5 simple tips for getting dishes done


I love cooking and baking and pretty much everything related to that, EXCEPT doing the dishes. Does anyone love washing dishes? Sometimes it can be relaxing. But more than anything it’s a chore that can’t be ignored.

When I was a kid (and even teenager and young adult), I wasn’t always the best about doing the dishes. My mom was not happy about that. She had to remind me to clear my plate from the table. I would sometimes rather do homework that wasn’t due soon instead of do the dishes. And that was back when I lived in a home with a dishwasher.

Now I live in an apartment with my boyfriend without a dishwasher. It’s a pretty different situation from living in a house with at least three other people and a dishwasher. Since I’m home more often than my boyfriend, I’m the one that dirties up most of the dishes. So I feel like it’s my responsibility to wash a lot of them too. I also lived in an apartment with three female roommates and no dishwasher for a year in college, so then I was responsible for all my own dishes too.

Long story short, I’m no longer a terrible procrastinator when it comes to washing dishes. I have a few loosely-held rules for myself when it comes to doing dishes that makes getting to an empty sink so much easier.

1. Think of productivity games

If I’m being super lazy, I’ll tell myself I just need to wash 5 dishes. I usually end up washing more. Maybe that’s dumb. But it’s similar to another productivity tip that I’ve heard somewhere before. Tell yourself that you just need to write 300 words and you might end up with 600 once you get going.

If I have dishes in my sink in the morning from the night before, I’ll wash them while I wait for the hot water for my coffee to finish heating up. Then I’m focused on washing as many dishes as possible before the kettle whistles.

2. Fill up the dish rack

Honestly, sometimes I just fill up the dish rack on the left side of my sink with clean dishes and get back to the rest later.

If you have a dishwasher, this could mean filling up the dishwasher but putting off emptying it until you have more free time or feel up to it.

3. Wash similar items together

Working in food service, I’ve noticed kitchen staffers do this. It can be a timesaver. I’m not crazy about sorting all the dirty dishes because there usually isn’t a huge pile in my sink. But I do find that washing all the silverware together is a little bit of a timesaver.

4. Use the right tools

Time helps. Let greasy things soak. Most of the time I use a sponge with dish soap, but sometimes I’ll use a stainless steel scrub for pans. I’ll also use baking soda to get smells out and vinegar to get colors out. Baking soda and vinegar together can help get grease off my stainless steel kettle.

The following tip comes from my sister Katie: Heat up saucepans with soapy water and scrape the bottoms to get gunk off.

5. Start right after a meal

I try to wash all dishes in my sink right after a meal, whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time. If I’m cooking or baking, I’ll try and wash in between preparing the dish too.

I have to start right away because if I just tell myself I’ll take a half hour break to watch TV, it’s harder to get back to the kitchen and wash dishes later.

Maybe you’re not as lazy as me about washing dishes, but I hope these tips help you to get to an empty sink every day any how.

One thought on “5 simple tips for getting dishes done

  1. When I have pots with food stuck on them, I put water and some white vinegar in them and then let that boil on the stove for awhile. Works every time. The first time I did it was with burned caramel. It was amazing.

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