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Washing the dishes is something many of us do every day. Some of us have done it for decades. It may seem like something we’re an expert in. But what if I told you that you were doing it wrong? There are several common bad habits and blunders that many of us pick up over the years.
Below are just some of the most common mistakes people make when washing up.
Using a grubby sponge
How often should you replace your kitchen sponge? Ideally, every day. Used sponges can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria including e coli and salmonella. This is bacteria that ends up being put back onto plates and cutlery every time you use the sponge. Some experts have recommended not using sponges at all because they’re such germ magnets. Brushes are typically much more hygienic, and could be worth switching to if you hand wash your dishes.
Not scraping off all food first
You should try to scrape off as much food as you can before rinsing and washing dishes. Not scraping off plates enough when hand washing eventually leads to a blocked sink, which you may need a local plumber to unblock. As for dishwashers, excess food can increase the risk of blockages here too, which may require an appliance specialist to repair.
Going overboard on the dish soap
Does your sink look like a bubbly bath after putting soap in? If so, you could be using too much washing up liquid. All those suds could result in streaky glassware that smells too heavily of soap. It’s better to use a small amount of dish soap so that dishes are cleaned without getting too soapy. Stick to one or two squirts.
Not letting pans soak
Letting pans soak in water can be useful for helping to soften burnt grease and stubborn food deposits. This can make scrubbing pans clean ultimately much easier. Not having to scrub as vigorously can also protect your pans from damage – constantly relying on steel wool will quickly cause your pans to become scratched up, while soaking may allow you to remove stubborn food deposits more easily with a brush or sponge. The best time to soak pans is immediately after you’ve finished using them.
Thinking hot water is always best
In many cases, hot water is the best way to clean dishes. But did you know there are times when it’s actually better to use cold water? When rinsing pans and dishes that contain deposits of dairy or starchy foods like mashed potato, you should avoid hot water, as this can actually cause deposits to become stickier and more stubborn. Cold water is better for loosening up these foods. Similarly when it comes to removing scorch marks from non-stick pan surfaces (such as ceramic) you could find that soaking pans in cold water overnight with some salt added is more effective than leaving them in hot water (although using hot water after soaking in cold water may help to remove some scorch marks).