taps!). Collect all the dishtowels for washing.

Aah, a lovely clean kitchen ready for the next meal, and of course next set
of dirty dishes :)

Our dishwasher broke last week. Very frustrating just before Christmas, and even worse when we found out it would cost £100 to get someone to come and look at it! In the end, Mr Laundrybasketcase started taking it apart and realised that although we were occasionally cleaning the filter, the spray mechanism had become packed up with bits of food (raisins from my breakfast muesli in particular - I didn't even realise that I left any raisin behind in the bowl). So lesson learnt... unless your dishwasher states that it is amazing and you don't need to clear off any bits of food before it goes in, always scrape off any bits of food before you pack the dishwasher! So this weekend I am buying us one of these:

it's a silicone bowl scraper, how convenient!

Anyway, onto how to properly use and load a dishwasher.

The most important thing about loading a dishwasher is to leave just enough
space between items so that the water and soap can get to all the surfaces, so there are some steps as to the correct way of loading the dishwasher.

  1. Don't waste water to rinse dishes, but rather scrape all dishes clean of food particles with a bowl scraper or use some old scrunched up paper or packaging that's bound for the bin anyway. Certain have been cooked or baked and dried onto items (and rice particles definitely need to be scraped off). These items will need pre-soaking or hand washing. foods don't always wash off in the dishwasher, in particular proteins that
  2. Fragile as well as plastic and Tupperware items need to go in the top part of the dishwasher, these include mugs, glasses, small, bowls and any awkward items that don't fit anywhere else.
  3. Cutlery can go into the basket, put like with like, so all the forks go in one compartment, the spoons in the next etc. To create more space so that the items come out clean, place utensils in the basket with the handles one up one down (so for every fork with a handle up, put a fork with the handle down in).
  4. Bigger utensils can be placed on their sides in the top rack, once again making sure they do not lie against each other preventing them from getting clean. Good knives, especially wooden handled ones should be hand washed because the can be dulled in the dishwasher. Wooden spoons and cutting boards should also not be placed in the dishwasher because they can split.
  5. Plastic chopping boards and thin roasting tins can go sideways on the sides of the bottom rack. Plates should all be stacked parallel in the slots. Once again, putting like with like will make unloading the dishwasher easier.
  6. Pots and pans go in the bottom rack facing downwards. Don't pile things over one another or they won't get clean.
  7. After adding detergent and rinse aid there are three things you should routinely check before switching on the dishwasher: 1- No breakables should be touching the sides of the dishwasher. 2- The rotating arm is not obstructed and can spin freely. 3- the detergent cup is nor obstructed and can open freely.

And there you have it! You should end up with a dishwasher full of lovely sparkling items by the end of the wash cycle.

I've just finished the cleaning and dishes in the kitchen after the mess I made with the mince-pie making (Lesley, I saved you one- but Banjo ate it! So sorry :) Aah, it's so nice to have a clean kitchen.

I'll be taking a Christmas break from now until the new year. Although I'll not be blogging, I will most certainly try to keep up the home keeping.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and leaves me comments!
To all my loveliest blogging friends including Ivy, Lesley, Lorilee, Judy,
Melmel, Kelley, Steph, Mary Poppins, Victoria, Debbie, Mary, lovely Vintage Kitten, Josie-Mary, Caroline, A Thrifty Mrs, Lori, Claire and Clare (and everyone else who reads) have a wonderful Christmas! And I will catch up with you all in the New Year!
Merry Christmas, and remember to love your homes over the Christmas period!
From Mrs Laundrybasketcase, Mr Laundrybasketcase, and of course Greyhound Banjo! xxx

References for this post


Judy said...

I wish you were here to help me with my dishes. I've been baking and cooking for the last couple of days and so doing lots and lots of dishes. I don't know who is more tired me or the dishwasher.

I hope you have a wonderful visit with your "MA". I know she is excited too!

Have a wonderful holiday with lots of smiles and happiness!!

The Vintage Kitten said...

Happy Christmas to Banjo too! X

Ivy said...

Lovely dish washing tips Thanks!
Have a comfy-cozy sparkly winter-wonderlandidness :) and Merry Christmas!

Tea with Willow said...

Really useful tips - and very timely too! I hate that pile of greasy dishes to be tackled after Christmas lunch!!

Banjo is adorable in that hat!
Willow x

MelMel said...


The Vintage Kitten said...

Happy New Year! X

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Hello G.I.R.L.F.R.I.E.N.D! Lol
Long time no speak!
Sorry about that!!!
Its nice to see your lovely kitchen,...
Do you fancy a SWAP!
My wonderful kitchen that its falling to pieces, with your wonderful tidy and new one?
I don`t blame you for not wanting to swap!!! Honest! Lol
I want to wish you and your loved ones...
Banjo included, of course!!!
All the best for the year ahead!

"The Mosses Family"

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

One more thing!
Thanks so much for your useful, easy and wonderful !!! Cleaning tips!!!
Through the year!!!
And A Big Thanks for your Friendship too!
Wish I cherish it VERY MUCH!!!
Debbie Moss

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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