Thursday, October 28, 2010

20 You Asked: Dish the Dirt on Doing Dishes

**  Update  **  Thank you readers for sharing with me that hand washing may or may not be as energy "green" efficient as a dishwasher.  That's why IHeart blogging, because I can share my ideas with you, and you can share your ideas and wisdom's with me!!!

One thing I started doing when I decided to stay home with the kiddos, is hand wash dishes.  Don't get me wrong, we have a dishwasher that IHeart to no end, and definitely use as a great way to save time {just run it late at night and open/pull out drawers to let dishes air dry while sleeping, which is a great way to save energy}, however, for all my daily dishes, I hand wash.  I do this because I find that while home with the little ones, I am serving at least three meals throughout the day, and it's much more effective to rewash the same dishes, than dirty multiple sets and tossing them all in the dishwasher.  The time it takes to hand wash really is next to nothing...

A reader asked:

Hi Jen,
I just stumbled across your blog and LOVE it! You are so talented... not only a great eye for design, but a wonderful photographer as well! So many questions pop into my mind for my own house. A simple one to start with that drives me crazy in my kitchen... in your pictures of your kitchen you do not have a big, ugly drying rack for dishes. It takes up so much space on my counters. How do you get around that? 

Oh, but I do, you just can't see it!  Which is the best part!  I currently use a smaller chrome version that tucks right into right side of my sink:

Rubbermaid Chrome Twin Sink Dish Drainer
It's great, because I can use it every day, and it's not a visual distraction.

See, after the dishes are all washed up, I place them in the dish drainer over a towel to dry....

And if I need to free some counter space, the dish drainer fits perfectly back into the sink!

I reuse the dishes over and over throughout the day, and when I want to spruce things up, I put them away.  But most often, I don't because it's just too easy to keep using the same ones over and over a couple times a day, each day of the week!  

Oooh, and I have one last favorite little dish washing trick.  I like to use gloves to protect my cuticles from drying out, so to ensure they dry well in-between uses, I just snagged a couple of Command Strip Clips, attached them to the cabinet door under the sink, and hang them by the finger tips!  That way, any water that may have gotten inside, can easily dry out!

And because we all love to be a little nosy and peer inside each others cupboards {or is that just me!?}

I stash extra dishtowels, rags and cleaning supplies here, along with dishwasher soap disguised in a pretty canister.  {When storing cleaners under the sink, it's always a great idea to use cabinet locks to keep little fingers out.}

The rest of my dish-washing goodies are stored in a small drawer next to the sink as such...

Anyone still there?  Sleeping?  Bored?  Sorry, I am good at tangents.

Any other hand washers out there?  Love it?  Hate it?  Any other tips and tricks for those who do it daily?  How about storing dish washing goodies?


  1. I love seeing your organization under your sink as well as your hand washing technique!
    I do have to mention though that hand washing dishes is generally thought of as NOT as green as running a dishwasher.
    Here's an article interesting article that runs the numbers:

  2. I hand wash all my dishes. I that same silver rack, too. :)
    There is just something better in my mind of hand washing.

  3. I hand wash even though I have a dishwasher. I grew up handwashing and I think the dishwasher can never do as good a job (although I'm sure so many would disagree). I also use gloves and I'm going to implement your idea of drying them. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. would you like to visit me in canada any time soon and organize my house?

  5. Awesome! You've inspired me to share how I deal with this. I need to get those Command Clips for gloves, because I haven't been using gloves and my hands are mad at me. I hate hate hate dish racks on my counter, so despite my Ryan's complaints, I have a secret special system instead. :)

  6. I actually enjoy washing dishes (though I do still use my dishwasher at times too). I love the smaller dish drainer idea...thanks. I love the cute container for the dishwasher powder.

  7. Love it! You know that useless piece of cabinet that is always right below the sink and doesn't do anything? I had my hubby install hinges so that it flips out and provides a tray to store sponges and scrubbers. We use them in our bathrooms for toothbrushes and toothpaste, too.

  8. Just found ur blog thanks to Jade @ Super Organiser Mum and I Heart it!< Like what I did there?

    I have never owned a dishwasher and I am quite happy to never own one! We have all whinged bout doing dishes at some point but once u start they are done in no time and doesnt the kitchen look lovely when the sink isnt piled with dirty dishes?!!

  9. Jen-How do you make everything so glamourous and beautiful???

    I have a question-I see you (aswell as many other bloggers in the US) use dishtowels.....I havent seen this before and I'm wondering how they go? Do they get smelly quicker? (coz they are thicker?)

    I kind of liike the idea of using them :)

  10. Ok, now I HAVE to organize under my sink. Why do you do this to me?!? :) No, really, it looks great. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

  11. I need to clean under my sink AND run to Crate and Barrel for some great white dishes! Great post!

  12. I don't hand wash cause I read that it uses more water and energy than the dishwasher. We are empty nesters so don['t use alot of dishes so I rinse them off and only have to run the dishwasher mabe once every 4-5 days! And, I do air dry always!!!

  13. When we bought our house we didn't have a dishwasher and in our tiny kitchen wasn't sure if it would work anyway. We've also been trying to be more green. After reading an article on water usage versus handwashing and using a dishwasher I was glad to see that it is more economical and uses way less water to do them in the dishwasher. So when I saw one at a garage for $50 with a butcher block top I snatched it right up. I now have less water usage, a cutting block counter, and storage for those dishes that are drying. I only have one counter to use so I need all the space I can get. The storage ideas are fabulous. I'm gonna implement some of them! Thanks!!

  14. Hi there! I am your newest follower! I found you on the Fence! I love finding new blogs and yours is lovely:) You can find me at

    WOW. your amazing and I need to learn a million things from you:)

    take a peek at my giveaways if you come by. Everything is handmade and gorgeous!

  15. I also hate dish racks up on the counter! Love your solution.

  16. I try to fit whatever I can into the dishwasher. I hate hand washing. I also hate clothes lines. LOL

    I love your blog!


  17. I love my dishwasher! I just moved into my house with one and it is wonderful. i still wash the pots and pans (most of the time) but I totally love putting all the cups and plates in the dishwasher.

    I DO love clotheslines though :)

  18. we dont have room in our kitchen for a dishwasher, and with the very high levels of iron in our water, maintenence would be a pain also, so i handwash. to be more green, and save green, i soak dishes in cold water(we have well water and i have to run our water for a long time to get the hot to come out anyway) on one side of the sink, then use Dawn Direct Foam to wash them all placing them in the other side of the sink, when the soapy side is full, i rinse with hot water and place in drying rack on a towel. I love Dawn direct foam so much, it lasts much longer than regular soap and cuts grease better too.

  19. I hand wash but to keep the drying dishes out of sight (we get a lot of surprise guests with a new little one around!) I put them in the dishwasher to dry and just leave the door open a crack.

  20. I just love this blog! I have learned so many homemaking techniques from you. I know this is an old post, but I was just "exploring" your blog and found it.


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