« Brunost - Cheese That Is Brown | Main | Norway: Fresh Air Is Always Good »

Proper Dish Washing Rules: For Girasoli

In my post about bread, I mentioned the Home Economics classes we had in Norway growing up ("school kitchen", we call it.) In the comments section, Sandra wrote that her Home Ec classes were not that great, at which point I raved about mine. Girasoli was intrigued by my mention of "proper dish washing rules", so this post is for her. (And no, I am not a housewife from 1950, although in this post I sound like one!)

First of all, I am talking about the kind of dishwashing where you fill the sink with soap and water and submerse the dishes in the water while washing. It is less applicable if you wash the items with a sponge under running water. Ok, here we go!

This works best if you have two sink basins side by side. First you rinse the dishes and stack them next to the sink. Fill the first sink with hot water and soap, and the second one with extremely hot water for rinsing. It has to be very hot for two reasons: to kill any remaining bacteria, and to allow for quick drying. (If you only have one, you can rinse in that one - slightly more wasteful for the 1950s housewife but it works too!)

Secondly, separation of the items is of the utmost importance - it is pretty much the basis for proper dish washing rules. The main reason for this is that you should be able to use the same water for the whole batch, or at least only change it once or twice. The idea is that the things that go in your mouth should be washed first. You start with glasses, since these have to be spotless. Wash them thoroughly with the dishwasher brush in the first sink. Then you rinse them in the second sink. Next it is time for silverware, before plates. (As you can see, the dishes get progressively dirtier as you go along - although the rinsing will have taken care of some of that.)

The last portion is the pots and pans and cooking utensils. Wash them thoroughly and rinse as normal. However, don't use the dishtowel to dry these, as they might be dirty underneat from the oven. Instead, dry them off with a wet dishrag.

OK, I think my old teachers would have been proud! And Girasoli probably got more than she bargained for!

Comments (9)


Snail--I am printing this and leaving it, surreptitiously, on my husband's chair. He drives me crazy the way he washes dishes--sponge under running water. But, since the alternative is me doing the dishes, I don't push this too far. Somethings are better left alone--I tell myself.


Hmmmmm, I'm very relieved to learn that I have been washing dishes the correct way all this time! And without formal training!!!!

Kidding aside, I would still argue that it's more valuable to "teach" home ec students how to wash dishes properly (and I'm an avid believer in rinsing) than how to section a grapefruit.

This one is cracking me up for some reason! I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no clue about any of this and I've been doing a bad job of washing dishes my whole life. We didn't learn this in my home ec class. Another confession - I had to stay after school for "extra help" in home ec because I was such a bad knitter. The horror!

Jane, I think that is just the normal way of doing it in the US, it seems that most people do it that way.

Sandra, I agree - I don't get the grapefruit thing! We really did learn useful stuff.

Annie, the idea that there are rules for washing dishes crack me up too!

Chiocciola, I am honored that you wrote this for me! After reading the "official" way, I have realized that I have been washing dishes incorrectly since I started washing dishes.

I do remember my grandmother washing her dishes in a similar way. It was quite a ritual that I remember watching with such fascination. She did not have a double sink so it was a little more work. She would take the dishes back out after washing them and then refill the sink with very hot water to rinse them.

I never even thought about doing the glasses first. Certainly makes sense.

I only remember knitting a pair of mittens (which I still have), threading a needle, and making chocolate chip cookies in my Home Ec classes. I don't remember anything about grapefruits.

Thanks for the post!


Chiocciola, that's too funny. I might show it to my daughters though...

sandra - I'm thinking sectioning grapefruits is a more challenging skill than "learning" how to heat frozen peas - yup, kid you not, that's what we did in grade 8.

Annie - don't feel bad. Knitting wasn't my personal Waterloo, but about all I could manage in craft class was gluing my fingers together!

I wanted to research this subject and write a paper. Your post what a thousand words would not. Nice job.



I have spent 2 hours searching the internet for clear guidance about washing up. I have picked up snippets and common sense, but now I have to teach H.E. there seems very little instruction. Few parents have been taught and therefore even fewer pass on any guidance. Thanks. Are there any other sites that give a step by step methods, maybe with pictures, or a powerpoint.

OK, I'm nearly a year late getting here, but I love this post.

I learned these rules as a child and follow them without thinking when there isn't a dishwasher (or my personal dishwasher Frank) available. Fortunately, I usually have one or the other or both!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 27, 2008 3:20 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Brunost - Cheese That Is Brown.

The next post in this blog is Norway: Fresh Air Is Always Good.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2004 - 2010 Slow Travel