Do you hate dirty dishes as much as I do? Dirty dishes are the bane of my existence. My roommates from college can certainly attest to this; they were always getting after me to stop leaving soiled dishes in the sink. Especially one in particular who would leave me notes like this……
(You know who you are :0)
18 years later, as a food blogger and a housewife now in charge of caring/cooking for 6 people including myself, I have a lot of dirty dishes to clean every day. I have been running at least two loads in the dishwasher daily. My husband and I moved our little family into my dad’s house right after Christmas last year. I made a promise to myself to help repay his kindness by keeping his house spotless. Well, I soon found out that this is actually so much harder than I ever thought! And no fault of my dads; with two rambunctious elementary school boys and a baby girl (who just learned how to walk~ so cute!) my dad’s house can get trashed in a matter of seconds. Seriously, seconds! So how on earth am I going to keep my resolution?!
A good friend of mine taught me a lesson that I’ve never forgotten. “Work smart, not hard.” What a great mantra! Kitchen, you will not beat me! I am in charge!
I have found some hacks for kitchens/dishes that I have found truly helpful and I want to pass this knowledge along to you! So here’s my personal ‘Top Ten hacks for Clean Dishes:’
1. Line with foil. Anytime I’m using bakeware I will line it with tin foil. It feels so good to finish cooking, pull the foil up, throw it away and put the bakeware back in the cupboard! It doesn’t even need to hit the sink (most of the time). Great for brownies, rimmed baking sheets, or the inside of broiler pans. Whenever I bake cookies, I always put parchment paper on the baking sheet. Same principle :0)
2. Let it soak. Go make yourself a great hot chocolate, and sit down to catch up on your favorite program. When your husband gets home from work, he can wash them for you…hint hint…Whoever ends up washing them will be so glad….
3. Get the kids to help. This one I need to implement more. We have a reward system set up for my boys and I need to take advantage of it! What ever happened to “Mom worked hard to cook the meal for the family, the family works hard to clean up the meal for mom”? Plus you can actually have some nice family time if you all pitch in and help clean up after dinner! I’ve had some great conversations with family while one of us loaded/unloaded the dishwasher.
4. Bust out that baking soda! Making a small amount of baking soda paste can be super helpful if you have forgotten #1 above or for whatever reason have gunked up a sauté pan or something. Just add about two or three teaspoons of baking soda in a small bowl and a little bit of warm water. Rub the paste onto seriously baked on food with the rough side of a sponge. Pour some vinegar over it and watch your homemade volcanic eruption clean your dish. It’s total fun, especially if you have young kids :0) Thanks to The Greenbacks Gal for the tip!
5. Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. My goodness, first it’s ”Don’t go to bed mad at your husband.” now it’s “Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes?!” Sheesh, what else must we do before our exhausted bodies fall into bed? Well, my mom was always so good at doing the dishes before bed. She was a very strong willed person and would never leave them for the morning (like her daughter does). When she set her mind to do something, it got done!
6. One designated drinking cup a day. Before this my boys were always climbing up on the counter to get a clean cup every time they wanted a drink of water! This could be several times a day. Inspiration for this idea came from this one trick to cut down on dirty dishes.
7. Get that dishwasher unloaded. My husband has told me he’d rather wash dishes then unload them from the dishwasher. I find for me, I get so busy with life that I forget to take the time to do this. So dirty dishes get piled up in the sink instead of the dishwasher because there’s no place for them. If I stay on top of unloading, it’s always easier for me to keep my sink clean.
8. Keep dirty dishes out of the sink by utilizing The Plastic Bin method. Don’t put dirty dishes in the sink, put them in a bin next to the sink. This can be beneficial for many reasons. Outward organization causes inner peace! There’s nothing more frustrating than cooking a meal and you have no room for dirty dishes because your sink is already full of dirty dishes. Plus I’ve even read that a sink full of dirty dishes causes people to eat out more because they don’t want to deal with cleaning up the mess. (I admit I have been guilty of this at times…) If you’re washing by hand then just fill the bin with soap and water, not the sink. It’s smaller than the sink and will save on the water bill. More like save my sanity from not having to stare at the horror scene in the kitchen…
9. Hire someone. This is not a joke! I plan on doing this someday when I can afford it. There are plenty of young people (you know, babysitting age or so) out there who would love to earn a few extra bucks. I’m not talking hiring for every day, but on days that you know you’ll be doing a lot of cooking. I have learned both from my experience as a Mary Kay consultant and as a Blogger that hiring help is totally Okay! In fact it’s good because you’re blessing someone else’s life too with some extra $.
10. Use plastic/paper. Hahaha okay I know what you’re all thinking (cheater….) but now that we have recycling in our area, I don’t feel bad about using these products. It is great for my peace of mind to clean a couple pots and pans and I’m done. Or better yet put those pots and pans in the emptied dishwasher! No dishes in the sink. Plus you can bust out a sharpie and start writing names or initials on the cups to help with #6. Too bad I can’t wire the sink to buzz like the game ‘Operation’ every time someone puts a dish in there! Boy that would re-wire our brains real quick to quit leaving dirty dishes in the sink! Haha!