Are you washing dishes correctly?

Bypass the dishwasher. Instead, hand wash dishes, valuable silverware and delicate porcelain. But are you doing it the right way?

Are you washing dishes correctly?

Washing dishes by hand is not time-consuming, and you'll save electricity. Tackle stubborn stains and baked-on residue with some old-fashioned elbow grease — and maybe a little old-fashioned ingenuity as well.

Only dishes designated dishwasher-safe by the manufacturer should be machine-washed. Wooden cutting boards and plates have no place in your dishwasher; they can't stand the heat and will lose their luster or even crack and split. You're also better off washing dirty pots and pans by hand. They take up too much space in the dishwasher and require a special, less energy-efficient wash cycle to get them clean. Here are some other tips.

Before doing the dishes

  • Soak dried-on food remains to soften them before rinsing. You'll find that grease rinses off better with hot water, but proteins and carbohydrates do better with cold.
  • Protect delicate porcelain by lining your sink with a terry cloth towel.
  • Rubbing lipstick marks with salt makes them much easier to wash off.

After washing

  • Air-dry your dishes for best results. Place them vertically in a dish drainer to let the water run off. Make sure the handles of stainless silverware all point down.
  • Dry dishes while they are still warm to prevent watermarks and bring out the shine. Use dish towels made from an absorbent material like cotton or linen. Generally, you'll have to wash new towels several times before they become sufficiently absorbent.
  • Protect old or valuable porcelain with paper towels placed between each of the plates before storing them in the cabinet.
  • Allow thermos bottles to dry thoroughly inside and store them with the top open to prevent them from developing a musty smell.
  • Hang cups if possible to save space.
  • Turn the top of tureens, sugar bowls and teapots upside down, so that the handle or any other protruding part is protected inside the bottom piece.

Removing stains from porcelain

Remove stains from porcelain with these simple, but effective tricks:

  • Remove tea stains or leftover residue from porcelain cups by mixing hot water with five millilitres (one teaspoon) of baking soda in the cup, letting it sit and then washing it out thoroughly. Or, mix together 25 millilitres (two tablespoons) of chlorine bleach and one litre (four cups) of water. Soak the cup in the solution for no more than two minutes, then rinse immediately.
  • Wipe off minor lime residue easily with a damp sponge and citric acid.
  • Wash off stubborn lime residue by pouring a dash of citric acid and hot water into the container to be cleaned and letting it sit for one hour. Repeat as needed until residue is dissolved, then wash and rinse thoroughly.
  • Wipe brown stains off your teapot with a paste of vinegar and salt.
  • Scrub away stains with a mixture of salt and vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Banish cigarette stains by attacking them with a cork dipped in salt.

Gluing porcelain

1. Lay out porcelain, thick quick-drying glue and clothespins or modelling clay for attaching the porcelain pieces on a work-safe surface (newspapers, an old blanket or towels work).

2. Clean the broken pieces of porcelain and the areas to be glued with a lint-free rag; let dry.

3. Apply a very thin layer of glue to the pieces.

4. Very carefully fit the porcelain pieces together and let them dry; if necessary, hold them in place with clothespins or modelling clay. If any excess glue squeezes out of the fitted porcelain, wipe it off immediately.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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