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13 Hacks You’ll Love If You Hate Washing Dishes

dish tips

13 Dish Washing Hacks That Will Save You Time And Energy

If you’ve lived without a dishwasher for any length of time, I don’t need to tell you how much of a difference it makes to have one! Having an automatic dishwasher not only saves you the time and effort of dish washing by hand, but many people end up cooking more often because of it, which saves money too!

While your dishwasher on its own does make it a lot easier to do the dishes, I’ve come across several ways to make the process of washing dishes easier with or without a dishwasher! Today I’m sharing 13 dish washing hacks that will save you time and effort — and just in time for those big holiday dinners!

Click here to see my video about how to make a simple disposable scrubber to use on the worst of your cooking messes!

dish washing

1. Dry With A Microfiber Cloth

While my relatively new high efficiency dishwasher works great, I have noticed that after the dry cycle is finished, some of the dishes are drier than others. Luckily, I’ve figured out a quick and easy solution for those still-dripping dishes.

When I unload the dishwasher, I keep one of my favorite waffle-weave microfiber cloths close at hand. A quick swipe of the cloth quickly takes care of any pesky lingering water, and it leaves my dishes shiny and streak-free.

dish washing

2. Pre-Treat Grimy Dishes

Spraying a mixture of soap and water onto the grimiest of your dishes can eliminate the need to soak or scrub them later on. Just set the dish in your sink, spray it down, and the soap will start breaking down grease and grime so it doesn’t dry out and get harder to clean. You can make your own pre-treating soap spray by checking out DIY Dawn Powerwash tutorial.

dish washing

3. Erase Scratches

If your dishes are marred by scuffs and scrapes from being stacked or scrubbed, never fear! I wrote a post about a fix for scratched dishes you can use to quickly erase those unsightly scratches and make your dishes look like new.

dish tips

4. Prevent Scratches

It’s like Mom always said: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! You can prevent your dishes from getting scuffed and scraped by putting a coffee filter between each one when you put them away in your cupboard.

Coffee filters are strong enough to prevent damage, but soft enough to not do any damage themselves. Plus, they’re super cheap!

Related: 11 Unexpectedly Useful Things You Can Do With A Coffee Filter

dish tips

5. Prevent Hard Water Spots

Got hard water? A small dish of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher works wonders for preventing hard water spots from forming on your dishes. Read more about that in this post.

dish tips

6. Keep Your Dishwasher Clean

A clean dishwasher not only runs more efficiently, but it cleans dishes more effectively too. And you can clear grime, mineral deposits, and germs out by cleaning your dishwasher in just 3 simple steps every month.

dish tips

7. Change Out Your Sponges

Did you know that a grimy kitchen sponge can have more bacteria than a toilet seat? Cleaning and replacing your sponges regularly is the best way to ensure your dishes are clean and sanitary after dish washing. The easiest way to remember when to do which is to learn the 1-1-4 rule — it’s #3 in this list.

dish tips

8. Think Outside The Scrub Brush

Need a bit more oomph to remove a baked-on mess in one of your baking dishes? A mesh produce bag can make a great scrubbing tool — just wad it up and scrub!

You’ll still end up throwing it away, but at least you’ll do something useful with it beforehand!

YouTube video
Save your scrub brushes for regular messes, use this one for the REALLY messy ones!

Related: 11 Disposable Items That Are Actually Highly Useful

dish washing

9. Use Tools You Like

Take the time to figure out what kinds of sponges or scrubbers you like best to help make dish washing by hand a little easier. Here are some of my favorite dish washing tools that are worth considering:

  1. Scrub Daddy
  2. Spaghetti Scrub
  3. Silicone scrubbing gloves
dish tips

10. Fight Food Residues

Baked-on food residues can be a lot more stubborn than your average grimy dish. Luckily, these 3 hacks will help you make quick work of even the toughest messes.

dish tips

11. Use Foil For Easy Cleanup

Cleaning up after dinner is quick and easy when you line your baking sheets or casserole dishes with aluminum foil beforehand. Just remove the foil, rinse the dish clean, and it’ll be ready to use again.

Related: These 11 Tricks Will Keep Your House Clean Longer

dish tips

12. Know Your Dishwasher

In order to get the most out of your dishwasher, you need to be familiar with its functions and features. Here are a few ways you can get to know your dishwasher better:

  1. Read the owner’s manual.
  2. Download my ‘Dishwasher Dos And Don’ts’ printable.
  3. Learn what you shouldn’t put in your dishwasher.
dish tips

13. Use Shampoo In A Pinch

If you’re hand washing dishes and realize you’re out of dish soap, use a bit of plain, unscented shampoo instead to tide you over until you can get to the store. (Note that this tip only applies to washing dishes by hand — putting shampoo in your dishwasher is a bubbly disaster waiting to happen!)

Related: 9 Simple Substitutions That Everyone Should Know About

Do you have any tips or tricks that make washing dishes easier?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • One hack that’s actually great for cleaning up is actually a baking tip. Parchment paper is great. You don’t have to grease the pan. If I’m lucky there won’t be anything to clean up. If there is , it’s usually just a small area vs the whole pan.

  • Oh Jillee, that’s not washing dishes, that’s loading the dishwasher. I am (obviously) envious of folks that own a dishwasher, and you kinda got my hopes up! You know, maybe you would tell me it’s fine to take off the gloves and have a cookie every 5th dish, or some game like that. It was a well-written and thoughtful column! Don’t get me wrong!!

    • I still can remember the call I got at work when my ex-husband was home sick.
      “How do you stop the suds from coming out of the dishwasher?” When I got home with the baby I discovered after bathing the baby that there were no towels. He had used the towels to mop up all the suds that had overflowed onto the floor. Then,, after feeding the baby and putting him down i proceeded to find out what had gone wrong. He had put dishwashing detergent in the jet dry place. I ended up putting vinegar in the jet dry and running on cold water a couple times to get rid of the suds. Lucy and Desi moment.

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