Your Best Tricks for Making Dish Duty Easier and More Fun

published Feb 23, 2018
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Doing the dishes falls somewhere between death and taxes in the realm of life’s certainties: Whether you’re eating cereal out of a bowl or making a gourmet meal, someone’s going to have to clean those dishes up! So the real question is, does it have to be such a slog?

We reached out to our readers on Facebook to get their best tricks for doing the dishes faster and making the process easier — here’s what you suggested.

1. Clean as you go.

“Clean as you go. Take care of the dishes as you cook and clean up behind yourself. It makes it less overwhelming.” Jean Staines

“I wash as I cook. I’m even washing pots and pans right after I plate the food sometimes. When dinner is over, all I have left are plates and flatware.” Toya Ann

“When cooking fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash as you go. It will leave you only with dinner plates and cutlery to wash.” Jen Wren

“Dinner can wait, wash those pans! Only soak what really needs to soak.” Susanne S ODonnell

“Clean up as you cook. Don’t wait until you have a huge mess to clean.” Denise Sarago

“Fill your sink or dishpan with hot-hot water and lots of detergent and as you cook, toss in the pans, utensils, etc. you are finished using. By the time you have finished eating, the pans will have soaked themselves clean and need very little effort.” Stephaney Marie Grooms

2. Harness the power of water.

“Find a dishpan that fits in your sink and fill it with soapy water. Throw things in the dishpan as you cook and wash them as you go if you have a recipe that allows a few spare moments.” Mary O’Brien

“Give EVERYTHING a quick rinse as soon as you’re done using it to keep it from drying out and becoming a nuisance.” Yunus Soleman

“I keep an old plastic coffee can sitting on the sink ledge filled with soapy water to soak all silverware. It keeps residue soft and easier to clean.” Judith Hodgett

“Use your hand sprayer to rinse dishes off in the draining rack, a half dozen at a time. Much more efficient than rinsing individual pieces.”Christian Cavanaugh

3. Wash your dishes by type.

“Always pre-sort and stack before you start washing up. Makes a huge difference.” Margo Steve

“Organize them (glasses, cutlery, plates etc) beforehand and wash in order (always the glasses first).” Stellouni Mantik

“When I group all the dirty stuff (cutlery, cups, plates, cookware) it seems like I’ve got only got four things to do.” Iuliia Kotliar

“Do the hand wash dishes before you load the dishwasher, you’re less tempted to leave them to do ‘later.'” Colleen Patterson

“I sort everything out on the counter in order of how it will stack in the drainer. I place flatware and dishes in the sink as it fills with hot, soapy water. Next are glasses and cups, followed by the coffee pot, lid, and filter. Bowls are next, then pots and pans. Once I get started, one segment follows the next, and before you know it, I’m wiping the counters and table.” Marcia Wilwerding

4. Don’t let the sink be a black hole.

“I take the utensil holder out of the dishwasher and set it on the back of the sink between running the dishwasher so everyone can load it up, then I just set it in and wash.” Tricia Ryan

“My mantra with my (now adult) children was, ‘Don’t put it down, put it away.'” Nancy J. McManus

“Skip the sink, rinse and put your dirty dishes straight in the dishwasher. Run it every night, unload every morning.” —Amanda Buco

5. Get a good scrubber.

“I use a Dobie scrubber … it gets absolutely everything off but is safe for Silverstone” Lee Plowfield Cope

“Use Japanese scrubbers made from sanding belts and Scotch Brite pads.” Shawn Hampton

“Baking soda is great for getting stuck on gook off. It also helps cut excess grease for the days when your roommate buys the cheapest dish soap on the market.” Jennifer Tarin

“I love Norwex dish cloths. Gets stuff unstuck so easily and it doesn’t stink!” Sarah Clark

6. Work as a team.

“My grandparents always did this chore together. Grandpa washed and grandma dried and put them away. It’s a pleasant memory of them sharing the load.” Lesley Rush

“I wash, my husband wipes and we are done in no time.” Joyce Biscoe

“I teach everyone in the family to scrape, rinse, and stack dirty dishes.” Kelly Schlicht

“We share duties. Whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean. However, when I cook, I make an effort to clean as I go.” Lora Bullard Rimpel

7. Try to use fewer dishes.

“I eat in the bowl I prep my salad in. When I have pizza, I eat it off the cutting board. When I have hot tea, I rinse the cup and drink water from it.” — Meliza Mely Reza

“I use the same spoon to eat yogurt, stir my coffee, etc. Eating off napkins if it’s something small, like a cookie or brownie. Every bit helps!” — Lauren Doyle

8. Just get going.

“Don’t wait … Just do it!!! The longer you wait the more pile up!” — Elaine Wruck

“I remind myself that it really only takes 15 to 20 minutes to clean the kitchen and I will feel better about after I am done.” — Ronda Skozen

“Just do it, don’t let them pile up.” — Christie Goza Ivey

9. Treat yourself while you do it.

“Listen to an audio book! Before you know it, the dishes will be clean, counters sanitized if it’s a really good action book.” — Janyth Glendening

“Play music while you do them and either sing along or shake your booty, baby!” — Barbara Dell

“Time flies when you’re listening to a podcast and love the smell of your dish soap.” — Sydney Antonides-Stokes

“I prop the iPad up and watch mindless shows.” — Caroline Everett

“Netflix! I watch shows nobody in my family will watch with me.” — Sarah Clark

“I catch up on my Insta stories. I press play and just let them run!” — Brittany Rivers

“I like to use a dish soap that smells really nice, like aromatherapy. Mrs. Meyers never fails me.” — Anjie Hill

“Pour yourself a glass of wine or favorite beverage before starting.” — Jessica Clevenger

10. Use it as down time.

“Treat it like a meditation: be in the now and it’s not so bad.” — Anje de Knijf

“Turn off your brain and just do it. It’s the most relaxing way to spend time.” — Jacque Simcock

“I just zone out as I wash, especially if I’m stressed or annoyed about something, it’s calming.” — Leslie Heath

“Use the time for reflecting on your day or planning for the next day.” — Kelly Damude

Do you have any tips to add?