Dinner dishes are a fact of life. And since it comes at the end of a busy day, pretty much no one looks forward to it. At least I don’t look forward to it.
Here are some ways to make the process easier and more enjoyable. The practical and the sublime. I’ll let you decide which is which.
1. Work with your spouse.
Tag teaming dish duty not only makes it faster, but gives you a chance to catch up with each other. Kids tend to clear out when it’s clean up time, leaving you to have nearly uninterrupted conversation.
2. Make the kids do it.
Then go read a book or watch a favorite show.
3. Try to start dinner with an empty dishwasher.
Easier said than done sometimes, but having the dishwasher ready to load is a huge help.
4. Wash as you cook.
Start dinner prep by running a sink of hot, soapy water. Then quickly wash things as you go.
5. Use all cotton towels for drying dishes.
They absorb better than other materials.
6. Knit your own dishcloths.
Patterns can be found on MomAdvice. Or buy some pretty ones off Etsy.
7. Get a good scrubby.
My favorite is this yellow smiley face scrubby from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
8. Buy a pot scraper.
Pampered Chef sells these little gems, but you can also get them on Amazon.
9. Consider using a crockpot liner.
Scrub free slow cooking is pretty nice.
10. Buy nice smelling dish soap.
I love Mrs. Meyers for scent.
11. Use hard working dish soap.
But you can’t beat the way Dawn works.
12. Put on some happy music.
If you don’t own much music, try Pandora or Spotify.
13. Listen to a podcast.
My current favorites:
14. Listen to an audiobook.
15. Call a friend.
Use a headset with your phone or some other kind of hands-free device.
16. Buy a cushioned mat for in front of your sink.
17. Use a nice smelling counter spray to finish up.
Mrs. Meyer’s in Lemon Verbena is my favorite. It makes the counters shine and smell good too.
18. Enjoy the process.
This might sound a bit crazy, but when I stop and think about what I’m doing and take time to enjoy the warm water and good smelling suds, the dishes aren’t so bad.
19. Relish the quiet time.
Think over your day. Ponder at least three things you’re grateful for today. Think of things you’re looking forward to tomorrow.
As you clean up and load the dishwasher, pray for each person who ate at the table that night. I do this with laundry sometimes, praying for each family member as I fold their clothes.
21. Rinse dishes with hot water, but rinse the suds down the sink with cold water.
A hot water rinse will help your dishes dry better, whether you towel dry or air dry.
But when you’re all done and trying to rinse the suds down the drain, switch to cold water. Detergents are designed to suds up in hot water, so cold will help them deflate and rinse away.
22. Find a dish drainer or drying mat you like.
Whether it’s a dish drainer that sits on the counter next to the sink, a small one that sits in the sink or a cloth drying mat, make some kind of place to put the dishes after you wash and rinse them. As much as we’d like for everything to go in the dishwasher, the reality is that some things have to be hand washed.
Currently, we use a dish drying mat that hangs on a hook under the sink when not in use.
23. Store silverware, plates and glasses near the dishwasher and sink.
This makes putting away clean dishes much easier.
24. Keep your counters clear.
Counter top triage is a constant in our house and we have one spot that seems to catch everything. But try keeping the counters clear of small appliances, pretty decor and other things. You’ll have more work space. And it’s a lot easier to clean when you don’t have to clean around things.