Washing Dishes

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Washing Dishes

Postby Jon Peterson » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:49 pm

If you have the occasion to wash dishes, (i.e.: Maid's day off) do you first fill the sink with water or not? I had a college roommate who always did and I'd argue that it was a waste of water. Over Thanksgiving, a guest did the same after dinner, but I didn't say anything except "Thank you" when she was done (later I redid the wine glasses, BTW).
I spray all the dishes to get them wet, wash them and rinse them. I don't see the point of submerging them in a sinkful of water first.
This isn't a big deal, unless, maybe, you're on well water and you've run out of water in the past; but I'm wondering what most people do and why.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:33 pm

My wife likes to do it under the assumption that it saves water. Which is probably true compared to the running stream I use when washing dishes.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:33 pm

Normal dishes get rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Pots, pans, utensils, etc., are hand-cleaned individually. I see no reason to expect dishes to come clean out of a sink of water with debris mixed into it, even if the suds-makers claim that the grease will be held in suspension. (I don't see real grease-cutting with dishwasher soap unless the stuff is used full-strength; a suitable application of elbow-grease is always required.)
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:04 pm

What does not go into the dishwasher gets individually washed in the sink without submersion.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Fred Sipe » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:04 pm

I despise the thought of washing dirty dishes in a sink full of water that contains even the smallest amount of food waste and particularly anything oily or greasy.

I waste a ton of water because I rinse each and every item thoroughly clean under hot running water first and stack them on the counter for washing.

Then the silverware and glasses go into the sink full of clean hot soapy water. Wash & rinse all the glasses and put them into the drainer. Then dishes into the sink. Wash all stacking in the other side of the sink and when all done the stack goes back into the dish water.

Then dry the glasses. Then rinse the already washed dishes and into the drainer.

Then the silverware. Then pots and pans, etc.

I'm very anal and the dishes are very clean!
Last edited by Fred Sipe on Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:24 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:I despise the thought of washing dirty dishes in a sink full of water that contains even the smallest amount of food waste and particularly anything oily or greasy.

I waste a ton of water because I rinse each and every item thoroughly clean under hot running water first and stack them on the counter for washing.

Then the silverware and glasses go into the sink full of clean hot soapy water. Wash all the glasses and put them into the drainer. Then dishes into the sink. Wash all stacking in the other side of the sink and when all done the stack goes back into the dish water.

Then dry the glasses. Then rinse the already washed dishes and into the drainer.

Then the silverware. Then pots and pans, etc.

I'm very anal and the dishes are very clean!


I couldn't live with you. :)


I'm about halfway between you and Rahsaan's wife, though. Not a fan of the sink full of soapy water. However, when I lived in Europe, one kind of had to do it that way since a sink was one basin, and relatively smallish at that. A smaller rubber basin was then put inside the sink to hold enough strong soapy water to clean each dish, was stacked in the rest of the sink awaiting a group rinse. Fairly efficient, considering the limitations.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:10 pm

Our new kitchen has a dishwasher, but we've never had one, so we haven't really got in the habit of using this one. It seems kind of silly for just two.

As for washing, I think both Mary and I share the feeling of "eeuuuwww, a sink full of grungy dishwater with food particles in it." I let the water run while I'm washing, figuring that we have a very large river just a few miles north that gives us an almost endless supply. :P I don't organize or dry, though. Just wash 'em as I come to 'em and then drain them in the drying rack.

Now, a secondary poll: I try to keep up with the dishes while I'm cooking rather than let them all pile up, and this seems to work pretty well except for meals when a lot of parts have to come together at the very end. I try to avoid planning meals like that. :lol: I'm quite happy when I finish dinner and the only dishes left to wash are the plates and utensils we used for the meal. Do any of the rest of you do this?
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Thomas » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:12 am

A sink full of water--no way.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:06 am

Hoo boy, you've hit on one of the few areas of discord between my spouse and me with this one. She is an ardent believer that one always fills the sink with water and soap, throws all of the dishes in without pre-rinse, and then scrubs and rinses them from there. That's how her mother did it and that's the only correct method, in her mind. I, on the other hand, am appalled by looking at dishes sitting in a sink full of greasy water with everything from limp vegetables to cat food floating in it. (It doesn't help that she rarely drains and cleans the sink, instead leaving it full of water that becomes cold, greasy water with stuff floating in it). I may go too far the other direction, as I almost never fill the sink and if I do, I pre-rinse everything before it gets in there. (I see it as being like a Japanese bath, where you want to clean yourself off before getting into the tub.) Mostly, I wash the dishes under a stream of very hot running water. The water must be as hot as possible. When I'm done with the dishes, I clean and scrub the sink, and I don't consider the job done until that part is complete. My wife believes that I waste water profligately by this method, but it's the only way I'm really comfortable with doing dishes. We're pretty much at an impasse with this, and neither of us brings it up, but I roll my eyes and grumble quietly when I get up in the morning to a sink full of icky water while she looks on disapprovingly as I wash dishes under a continuous stream. I read somewhere that the method I use is the one used by most Europeans, but that information has not changed her opinion.

And on Robin's question, I do my best to wash up as much as possible while cooking. If I have a few spare moments, I'll wash some pots or pans or empty the dish rack. My wife generally does not do this, preferring to throw everything in the sink until she's finished with whatever she's making.

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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Peter May » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:11 am

Robin Garr wrote:Our new kitchen has a dishwasher, but we've never had one, so we haven't really got in the habit of using this one. It seems kind of silly for just two.


Never had one? Are you sure you're American? :) I'm wondering 'cos wasn't that a teensy weensy European Smart car in your snow photograph and everyone knows real Americans drive huge cars. :)

We had a dishwasher for the first time in 70s in rented apartment near Philadelphia and when we got home went and bought one - they weren't common in England then, but are now. Never been without one since.

You don't use it after every meal when there's two of you, just put your dirty stuff in it until its full or you run out of clean dishes then switch it on
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Redwinger » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:44 am

Everything, especially smaller items such as plates, cups, get scaped, rinsed and put in the dishwasher. For all the other stuff, it is rinsed and washed individually. Never, or hardly ever, a full sink, unless it is non-greasy mixing bowls and assorted debris from a mega-baking session. My Mom always filled the sink with soapy water and I found the resulting mess repulsive.
Being on a septic system, we are pretty careful with putting any food scraps or plate carnage down the drain. All residue goes into the trash, not the drain.
Like Robin, we're also a clean-as-u-go family, so large stacks of dirty dishes are the exception
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:59 am

Peter May wrote:Are you sure you're American? :) I'm wondering 'cos wasn't that a teensy weensy European Smart car in your snow photograph and everyone knows real Americans drive huge cars. :)

Leftie/progressive/NPR-listening American residing in a "blue" urban neighborhood. It makes a difference. 8)
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Redwinger » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:04 am

Robin Garr wrote:
Peter May wrote:Are you sure you're American? :) I'm wondering 'cos wasn't that a teensy weensy European Smart car in your snow photograph and everyone knows real Americans drive huge cars. :)

Leftie/progressive/NPR-listening American residing in a "blue" urban neighborhood. It makes a difference. 8)


Everyone knows REAL American's don't drive huge cars. We drive huge 4WD pick-up trucks. Ferriners! :twisted:
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Thomas » Mon Dec 09, 2013 12:30 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:
And on Robin's question, I do my best to wash up as much as possible while cooking. If I have a few spare moments, I'll wash some pots or pans or empty the dish rack. My wife generally does not do this, preferring to throw everything in the sink until she's finished with whatever she's making.


I also try to clean up as I cook, but you'll never get my wife to admit that. She figures that if I leave just one time I did not clean up the others. It's her personal logic.

We have a dishwasher, and we use it for most things, but some items simply aren't allowed in there; when we wash those items, it's under running hot water, for the same reason you give regrading a sink full of what looks like the calm ending of a violent storm, complete with cholera...
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Karen/NoCA » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:57 pm

Gene rinses all the dishes, pots, pans, utensils. Dishes and glasses go into the dish washer along with utensils. Pots, pans, and anything else that cannot go into dish washer is done by hand, I dry and put away. If I am doing a lot of cooking he is also my sou chef, washing, drying and putting away as I cook. Sink is never left dirty either, and the counters are cleaned. Since we have a huge glass table in our kitchen, he cleans that too. I take care of the stove, if there is a mess. We both agree on our method. :D
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:18 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Peter May wrote:Are you sure you're American? :) I'm wondering 'cos wasn't that a teensy weensy European Smart car in your snow photograph and everyone knows real Americans drive huge cars. :)

Leftie/progressive/NPR-listening American residing in a "blue" urban neighborhood. It makes a difference. 8)


As I'm fond of saying to my European relations, Robin, we live in the other America! :D

Mark Lipton

p.s. We use a dishwasher just as Peter describes it: gradually fill it up with dishes, rinsing periodically. Now, with a growing child in the house, I'm running the dishwasher almost daily.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:21 pm

Apropos of this, for those of you with dishwashers: what items don't go in? I hand wash our larger wine glasses, knives and pots and pans (anodized aluminum exterior doesn't tolerate dishwashers).

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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Thomas » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:12 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Apropos of this, for those of you with dishwashers: what items don't go in? I hand wash our larger wine glasses, knives and pots and pans (anodized aluminum exterior doesn't tolerate dishwashers).

Mark Lipton


If I were you, I'd stop putting that growing child in the dishwasher...oh, I misunderstood your other post. :wink:
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Thomas » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:14 pm

Thomas wrote:
Mark Lipton wrote:Apropos of this, for those of you with dishwashers: what items don't go in? I hand wash our larger wine glasses, knives and pots and pans (anodized aluminum exterior doesn't tolerate dishwashers).

Mark Lipton


If I were you, I'd stop putting that growing child in the dishwasher...oh, I misunderstood your other post. :wink:


I put some of the stainless pots in--if they fit--and I don't put the wine glasses, most knives (because of the handles of wood or plastic; I have a fear of plastic leaching out and killing me...) and a few other items that I notice rust in there.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jenise » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:06 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Apropos of this, for those of you with dishwashers: what items don't go in? I hand wash our larger wine glasses, knives and pots and pans (anodized aluminum exterior doesn't tolerate dishwashers).

Mark Lipton


No knives, no skillets (because they're 'seasoned'). But most of what we use daily does go in--some pots yes if there's room,, including wine glasses. They don't break or etch, and we've gravitated toward stemware with shorter stems that fit and/or clean well when tilted.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jon Peterson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:10 pm

Appears that most here do not use a sink full of water so I feel in the majority. I do not, however, let the water run as I'm washing. I get everything wet with hot water, then sponge wash a few dishes, setting them aside until I'm ready to rinse them. Then I do it all over again with the next few items. I do rinse pretty thoroughly with hot, hot water.
I just wanted to inform you that I find you to be very attractive. Thank you and have a nice day.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:37 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Apropos of this, for those of you with dishwashers: what items don't go in?


Pots and pans (mostly because they don't fit in my doll-house-sized dishwasher).
Good knives (e.g., Sabatier, Wusthof).
Good wine glasses (e.g., wine geek stems, not household goblets).

That's about it. I'm fine to wash wood, plastic, metal, china, stoneware....
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby wnissen » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:45 pm

Please pardon the math. A typical kitchen faucet with an aerator produces about 2 gallons / 8 liters a minute. Assuming your water comes out of the ground at 55F / 13C and leaves the heater at 120F / 50C, that's about 1000 Btu / minute. A 2000 sq. ft. / 185 sq. m house furnace also uses about 1000 Btu / minute. It doesn't seem like it, but if you let it run that faucet over the kitchen sink is using enough energy to heat the whole house. Even a low-flow showerhead is, too.

The energy intensiveness of hot water means that I only use what I need to get the dishes clean. Dish detergent does work better at higher temperature, so I fill the bottom of the "wash" sink with about an inch of warm water. Then, still over the wash sink, I rinse the first few pieces under more warm water to bring the level up. Finally, I switch the faucet over to the rinse sink and use cold water to rinse the remaining dishes. No "pre-rinsing".

The other surprise is that modern dishwashers are nearly as efficient as doing them by hand. They spray a small amount of water into the tub and re-circulate it until it's completely dirty. They drain and repeat, successively, only as many cycles as necessary. They are similarly efficient at rinsing. Consumer Reports recommended Cascade with Dawn detergent packs, and they are very effective (do not get the ones with rinse aid, like combination shampoo/conditioner, those don't work as well). I will knock off larger pieces of food but don't scrape or rinse. Even when the plates have scrambled egg on them. The only exception is items that will spoil and create an odor, such as milk or broccoli. Since our Bosch (which we adore and was only $500) does not have an exposed heating coil, we put pretty much everything in it, on any shelf. I only end up hand-washing knives, aluminum, larger items like pans or cutting boards, and the occasional piece of crystal.
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Re: Washing Dishes

Postby Jon Peterson » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:48 pm

wnissen wrote:Please pardon the math.


No pardon necessary, I love the math. I wish I had a double sink, too!
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