10 Things We Learned About Washing Dishes This Year

(Image credit: Andrea Posadas)

We developed and published around 900 recipes this year. So you better believe we had a boatload of dishes to wash. It wasn’t all that bad, though, because we’ve written about ways to make it more efficient and enjoyable.

Here’s everything we learned about washing dishes this year.

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

1. It can be fun!

There’s just something about it: the back-breaking act of standing at the sink for a million minutes, the pruning of the fingertips, the boredom, the somehow not-so-soothing sound of running water. At its core, washing dishes is just not fun. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make it all a little less terrible. These tips might help you half-like dish duty.

(Image credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani)

2. Gloves are crucial.

If you don’t already wear them when you wash dishes, you should. We had a writer pull them on every time she did the dishes for just one week — and that was enough time to get her hooked.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. Sponges are disgusting.

Okay, we kinda knew this already. But it was impossible to ignore this fact in 2017. The kitchen tends to be even grosser than our bathrooms and the worst offender is the humble sponge.

The Dirty Truth About Sponges

4. And we should stop microwaving them.

If you’re part of the camp that believes microwaving your kitchen sponge will kill all the bacteria, then Germany researchers had some bad news for you this year: While the microwave will terminate weaker bacteria, it has no effect on stronger species.

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5. But there’s hope!

There typically isn’t a lot of innovation in the sponge category, but in 2017, we wrote about some huge advancements and otherwise cool products.

Better Sponges and Storage Systems

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

6. It’s not hard to clean seemingly lost causes.

We’ve all been there: We’ve left something on the stove or in the oven for a little too long and then it happens — a pot or pan gets totally scorched. It’s not a lost cause! We have plenty of (very easy) ways to deal with the mess.

Tips for Cleaning Burnt-On Messes

(Image credit: Rachel Joy Barehl)

7. There’s no reason to panic over a giant pile of dishes.

Holidays and dinner parties generate a lot more dishes than a standard weeknight dinner. With our smart tips, though, it all becomes totally manageable.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

8. There’s one crucial step at the end of a dish-washing session.

Washing out your sink is just as important as washing the dishes themselves. Here’s why, how to do it, and a few other pointers.

Get Cleaning

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

9. You’ve really gotta make sure your dishes are dry before you put them away.

This seems like an easy step, but too often we shove dishes back into our cabinets with a little bit of moisture hanging out in there. Just once is not a big deal, but if you do it too frequently, moisture can drip into your cabinets, warping the material and creating mildew, too. At the very least, that water will evaporate and leave behind a water spot or little pool of residue in your dishes. Not pretty when you pull them out the next time!

10. We found a dish towel to help with the drying.

We always support letting dishes air dry (the path of least resistance, right?). If you do need to dry them by hand, though, you might have a hard time finding a dish towel that’s cute enough to leave out yet is actually absorbent (ahem, not you, tea towels!). Not anymore!