Professional cleaners reveal their top tips for washing dishes – cut your chore time in half

Experts share their best tips to help you wash your dishes more effectively

Three images of kitchen sinks
(Image credit: Future / Dan Duchars / Davide Lovatti / Brent Darby Photography)

Washing up the dishes is usually done in two ways, either by hand or by using a dishwasher. Even though the idea of loading and unloading the dishwasher may seem an easy solution, there are a number of things you can try to improve the cleanliness and time spent on hand washing dirty dishes into clean.

Here, experts have explained how to wash dishes more easily, both by hand and with your dishwasher, so that this daily chore becomes less tedious.

How to make washing dishes easier 

There are several methods to make washing dishes easier and more efficient:

A kitchen sink with a marble backsplash and a chandelier

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

1. Preparation Is Key

The first step is to set up a designated area for washing dishes with all the necessary supplies within reach. This includes dish soap, a sponge or scrub brush, a drying rack or clean towel, and gloves if preferred. Organizing everything streamlines the process and is a great cleaning shortcut to save time.

Next, skip the pre-rinse. The best way to remove most food scraps is by using a quality dish scraper from Amazon. It saves you water while also decreasing the amount of grease being flushed through your drain, potentially clogging it. 

To maximize the space in your kitchen sink, Eliana Coca, owner of E.C. House Cleaning, suggests stacking the dishes after scraping. This also helps to maximize water flow when washing and prevents clogs in the drain and facilitates the cleaning process. 

2. Use Hot Water and Quality Dish Soap

Fill the sink with hot water and add a squirt of high-quality dish soap. Hot water helps dissolve grease and food residue more effectively, while a good dish soap creates plenty of suds for thorough cleaning.

High-quality cleaning products and tools will be able to do the job with maximum effectiveness while being gentle on your dishes and cookware. Choose eco-friendly products, such as the Method Dish Soap from Amazon, free from harsh chemicals that may leave residue or cause skin irritation.

Start with the less-soiled items such as glasses, cups, and utensils before moving on to plates, bowls, and cookware. If you are using your dishwasher to wash your dishes, use the hottest water your dishwasher can tolerate. This prevents cross-contamination and ensures cleaner items remain untouched until the end.

3. Adopt the "Wash, Rinse, Dry" Method

Ahmad Jamal, cleaning expert at CleanersAdvisor, recommends using a systematic approach like the "wash, rinse, dry" method. Wash each item thoroughly with soap and water, then rinse off any soap residue under running water before placing it in the drying rack or on a clean towel to air dry.

For heavily soiled dishes, especially pots and pans with baked-on food, you can also try pre-soaking them. Fill the dish or pan with hot, soapy water and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. This works so well because it actually helps loosen any messes stuck on the pan, which helps prevent gouging the pan when scrubbing later. 

Stubborn food stains or baked-on residue can also be tackled with scrubbing tools such as a nylon scrub brush or non-abrasive scrubbing pad. These tools provide extra scrubbing power without scratching delicate surfaces like glass or non-stick cookware. 

A kitchen utility room with a Belfast style sink in stone, and open shelving above

(Image credit: Nkuku)

4. Maintain Your Dishwasher

If you do use your dishwasher frequently to wash your dishes, make sure that you regularly clean your dishwasher to ensure the best results. This entails cleaning the filter after use, checking the spray arms to remove blockages, and running the dishwasher cleaning cycle with a specialist cleaner to remove the buildup of food bits and other debris. We like the Finish Dual Action Dishwasher Cleaner from Walmart. 

5. Consider Air-Drying

Although this might seem counterintuitive, drying your dishes in the air is more hygienic and efficient than using a dish towel. Bacteria love damp cloths, and if you continue to refold a damp towel (as people often do) then soon you will have an incubator for mold! 

Let your dishes dry in a clean dish rack. For flatware, a utensil caddy with drain holes, such as this Kitchen Utensils Drying Rack Basket from Amazon, is a great way to dry utensils while saving space. 


What is the most sanitary method of washing dishes?

If you are washing in a room that has two sinks, it is preferred that one of the sinks be used for washing the plates while the other sink is used for rinsing them with clean water after. 

Using two different sinks also makes washing and rinsing easy, as it avoids recontamination by soap or putting clean dishes back into dirty water.

Finally, make it part of your routine to wash the dishes immediately and not procrastinate. First, the dishes keep piling up, and when you see the huge mountain of dishes to wash, the task seems daunting. Second, the smell that accumulates due to unwashed dishes is unbearable after a day. 

Cleaning dishes straight away is a smarter decision instead of prolonging it as often you can be too busy to clean. Try listening to music while washing dishes so it becomes more of a relaxing activity. 

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.