We All Wash Dishes, Right?
Even if you have a dishwasher, there are still things that need to be hand washed. And you want to make sure that what you wash is really clean.
A lot of water bottles need to be hand washed, and some plastic items (although we’re not supposed to be using plastic anymore). That’s for another time.
I don’t always put my pots and pans in the dishwasher; some are too big and I have one or two that I’d rather wash by hand.
But Are They Clean?
I always worry about whether or not my hand washed dishes are really clean and sanitary.
I like to use dish soaps that smell nice, but I don’t want my clean dishes smelling that way. Or transferring the taste to my food.
And what do I use to actually wash them with?
A dish cloth? A sponge? One of those things with soap in the handle and a sponge on the end? A brush?
None of them seem like they are sanitary enough.
I know you can put them in the microwave or the dishwasher, but is that really enough?
And have you seen those new dishwashing gloves that have scrubbing things on the fingers?
Ditch the Sponges
According to a German study done in 2017, the sponges on our kitchen counters are one of the nastiest things in the house.
In fact, the researchers found over 350 kinds of bacteria in the average kitchen sponge; more than you would find in the dirtiest part of the bathroom. And when they looked at the sponges under 3D, the results were even more shocking.
And it turns out that sponges take a really, really long time to dry.
And while they’re the least bit damp, they’re breeding bacteria.
Throw the sponges away and never buy another one. That includes those wands with the detergent in them. They have sponges on the end.
I don’t think even a microwave or dishwasher can save that.
And this stuff is invisible to the human eye, so we would never know!
What About the Other Methods?
A clean dish cloth is good, but for how long? Would it be safe to wash a load of dishes with it, or would it be contaminated with bacteria at some point?
Here’s the lowdown on dish cloths:
- A clean, dry cloth is good for washing a normal amount of dishes.
- After two hours, you will most likely have about 30,000 bacteria on that cloth if it is still damp.
- Experts say you can use the cloth for one day, but to make heavy use of paper towels for wiping up spills and cleaning surfaces.
- If you use a dishcloth to wipe down surfaces after you do the dishes, you are spreading bacteria around the kitchen.
- A smelly dish cloth should definitely be put in the wash and not used.
At my house, I have what I thought was a cute little dish scrubber and a better solution than a sponge.
It’s a small ceramic cup with a metal insert that has a sort of spring on it. It comes with a scrub brush. You put dish soap in the cup, along with some hot water. When you need to wash something, you push the brush down a time or two (that’s what the spring is for) and that gets it soapy so you can wash.
But, that cup sits on my counter usually for about a week before it runs out of soap. And that means the water has been standing there for that long too, plus any food particles that stuck to the brush or came off of it.
That’s as bad as the sponge!
So What Do You Wash Your Dishes With?
It turns out that a plastic or silicone brush is the best thing to use. Not one like I have that sits in that soap and water mess and stays wet all the time; one that you can stand up in a container so that it can dry.
Plastic and silicone dry quickly, especially when stored upright.
I have one of those too.
But I’ve only been using it for the first scrubbing of a really dirty pan or when I clean the sink.
I’ve been washing my dishes all wrong.
I bet you have too.
But now that we know better, we can do better.
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