How to keep up with the dishes! These dishwashing tips and tricks will help you get the dishes done quickly and efficiently…and maybe even make it fun.
Doing the dishes isn’t usually on the top of anyone’s list of favorite chores.
(If any such list has ever existed…)
But here’s a secret. Doing the dishes regularly is one of the easiest ways to make your house look tidy.
See, your home will always look messy if there’s a pile of dirty dishes in the sink…
…or on the counter
…and the kitchen table
…and also on the coffee table.
Not to mention that avoiding doing dishes may be actually costing you money.
How, you ask? Well, you might avoid cooking because you don’t want to do the dishes, so you overspend on restaurants and takeout.
To be honest, you’re just wasting time and energy when you procrastinate washing the dishes.
The niggling task weighs on you more than just taking care of it already.
So instead of chanting “I hate doing dishes” all the time, realize that it’s just a part of life that we have to deal with, and it’s SO much easier with a routine.
Let’s look at some ways you can make this chore more manageable, and less overwhelming.
With the system outlined below, it might only take 10 minutes a day to stay ahead of the piles – even if you don’t have a dishwasher.
Time yourself just once and you’ll see how little time it really takes!
(And it’ll be even less time when you don’t wait for it to pile up.)
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How to Keep Up With the Dishes
1. Take care of them right away
When you’re done eating or drinking, take every dish to the kitchen sink.
Always rinse them thoroughly. That’ll make sure nothing sticks, and will save lots of time and elbow grease later.
If you have a dish with really stuck-on food, put in some dish soap and fill it with hot water to let it soak.
You can keep a glass or bowl of soapy water in the sink to let dirty utensils soak until you can wash them.
2. Make it part of your routine
Turning a chore into a habit makes it so automatic that you don’t even think about it.
If you have a dishwasher, run it every night and empty it each morning.
That way you’ll start the day with an empty dishwasher that you can stick dirty dishes into all day long.
Your kitchen will always look clean!
Even if you don’t have a dishwasher, make it a goal that every night the sink is empty and ready for the next day.
Or choose a time of day that makes the most sense in your schedule.
If first thing in the morning doesn’t work for you to put away clean dishes, do it before bed, or right before you cook dinner.
(And seriously, time yourself. It probably only takes like 4 minutes!)
3. Use fewer dishes
The fewer dishes you dirty, the fewer you have to clean.
Ask everyone in your household to use the same cup all day, instead of always reaching for a new one.
Here are a few other ways to cut down on the dishes:
- Use paper plates for meals that aren’t too messy or juicy.
- Cook in your slow cooker (with a slow cooker liner!).
- Make one-pot meals or sheet pan suppers to reduce cooking vessels.
- Declutter your dishes to the bare minimum – that way you won’t be tempted to procrastinate washing them, since you’ll need to use them.
4. Use good dish cleaning supplies
Having the right tools for the job makes any task MUCH easier.
Here are the best dishwashing tools I’ve found:
- Dish brush – this pretty set might even make you WANT to do the dishes!
- Great-smelling dish soap
- Dishwasher pods – this kind works the best!
- Jet-Dry dishwasher rinse aid, so you don’t get spots
- Dishwashing gloves save your hands from drying out, plus they allow you to use really hot water.
- Foldable drying mat or dish drainer – I really love this minimalist-looking one!
5. Utilize others
Nothing says that dish-duty has to be entirely your responsibility.
If the other people in your house use dishes, and they’re physically able, they can certainly pitch in to help.
Assign tasks to specific family members.
Dishwashing chores can include:
- Clearing the table
- Drying dishes
- Putting clean dishes away
- Emptying the dish drainer or dishwasher
- Washing dishes or filling the dishwasher
Even young children can handle some of the tasks.
And yes, you may feel like a nag at first, having to remind everyone.
(Other people don’t notice or get bothered by messes like we do.)
But after a little while, it’ll become their habit of routine, and it’ll serve you AND them for life.
Related reading: 10 Chores Easy Enough for Your Kids To Do
6. Make washing dishes fun
Yep, it’s possible! This is how you motivate yourself to do the dishes.
Find ways to entertain and distract yourself while washing them.
Call a friend, watch YouTube videos or Instagram stories, or listen to music, a podcast or an audiobook.
Some bluetooth wireless earbuds make it feel like your own little getaway.
And this ‘distraction trick’ makes every kind of housework breeze by without much thought!
7. Change your attitude
A simple mindset shift can make SUCH a difference.
Instead of dreading doing the dishes, focus on appreciating the lack of dirty-dish-piles.
👉 Turn it into a habit and you won’t think about it.
Add it right into your morning and evening routine, and attach it to tasks you already do.
Here are some ways to sprinkle dish-doing into your day:
- While your coffee is brewing in the morning, unload the dish drainer.
- Wash a few dishes while you’re cooking dinner.
- When you’re letting the dog out after dinner, quickly wash or put away a few dishes.
Decide that you’re just not the type of person who goes to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes anymore.
8. Dishwashing tips and tricks
Want to learn more about doing dishes quickly and efficiently?
Well, dish-washing order actually matters.
Here’s the proper way to wash dishes!
Working from least to most dirty, wash them in this order:
- Glasses and mugs
- Plates and bowls
- Serving dishes
- Pots and pans
Ready to try these dishwashing hacks?
As you can see, there are actually some very simple ways to keep up with the dishes.
It’s simply a matter of creating a dishwashing schedule or routine that fits into your lifestyle…and implementing some new habits.
You’ll be doing ‘future you’ a huge favor by staying ahead of the piles, and working on it a little at a time throughout the day.
For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out:
- 10 Minute Chores: Cleaning Tasks To Do When You’re Short on Time
- Essential Oils for Cleaning: Everything You Need to Know!
- 12 Tricks to Motivate Yourself to Clean When You HATE Cleaning