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With cooking comes clean up. I’m afraid that’s just a law of nature.


Around here I cook and I wash all of the dishes. Not because my husband isn’t willing to do them. He just doesn’t finish work until late almost every evening, and I’d rather have down time to hang out with him. By the time he would be washing the dishes, I’d be sitting on the couch waiting for him. It’s my choice. I also look at it as part of my ‘job’ in our relationship.


Plus, I’m good at washing dishes. I’m fast, and thorough, and it’s not stressful.


Here’s a mental tip I use: Don’t make up a story in your head about washing the dishes. (Oh, there’s so much, its so hard… I shouldn’t have to do them…) That’s what makes it hard.


There are just dishes in the sink. And I just wash them. Period. No story.


Usually I start with the easiest, because that clears out the majority of the pile quickly, and finish with the toughest pots and pans- which also allows them to soak a bit longer. (Sometimes I soak the worst overnight, but generally I don’t like to have dishes to do in the morning.) Even the biggest piles of dirty dishes after a party take no more than 20 minutes. And then I’m done and onto other things.



Regardless of who does the dishes in your house, here are a few tips to make it at lot easier...



• Always soak dishes that you are done using but aren’t ready to wash. Even a little water on plates or in cereal bowls makes the clean up SO much easier. Drop silverware in a bowl or glass, put some water in the pan you just finished using. Even the glass you used for OJ needs water in it to prevent the pulp from sticking. Everything gets a little water in it or a quick rinse (even just cold water). Feel free to add a little liquid dishsoap to make washing up later even easier.


Ask your family members to pitch in on this.


• For tough pots and pans with baked on food and grease: Fill with hot water and a small amount of dishwashing machine detergent. (About 2 tablespoons for a big and very dirty pan.) Let soak for at least 15 minutes, and up to overnight. When you’re ready to attack it, use a tool like a spatula, or your fingers, to scrape off as much of the baked-on food as you can. Then finish washing. It will be 1000 times easier. You’ll see :)


• Soaking with dishwashing machine detergent is also a great way to degrease plastic storage containers. It gets all off the oily mess off easily. (Baking soda powder works well too. Not quite the same, but pretty darned effective.)





• A note on cleaning up after cooking eggs: This is the one case where you do not want to use hot water. As soon as you finish with a pan that you used for cooking eggs, fill it with cool water to soak. Hot water will continue to bake the eggs onto the pan. You can also use the dishwashing machine powder tip (above) with cool to warm water.



Even when I don’t have a dishwashing machine (we have moved a lot, and lived in many house remodels, so I’d say the majority of time I do not have one), I still keep some dishwashing detergent on hand...


That's because it doubles as an excellent STAIN REMOVER.


I have discovered that it will get blood and red wine stains out of fabric of any kind. (I even got old cat blood out of our porch cushions).


It will remove yellow armpit and neckline stains from clothing.


It also works as an all-purpose stain remover on white or colored clothing.


How to use dishwasher machine powder as a stain remover: Put a little of the dishwashing machine powder over the stain, add a little warm water and rub into the fabric. Let rest, add a little more water and work in some more. Rest again. The granules probably will not totally dissolve. That’s okay. The rest time is important for the soap to do it’s work.


Shake off the excess powder and rinse out the soap. (With something solid, like a mattress, add clean water to rinse and then blot it out thoroughly with a thick dry towel). Repeat as needed.


For clothing that will be going in the laundry machine anyway, I put the powder on the stain, add a little warm water, rub it in (fold part of the fabric over the stain and rub into itself), maybe repeat one more time, then just roll it up (with the extra loose powder inside) and put in the laundry basket for the next load.


99% of the time the stain comes out in the wash the first time. The earlier you treat the stains the better, but you can often still get old stains out with extra elbow-grease.


Note: I always use the powdered soap because many liquid dishwashing machine soaps have bleach in them. I have never had the powdered type bleach any type of color or fabric, though you might want to do a test first.


Of course, you might have a spot-treating, super duper stain remover already. Here in Argentina they aren’t available. But dishwashing machine detergent IS available in most countries. (Even when we were in the US, I never did find a product that removed the old yellow stains from whites.)


And those are my dish washing and stain removal tips for today!







To ask questions or share your own tips, please click here. (To use the comments section on the original blog post.)

How to Make Washing Dishes Painless (Plus, A Stain Removal Tip)