Washing the dishes

Washing the dishes

This summer we rented a cottage for a week.  It was one of those ‘rustic’ ones, with the ‘cottagey smell’ and the big picnic table in the dining room to eat on (it was great!).  The cottage perfectly met our needs, but it was missing one or two of the ‘comforts of home’.  My daughter was shocked to find out that there was no dishwasher (of course, she was even more shocked when she found out there was no internet access).

Truthfully, washing the dishes by hand makes me nostalgic, taking me back to my cottage days, except my cottage growing up didn’t even have hot water, so we had to heat it on the stove (when I mentioned that to my daughter, you would have thought that I had said that I had to pump water from a well and then walk half a mile uphill with the water cistern on my head, but in fairness, I guess it all sounds a bit like fiction to someone my daughter’s age).

My daughter has had some experience with drying dishes (when she and I bake, she has to help with the clean-up by drying all the baking utensils and dishes), but this time she wanted to take a turn at washing.  Given her initial ‘enthusiasm’ (OK, maybe this is too strong a word), we quickly established that she was on breakfast and lunch dishwashing duty for the week.  I dried and put away, since she couldn’t reach many of the cupboards.

Before we started though, I had to give her a bit of a ‘crash course’ in washing dishes.  It went something like this…

  • Scrape food scraps and crumbs into the garbage and lightly rinse off dishes, if required (e.g. if there is BBQ sauce or similar that can be easily rinsed off so that it doesn’t end up messing up your wash water).  Put really soiled items aside and save them for the end so that your dishwashing water doesn’t get grungy right out of the gate (fill heavily soiled pots and pans with some hot water and a bit of dishwashing liquid so they can soak and food can soften, making cleaning easier later on).
  • Clean out the sink, then fill it half full with hot water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid (probably the size of a quarter or so should do it, as too many suds makes it more difficult to rinse dishes).  Note that you may have to get clean water part way through the washing process, depending on how dirty your water is and how many dishes you have to wash.
  • Generally speaking, wash items in this order (you may wish to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the hot water)…
    • glasses (push the cloth into the glass to the bottom and twist it around a few times)
    • cutlery (wash individually or in small groups of 2 or 3 to make sure each utensil gets cleaned)
    • bowls and plates
    • pots and pans (don’t use abrasive cleaners or brushes on non-stick surfaces when cleaning)
    • heavily soiled items (these items may require a bit of soaking and/or scrubbing)
  • Rinse item with hot water to remove any soap suds.
  • Place item in drying rack to air or hand dry.

There’s a good chance that your home has a dishwasher, but there are many apartments and rental properties that do not (chances are, this is what your kids will be living in when they leave the comforts of your home).  Prepare your child for the real world by teaching them how to wash the dishes, as well as other life skills such as Sorting laundry and Baking basics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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