How Do You Wash Your Dishes?

Just curious as to how everyone washes their dishes if you don't use the dishwasher

This is what I personally do:

Rinse the plate
Put detergent on a washing sponge
Clean the plate with the washing sponge
Rinse the plate
Leave it to dry on the drying rack before putting it away

My current housemate and about 5 of my previous housemates do it differently.

Fill up the sink, add abit of detergent
Put the plates in the sink
Take plate and clean it with a brush
Place plate straight on the drying rack and put away once dry

Why wouldn't you rinse the plates before putting it on the drying rack?
To me that is like going in shower, using your body wash to get all soapy and just leaving the shower without rinsing.
Also it's washing the plate with dirty water and leaving it to dry. How does this clean the plate?

I never confronted any of my housemates about it, just wanted to see what peoples thoughts were.


  • Rinse the plate
    Put detergent on a washing sponge
    Clean the plate with the washing sponge
    Rinse the plate
    Leave it to dry on the drying rack overnight/until someone else puts it away/or put in dishwasher

  • Wash and rinse in one motion, then put in drying rack. No need to fill up sink. Usually no detergent required or the residual stuff in the sponge is good enough.

    I have one housemate who uses about 10 times more dishes than me and stockpiles them in the dishwasher.

  • Haha, reminds me of a friend who got upset at his housemate cleaning the the toilet seat and lid with the same toilet brush used for scraping skid marks off the bowl.

    You're doing it right and I would keep my plates in my bedroom if I were you.

    • Who in their right mind wouldn't get upset at that.

      • I had a (profanity) use the same big brush to cwlan big pots and pans for the dirty rubbish bin not recycling our rubbish bin.. I have never said wtf out loud so fast and just generally go huh?.. yeah we didn't last together too long.

        Same idiot burnt some plastic in the rice cooker..shit was a mess.

  • I do what your housemate does.
    Take a look at the dry plates after and see if you can detect any soap residue or dirt. I can't at my place.

    I guess I would use your system if I only had one plate to wash per day.

    • Doesnt matter how many dishes you have really. You might not see the soap residue but it's there. The cleanest way to wash your dishes, save water and time is to do them all how OP says ;)


      You can't visually detect soap residue. Add a bit of water and feel how soapy your plates are.

      • Are you scared it is harming you? I suppose if you use lots of soap it might be an issue.
        As I say, it is undetectable.


          Surfactants can't be very healthy although there are a lack of long-term studies into their harmful effects.

          I'd prefer not to ingest those chemicals if i can simple just wash it off.

          I've tried it that way and it seems pretty detectable to me. I think "detectable" is quite a subjective descriptor that probably factors in one's tolerance levels.

  • Put dirty plate in the sink and next time I look it's clean and put away in the cupboard.

  • Put in sink, fill with water up to level of dishes, add sulphuric acid, and soak for two weeks before rinsing. 😉

  • Put stopper in sink. Squirt a little detergent in sink. Turn on tap 100% and swish the water around a bit with your fingers so the water and detergent mix. The result is bubbly, soapy water. Fill sink half way. Wash dishes. If you have two sinks together, you can fill the second sink with hot water to rinse. Otherwise rinse as you go.

    • I never understood that's like bathing in the same water as your other household members after they are finished bathing in the same bath tub.. to me that's gross I need fresh water for each dish unless maybe the plates aren't that dirty enough but even then one by one no matter the numbers.

      • Agreed but that's how most Aussie kids were taught so they don't do it any other way. Unless they are open to new ideas which let's be honest most aren't.

        • True that.. My father washes it like that but for some reason I developed this other method because (profanity) that letting your dishes sit in communal bath filth that in the best of circumstances would only be maybe 95% clean not worth the grossness and risk for me honestly but I know it is safe otherwise we would be having a lot more related illnesses and sicknesses attributed to it which we don't thankfully.. that is a good thing.. but sometimes for me it is just icky I dunno old habits die hard.

        • @AlienC: yeah I hear you, it is gross seeing the dirty water at the end of it. The dishes even feel dirty afterwards it is disgusting. Oh well at least we have clean dishes and chances of getting sick are slightly less haha

          Old habits do die hard but I refuse to be like my parents and so stuck in their ways they are rarely open to change.

        • @billybob1978: so much truth.. I mean if I didn't think it was a good or better idea I wouldn't do it right? It's not like I am out to kill myself or other family members then who would cook all the good food haha lol I joke but no serially who would cook all the good food.. x files music plays

        • @AlienC: Exactly if someone shows you a way that is more efficient, cleaner and saves water (if you don't leave the tap on whilst scrubbing the dishes) I thought it would be commons sense to adopt it, but the older generation struggle with that concept haha

  • Close the door to the house, Lock it, Open car door, Close car door, Drive to whitegoods store, Look at the Asko Dishwasher, Buy the Asko Dishwasher, Walk out of store, Drive home, Get out of car, close door, Go inside house, Stare at dishes and await dishwasher.

    • As each step is listed, I feel the urge to write the hazards for each step, give it a risk rating, write some control measures, and then write down the residual risk, sign it and ask someone to review :(

  • Your housemates are disgusting. If you're in a share-house then you should definitely install a dishwasher. It will assist in nullifying the unhygienic habits of your housemates.

  • If there's any soap residue after cleaning, you're using too much detergent. Should be used to aid the removal of stubborn food, and in most cases you can wash dishes fine with just water.

    I rinse all dishes under the tap, then fill sink with hot soapy water, submerge and scrub with sponge/brush, then rack dry

  • Sponges are bacteria factories.

    Take plates out of sink (already wet from people getting water etc).
    Put hot water and detergent in sink.
    Wash with brush.
    Stack nicely in a rack that sits plates upright etc.
    Pour fresh hot/cold water over rack at end to rinse.

    • Sponges are bacteria factories.

      So what? No one is dying from bacteria on sponges. Your skin is a bacteria factory unless you foolishly wash with anti-bacterial soap and suffer the health effects.


    Fill up the sink, add abit of detergent
    Put the plates in the sink
    Take plate and clean it with a brush
    Place plate straight on the drying rack and put away once dry

    my father does that. he stayed at my house last week.
    I had to re-wash all the dishes.

    put plug in sink.
    add detergent to sink.
    turn on hot tap at low rate.
    wash dishes(pots/non-washing machine proof stuff) with brush in sink and then rinse and place on rack.

  • I wash plates exactly as you do.

    Except i leave the sponge in the sun to destroy any bacteria.

  • Put dirty plates and bowls in sink.
    wait for the dirty look and groaning from the missus.
    walk back to the sink after a couple of hours and the dishes are clean.
    yell out to kids to put dishes away.

    all seriousness…

    scrap off all residual food or sauce from plates and bowls with paper towel into the bin.
    soap up sponge and clean dishes with soap
    place soapy dishes in second sink bowl as we have 2. that includes all forks , spoons cooking utensils.

    then use warm water to rinse off soap and place on drying rack

    how warm the water is depends on how oily the dish was..
    I don't eat the same food every day so the dishes will always be in a different condition of dirtiness.
    then I yell at the kids to put the dishes away after a couple of hours.

    or if feeling lazy bung them in the dishwasher and go play with my kids.

  • rinse
    light use of sponge

  • We use the dishwasher for plates, standard glasses etc. we hand wash food processor bowls, blades, wooden stirrers, saucepans and wine glasses. I have had bad dishwasher experiences with these so I hand wash them; I don’t care what Mr Miele tells me.I also hot rinse after hand wash cleaning to remove soap residue.

  • +2 votes

    I have a dishwasher, but for things that don't go in it do the same as you.
    My mother does the same as your housemates - puts the dishes on the rack to dry covered in soap. The water is brown with a layer of grease on top by the time she has finished, and still no rinsing. Grosses me out

  • I agree, your housemate's approach is very inefficient. Here's what I do:

    Offer plate to dog
    Dog licks plate clean
    Put plate back in cupboard


  • I ask for ideas on the internet

  • I try to lick it clean if possible.

  • Stack it in the dishwasher. When it's full, put in a dishwashing tablet and set it to run overnight.

  • cover dishes in cling wrap, eat, throw out cling wrap when done, clean dishes

    • the scene is so underground atm.
      I try to spread the word but get shot down everytime

  • I let my cat lick them clean

  • Your mum will teach you.

  • Benchtop dishwasher. Best money I ever spent.

  • dishwasher mostly, just stack the dishes and turn the dishwasher on once a night.

    no need to confront your housemates over it.

  • Similar to yours but there's an extra step if the dishes are oily

    1 Rinse
    2 If dishes are oily/greasy, wipe it with tissue to prolong the life of your sponge (mostly the free ones you get from take aways)
    3 Clean the dishes with the washing sponge lathered with dishwashing liquid that has grease cutting power (all surface, top and bottom! I cant believe some people only wash the surface the eat on!!!!!)
    4 Rinse
    5 Leave it to dry on the unused dishwasher and that's where I keep my regularly used dishes

  • Scrape plates and stack on dish rack then place dish rack on shower floor, take shower dry plates with hair dryer .

  • +2 votes

    Reuse without washing so no food particles are wasted.

  • Stick everything in the dishwasher - no rinsing, no washing, - load, wash, unload. Problem solved. Easy peasy. It's not rocket science.

    • I agree,not rocket science. But OP's first line is "Just curious as to how everyone washes their dishes if you don't use the dishwasher"

  • I hear you mate. We put everything in the dishwasher but for dishes that aren't suitable we wash by hand. I was brought up to do it how your housemates did it and I didn't know any different. It wasn't until I met my wife who showed me how you do it. This makes more sense to me as you save water and time.

  • This is why I have my own plates, that I kept in my room.

  • I can see why you've went through 5 previous housemates.

  • None of you fill the sink up and add detergent (profanity) are having dinner in my room.

    • Well, you should never eat out at any restaurant or fast food. Do you think that they wash everything seperately, using new water each time? It would be so slow and inefficient, and difficult to wash very dirty dishes unless they are soaking/submerged in water.

      • Gross. There is a reason why I only prefer fast food these days but if I had to eat in a restaurant I choose Italian or Thai.

        I don't know why but this simple thing really bothers me and I have lost sleep trying to figure out a better more efficient but most importantly cleaner solution to no avail. Gah sometimes simple hygiene mishaps or oversights like these really bug me. Uh.

      • Any restaurant with a decent amount of customers uses a commercial dishwasher.

      • There would still be a lot of smaller places without a dishwasher. Anyway, before dishwashers came along, they would have washed the dishes together in a sink full of soapy water. Empty and refill the sink when the water gets too dirty.

  • Scrape and rinse dishes

    Fill sink with hot water add a little detergent

    Wash glasses and cups first (cleanest)

    Then plates, bowls, and cutlery

    Then with the gross water remaining wash frypans and saucepans (dirtiest) with a bit of fresh water at the end

    Put away when dry

    People that are afraid of soap residue have some sort of mental complex that should be assessed by a psychiatrist.

    • If you like wasting water and dirty dishes then that is the way to wash them. Yeah the glasses are clean but not the rest.

      You keep telling yourself whatever makes you feel better.

      • If you change the water in the sink for every individual dish then THAT is what is wasting water. Using the same sinkful of water for multiple dishes is the way to SAVE water. Is it not obvious that using more water wastes water while using less water saves it? And if you use a dishwater then you're being incredibly hypocritical (nothing wastes water like a dishwasher).

        • Did I say change the water for each dish? NO

          It's pretty simple you give each dish a quick rinse, turn off the tap, wash using soap on a brush and then rinse off the soap. This way you use less water than filling up a whole sink and it is also more hygienic.

        • @billybob1978: do you live alone? How much water do you think each method uses when you're washing up for six people?

        • @Quantumcat: nope family of 4. Doesn't really matter how many people live in a house, well within reason of course. My parents do it your way with just 2 people and we do it our way. My parents are old school and don't want to listen to different ways to do anything.

  • For all those that are rinsing their dishes thinking it's making it healthier. You are wasting your time/water.

    The answer from When washing-up, is it unhealthy to omit the rinsing stage? is below:

    It helps to think about it like laundry. In a washing machine one might assume dirt, oil, and debris comes loose through agitation alone. However, wouldn't the clothing act like a thick, giant filter keeping the oil, dirt, and debris on clothing when the water is drained? If not, wouldn't running a a single rinse cycle clean your clothes?
    First you have to understand how soap works. To accomplish that you need to understand what hydrophyllic and hydrophobic compounds are.
    Nearly all compounds fall into one of two categories: hydrophilic ('water-loving') and hydrophobic ('water-hating'). Water and anything that will mix with water are hydrophilic. Oil and anything that will mix with oil are hydrophobic. When water and oil are mixed they separate. Hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds just don't mix.(What is Soap)
    The cleansing action of soap is determined by its polar and non-polar structures in conjunction with an application of solubility principles. The long hydrocarbon chain is non-polar and hydrophobic (repelled by water). The "salt" end of the soap molecule is ionic and hydrophilic (water soluble).(What is Soap)
    When grease or oil (non-polar hydrocarbons) are mixed with a soap- water solution, the soap molecules work as a bridge between polar water molecules and non-polar oil molecules. Since soap molecules have both properties of non-polar and polar molecules the soap can act as an emulsifier. An emulsifier is capable of dispersing one liquid into another immiscible liquid. This means that while oil (which attracts dirt) doesn't naturally mix with water, soap can suspend oil/dirt in such a way that it can be removed. The soap will form micelles (see below) and trap the fats within the micelle. Since the micelle is soluble in water, it can easily be washed away. - (What is Soap)
    The purpose of cleaning dishes is to remove debris, sugars, salt, oils, protiens and fats which would otherwise serve as a medium for bacterial growth. Soap is a surfacant and attaches to the water. So, as @Anno2001 mentioned in his comment without knowing the reason, the action that allows dirty soap mixed with water to slide off an object via gravity is due to polarity,and the hydrophyllic / hyrophobic properties of soap and water.
    So, technically no, it isn't unhealthy. Even if detergent with known toxic chemicals were used, it still wouldn't adhere to the surface and be consumed later.
    Bringing it back to the washing machine analogy, a measure is given for the proper amount of detergent to use. The same knowledge applies to dish soap. However, common sense needs to be applied, since soap to water ratios or instructions aren't on given for dish soap.* Experience and tactility tells us when we've used too much soap.
    This fact can be peer-reviewed and replicated by enough people using a search engine "how to use dish soap" or "what are the instructions for dish soap."

  • Do not waste your time. I did that in the past but now I prefer to spend time with my kids and let the dishwasher do the job. My husband found a great built-in dishwasher ( and installed it on his own.