Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Washing Up By Hands (Part 1)

To wash up properly you need order, method and plenty of hot water. Try to get into the habit of washing up after every meal. When cooking, wash up as you go along as much as possible. That way, it is easier to deal with the inevitable last-minute items, such as roasting tins, which will have to wait until after the meal is finished. Soak dirty pans to make them easier to wash up later.

When ready to wash up, scrape the food off the plates into the bin. Do not let food scraps wash down the drain. Use a sink strainer, or consider installing a waste disposal unit.

Do not pour fat or oil down the sink. The blockage can be spectacular. Use an old tin or bottle.

After scraping the plates, stack items on one side of the sink in the order they are to be washed. Stand cutlery briefly in a jug of hot, soapy water until it is ready to be washed. This has a two-fold benefit. First it begins to clean the cutlery; second, it keeps all the cutlery together, so you do not end up fishing around for that last rogue teaspoon. It is particularly useful for bone- or wooden-handled cutlery, which should never be immersed in water or the handles will split. Make sure the water comes up to the handle and no further.


Always use a washing-up bowl – less chance of breakages. The water should be hot but not boiling. Some people wear rubber gloves so they can wash up in water that they could not put their bare hands in. Ceramics and glass, though tough, can suffer from thermal shock and crack if a cold item is plunged into very hot water. Add a small squirt of washing-up liquid.

Wash in order: glasses, cutlery, less dirty items, dirty items, greasy pots and pans. Wash pets’ dishes separately after you have washed and dried the rest of the washing up, and keep a special brush or cloth to clean them with.

Tips to enhance washing up. Buy washing-up liquid in industrial quantities from the cash and carry and then decant it into a more attractive glass bottle. Buy the intensive hand cream that comes complete with cotton gloves. Every time you do the washing up, or indeed anything that requires rubber gloves, smother your hands in the cream, put on the cotton gloves and the rubber ones on top. This works really well, because the hot water makes the hand cream more effective, but no one ever recommends it. Hand-cream manufacturers probably find the conjunction of their product with dirty dishes too unglamorous.

Cleaning a chopping board

Scrub wooden chopping boards after use with hot soapy water and a stiff brush. Do not leave to soak or the wood may distort. Dry well with clean tea towel and store upright to prevent warping. Oil wooden boards regularly using butcher-block oil (you can find it in the kitchen shops). Oil once a week for a month after first buying, then once a month or whenever the surface seems dry.


Cleaning glass and cutlery

Use a soft dish cloth. Even better is an old-fashioned string dish mop, available from the more traditional hardware outlets. It is an excellent tool, can go into all the crevices, through fork prongs and into deep glasses and mugs. (After use, rinse under the tap, squeeze it and give it a shake. Park it upright so it can dry.) Rinse each item in clean water and put to drain in a rack. Change the water as it gets dirty.

When washing glasses by hand, use even less detergent than usual – with fewer suds, you will be able to see the glasses more clearly in the bowl – less chance of breakages. Wash one glass at a time. Be particularly careful abuot taps. It is easy to smash a glass against a tap.

Detergent leaves a film on the glass, so always rinse glasses. A dash of vinegar in the rinsing water will make them sparkle. Put a clean tea towel on the draining board to pad it and leave the glasses to drain. If the water is hot enough, the glasses will virtually dry themselves. Finish by polishing them well with a clean, lint-free tea towel. This is particularly important in areas where the water is hard because it can leaves water marks on the glasses.

Read also: Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Washing Up By Hands (Part 2)

Tags: cleaning, kitchen, washing up

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