7 Dishwashing dos and don'ts
These handy kitchen tips will take you beyond washing, rinsing and drying -- and will take your dishes to a whole new level of sparkle.
7 Dishwashing dos:
- Take immediate action after a meal. Food that's left to linger will only dry and make cleaning more difficult. Also, wash ceramic ware right after use to avoid staining that is often caused by coffee, tea and acidic foods.
- Separate and sort dishes before loading them into the dishwasher or sink. A little organization will go a long way in terms of saving you time and space during kitchen clean-ups.
- Use the hottest water available. This is especially important for dried-on food removal and sanitation, as well as for properly melting dishwashing detergent.
- Leave space between items in the dishwasher or drainer.
- Clean your sink each time you clean your dishes.
- Use a rinse aid. It helps to relieve dishes of pesky water spots and allows them to dry quickly.
- Clean your dishwasher regularly. Tiny bits of food, grease and (gasp!) soap scum can build up in dishwashers and can cause an odor and unsavory appearance.
7 Dishwashing don'ts:
- Overload the sink or dishwasher. When you do, your dishes just will not get as clean as if they had the appropriate amount of space between one another. However, do run only full loads of dishes -- partial loads waste water.
- Speaking of conserving water, don't pre-rinse your dishes before loading. Even though this may go against every dishwashing bone in your body, pre-rinsing does more harm than good. It wastes water and may make the actual dishwashing cycle less effective. Detergent is made to attack food particles, and if they are gone, it may cause chips and cracks in your dishes instead!
- Wash your pans or knives in the dishwasher. Knives may become dull and pans may chip and lose their non-stick coating. Also avoid washing wood, cast iron, crystal or anything hand painted in the dishwasher.
- Leave wet cloths or sponges in or around the sink. They harbor bacteria and make your cleaning area unsanitary.
- Use too much detergent. In this case, more is not better because too much detergent can leave behind residue.
- Place sharp objects in the dishwasher with the pointy side facing up. This is a common sense practice that ensures you put safety first!
- Use the garbage disposal in place of the garbage can. Throwing too much down the drain can cause clogs and will result in a plumber visiting your home. Common clogging culprits are coffee filters, tea bags, shrimp shells, potato peels, egg shells, grease, cooked rice, banana peels and meat bones.