It’s nice to unwind after a long day with a great meal – until we’re faced with the mountain of dirty dishes that our brief indulgence has brought about. Regardless of whether you prefer washing your dishes by hand or making use of a dishwasher, we can all agree that doing the dishes is a massive pain.
We do want to get our dishes done in the most efficient way possible, but which methods and hacks actually work? We asked 12 Singaporeans about how they get their washing-up done, and here’s what they had to say.
Soaking the dishes
Image adapted from: HowToBasic
“My go-to method for washing dishes is to wash them with soap and soak them for 3-5 minutes before rinsing them off. For tougher stains, I’d use more detergent or use a rougher sponge to make things easier.”
“Usually, I’ll leave the dishes to soak for about an hour before using a sponge on them. For pots and pans, we usually leave them soaking in soap water overnight, then use a sponge on them as usual.
The sponges I use are the standard ones you can get at FairPrice. We have a Scrub Daddy too, but it’s only used for tough stains like heavy sauces or burnt things that stick to the pot.”
Using a dishwasher
Image credit: @thewongestate
“We bought a Brandt dishwasher for about $700, as well as the Finish dishwasher tablets in bulk from Amazon, since they’re cheaper than the prices in SG.
We generally wipe down or rinse the dishes and cutlery a little before putting them in the dishwasher. Also, we only run it when it’s full.”
u/Raytrace on Reddit
“I usually stack dirty dishes in the sink. As my family members and I wash our hands in the sink, it soaks the dirty dishes. Once the dirt on the plates has been loosened, I’ll put the plates in the dishwasher. This way, no additional water is used to rinse the dishes before loading them to the dishwasher.
If you don’t remove the dirt on the plates, they will dry up and the dishwasher may not be able to clean it properly. It’s the same thing as regular hand-washing.”
Ngl2010 on KiasuParents
Rinsing dishes beforehand
Image adapted from: K dishes
“I think I just wash fast in general, but I typically rinse the dishes beforehand so it’s easier to clean them when you apply soap.
I soap up the glasses and mugs first since there’s usually no oil and fewer stains, followed by cutlery and plates.
Then, I’ll rinse the glasses and cups first. The dishes will be underneath so the water can kind of pre-rinse them, and then I’ll rinse the cutlery and plates.”
“To be honest, rinsing and washing the dishes while you cook is the best way to get them done fast. I have a dishwasher, and each cycle takes roughly an hour. That’s not the most time-efficient option, and neither is soaking items. Instead, you can just spray the food bits off first.
It has been a super long time since I dealt with tougher stains. But the last time I had to do this for a dirty pan, I used a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda and heated it in the pan to get rid of the stains quickly.”
Cleaning up grease and stains before washing
Image adapted from: Our Oily House
“If there are grease stains on my plates, I’d wipe them off with a napkin before washing. If I’m dealing with stains like stubborn food remnants, I’d soak my cutlery in water for a few minutes to loosen them first before washing.
I also throw out any leftover food on my dishes before placing them in the sink to make washing easier, and avoid clogging up my sink.”
“I use warm water to wash my dishes, and for food remnants stuck on my bowls, I try to use a blunt spoon to scrape them off and prevent any accidental scratches on them.
For sauces, I use a damp hand towel or a simple sponge to rub it off before washing.”
Doing multiple dishes all at once
Image adapted from: 아지Aji살림_Housewife Story
“For oily pots and pans, I use a paper towel to wipe down all the grease, and then soak the plates in soapy water while I eat. After I’m done eating, I just wash the dishes.
I also prefer scrubbing all the plates and bowls at once with soap and a sponge, and then rinse them with water. I find it faster and more efficient than just doing it one item at a time.”
“I tend to start washing small items like cutlery first, and then move on to larger items in this order – cups, small plates, big plates, and finally cookware. Each piece will be rinsed, then soaped, then rinsed again before being stacked on the drying rack.
For burnt stuff or sticky stuff on pans, I’ll just soak them overnight, or about half a day. If it’s greasy, I rinse it with hot water for a few minutes before washing.”
“If there are a lot of dishes, it’s better to fill up the basin with soapy water, roughly soap and clean everything first before draining the water or rinsing them.
If you don’t have that many dishes to do, just wash them under running water. I feel that it’s more efficient and water-saving to soap everything according to size, from the largest item first and smallest item last.
When rinsing, the excess water from the top wash is not wasted as the running water rinses items at the bottom of the sink.”
Ethan_ on Hardware Zone
Using a Scrub Mommy/Daddy
Image credit: TheSmartLocal
“For washing dishes, I use a Scrub Mommy. It has a soft sponge and a gently abrasive harder side that’s good for scrubbing stuff off non-stick pans. I also use my Scrub Mommy for tougher stains or let them sit overnight, and then clean them off with a baking soda and vinegar solution.”
We ask: What is the best way to wash dishes fast
While having to do the dishes is inevitable, there are always tricks and hacks that can make things a lot easier and efficient. For Asians so deep-set in the ways of handwashing, it may come as a shock that using a dishwasher is, in fact, more resource-efficient than traditional hand washing.
But with that being said, they do come at a hefty cost and require regular maintenance to ensure they’re functioning optimally. If you’re Team Dishwasher, here are some tips to note to save you both water and electricity:
- Use your dishwasher’s pre-rinse function instead of rinsing dishes manually
- Only run your dishwasher when it’s full
- Run it on a lower heat setting
- Let your dishes air dry
Image credit: Degruyter
As for those who may prefer sticking with the good old hand washing method, scientists have indeed found a better way to get the job done. Instead of washing dishes under running water, the best way ultimately is wash the dishes in a sink filled with hot soapy water before rinsing them all at one shot.
All in all, dishwashing doesn’t have to be as painful as we frequently make it out to be. It’s crucial to find a method that works for you, and doing so can greatly alleviate that lingering sense of dread that comes with giving our dishes a good wash.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Read more of our articles here:
- We Ask: How often do Singaporeans do household chores
- We Ask: Singaporeans’ no-regret HDB decisions
- Singaporeans’ favourite cookwares
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