clean up after holiday dinner

Cleaning 101: Holiday Party Dish Duty Hacks

Party clean up doesn't have to be stressful: From silver cleaning hacks to general party hacks, Puracy's here to take the pressure off!

With holiday party season in full swing, cleaning all those dishes may seem like a daunting task. But you don't need a team full of elves to get it done. We’ve compiled some tried-and-true party hacks and after dinner clean-up tips to take the stress out of your next gathering.

Where to Begin: Party Prep Tips 

clean house surfaces and furniture

Before you start setting up for your next holiday party, get your brain (and kitchen) into prep mode. With some careful planning, you can avoid post-party dish cleaning that leaves you completely exhausted.

1. Start with a Blank Slate

The night before any gathering:

  • clear the counters
  • gut the fridge for expired food
  • take out the trash
  • clean the sink
  • empty the dishwasher.
loading up cooler with ice

The morning of, load up a cooler with ice and drinks. In our house, we move cleaning products to our pantry floor for easy access (and they won't take up vital counter space).

2. Prep Everything in Advance

Guests are on their way and you've run out of something. We've all been there. Slice and dice, organize your thoughts, and carefully read instructions ahead of time. You'll be able to relax during the few minutes before the doorbell rings.

3. Frequent Care Is Easy Care

cleaning dirt regularly

Remember: It’s all about offense, not defense. To avoid clutter and build-up, put ingredients back as you use them. Address spills and splatters as they happen Our Natural Surface Cleaner is ideal for every conceivable kitchen mess.

4. Avoid Complicated Recipes

Attempting new recipes under time constraints can spell disaster for your counter space and sanity. Stick to simpler dishes – or fan favorites that you can prepare with your eyes closed.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

cleaning after party mess with other people

If you’re the one making all the food, ask a parent, partner, or friend to help with the dishes before the guests start rolling in. It’s the least they can do – especially if they’re promised first dibs on dessert. If they complain about their manicure, remind them that Puracy Dish Soap is super moisturizing (and that there are a pair of gloves under the sink).

Silver Cleaning Hacks

cleaning silver

To clean real silverware, fill a basin in the sink with warm water and the slightest amount of dish soap. Soak them for a few minutes, rinse by the handful, shake, and let them air dry.

How to Polish Silverware Naturally

Dealing with tarnished silver doesn’t require noxious silver polish (who wants to inhale that?). Line a large tub with tin foil and add boiling water. For every liter of water, add 2 TBSP of baking soda. When placing the silverware inside, make sure that it touches the tin foil and doesn’t overlap.

After a few minutes, use tongs to pull your silverware out and polish using a microfiber cloth. For heavily tarnished silver, you may need to repeat the process a couple of times – but you won’t deal with any fumes!

Soak Pans While You Eat

soaking pans while eating

A lot of the after dinner clean-up can wait until you're done eating. I recommend squirting a little Natural Dish Soap and hot water into pots and pans, letting them soak, then placing them in the dishwasher after guests have gone home (assuming they’re dishwasher safe, of course).

Pro Tip:

When your oven is off (and cool), let dirty pots and pans soak there until later. This gets them out of your way and it instantly makes your kitchen look cleaner.

How to Clean Burnt Pans

cleaning burnt pans

If you (or your loved one) is known for burning food, don't panic: Fill the pan with hot water, add dish soap, and scrub it with an OXO dish brush before stains set. If you’re using cast iron or an uncoated pan, you can also use steel wool or balled-up tin foil to accelerate the process.

Hacks for Washing Dishes By Hand

handwashing dishes

After a big party, there are some dishes and utensils that can only be washed by hand. Though hand washing takes more time, there are still a few tricks to make the process more efficient.

Wash Dishes in Proper Order

washing dishes in proper order

Though it's tempting to rush through handwashing, it's important to clean dishes in their proper order. Start with delicate items, such as that novelty ceramic serving dish that's been in your family for generations. Next: sharp knives. Immediately rinse these items and then place them on a dish rack to dry. Alternatively, you can also dry them with your handy microfiber cloth.

Follow that up with items that aren't heavily soiled, such as glasses, cups, and silverware. Next comes plates and bowls, with cookware coming last. While you're washing, keep items submerged in soapy water.

Keep the Water Fresh

keeping water fresh for dishes

As you're washing dishes, be sure to keep an eye on the state of the water. You want to avoid water from becoming too greasy or cool. Make sure the suds are still there as well. Regularly drain the water to keep it nice and sudsy for a good soak.

Skip the Sponge

using sponge for cleaning

Did you know sponges are one of the hottest spots in your home for germs? Since they retain water and dry slowly, they can end up hosting all kinds of bacteria. When it comes to washing dishes, opt instead for an OXO dishwashing brush with nylon bristles. 

Rinse as You Go

rinsing dishes properly

This step is made easier if you happen to have a dual sink basin. Pass each item under lukewarm water until it's thoroughly clean. (This water temperature uses less energy and won't steam glasses.) Before setting the dish to dry, shake it to remove excess water. 

Looking for more tips for hand washing dishes before your next party? Don’t miss our comprehensive guide to hand washing dishes for more tips and tricks.

Hacks for Washing Dishes With a Machine

dishwasher with plates and mugs

Dishwashers save us lots of time when it comes to post-party clean up. However, there are still tricks to making sure you are using your machine efficiently. Read on to make dish duty as seamless as possible.

Load the Dishwasher Carefully

loading dishwasher with Puracy dishwasher soap

Instead of trying to cram everything in at once, make sure items have ample space. That way, water can fully wash each dish. Be sure cutlery is also spaced appropriately in the utensil basket. Make a note to direct knives down, while forks and spoons are placed upwards.

Avoid putting glasses on the bottom shelf since the spraying pressure down there may be powerful for them. Keep that space for heavier items like pots and pans. Face those items inwards and downwards toward the sprayers for optimum washing.

Use a Dishwasher Basket

using dishwasher basket

Invest in a dishwasher basket for the top shelf to keep smaller items safe. Lids, baby bottle parts, and pacifiers can often be damaged by a dishwasher's moving parts. Store these items in a dishwasher basket to make sure they are handled with care.

Keep an Eye Out for Dishwasher Safe Plastic

dishwasher safe plastic

A plastic bowl or cup may be marked as safe for a dishwasher, but even then, be careful. The high temperature of a dishwasher can still warp and melt them, so keep them loaded onto the top rack.

Cut Down on Dishwasher Cycles

reducing dishwasher cycles with Puracy products

The plant enzymes in our Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs break down food remnants – from pan sauce to mashed potatoes. All you need to do is rinse dishes and focus on what really matters: dessert.

To fit everything into a single dishwasher cycle, one of our favorite dishwasher hacks is using non-standard plates for dessert. The bottom of your dishwasher will be full from the main course, so choose small bowls or cups that can fit on top.

Take it one step further and use compostable paper plates. Honestly, no one will care (and it'll make clean-up a cinch).

Run Your Dishwasher Early

running dishwasher early

Don’t wait for the last straggler guest to leave before running your dishwasher. Instead, as things begin to wind down, start the first load to get a headstart on dish duty. Chances are, you’ll be running multiple loads in the machine, so it’s wise to start as early as possible.

Looking for more dishwasher-friendly tricks? We’ve got you covered with our Guide to Dishwashing, including how to clean the dishwasher itself!

Get Food Stains out of Tablecloths

using Puracy Stain Remover on table cloth
From a guest spilling red wine to a toddler getting a hold of tomato sauce, tablecloths take on some serious damage. Puracy Natural Stain Remover has you covered:
  • Rinse the textile under cold water as soon as you can (you can wait until the meal is finished).
  • Thoroughly spray stains with the Stain Remover, agitate gently with a laundry brush (a toothbrush works, too), then let it sit anywhere from 8 hours to 2 days.
  • Run a normal washing machine cycle with an “extra rinse” cycle.
  • If you still spot remnants, repeat the process and proceed with drying.

Pro Tip: If your floor has been hit by a food tornado, check out our carpet care tips.

Send Guests Home with Leftovers

leftover food for guests

If you've ended up making way too much food, now's the time to cut down on plastic use by using the glass jars or extra Tupperware. You can provide paper grocery bags near the door (with everyone’s names on them) and let guests choose whichever containers they’d like.

Provide paper grocery bags near the door with everyone’s names on them and let guests choose whichever containers they’d like.

Puracy for Every Party!

after party cleaning with friends

However you choose to celebrate life's biggest events, do it with Puracy home essentials. Safe for the entire family and formulated to work amazingly well, we confidently backed them with our 100% money-back guarantee. Just like your meticulous party planning, we've thought of everything!