Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

Maybe you don't have a dishwasher or you might only have a couple items to wash. Certain items (like sharp knives and cutting boards) aren’t dishwasher-safe and require careful cleaning. At some point, we all need to know how to wash dishes by hand.

With our expert cleaning tips, you'll learn how to do it quickly and effectively. 

Note: If you’re looking for the easiest dishwasher hacks, we’ve got you covered there, too!

Is Washing Dishes Bad for Hands? 

steps for washing dishes

We know that most conventional dish soaps dry out skin. That's actually a major reason that we developed our 99.96% Natural Dish Soap. Besides breaking up tough food stains, it leaves hands feeling moisturized – no gloves needed! 

Note: Our sulfate-free formula is so gentle, you could probably wash your body (minus your face) with it.

6 Steps: Washing Dishes by Hand

Just like any household chore, there’s definitely a right order of steps to wash dishes. And this makes perfect sense: You don’t want to leave food gunk or soap residue behind. 

1.  Prep Dishes

Remove large pieces of leftover food by wiping it into the garbage, a compost bin, or down the garbage disposal (while running water). Use a rubber spatula on nonstick cookware and other dishes that could scratch.

steps to wash dishes

2. Soak Dishes with Stubborn Stains  

If your dishes or cookware have burnt or stuck-on messes, soak them before washing. Add a teaspoon of Puracy Natural Dish Soap to your plugged sink, dishpan, or a larger piece of cookware. 

Fill with hot water, place your dishes in the solution, and soak for 15-30 minutes. Drain, refill your sink/dishpan with clean, hot water – and a teaspoon of dish soap. 

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3. Follow the Right Order 

steps in washing dishes by hand

Under a layer of bubbles, fragile and sharp items could break or cause injuries. Only stack a few items at a time.

Start by washing sharp knives and delicate items one-by-one, then immediately rinse and place them in a dish rack (or dry them with a clean towel).

Next, reach for glasses, cups, and silverware (items that aren’t as soiled),  followed by plates and bowls. Finish up with cookware. Keep items submerged in the water as you scrub, occasionally pulling each one out to check for missed spots.

Pro Tip: If the water becomes greasy, the suds disappear, or water gets too cool, drain the water and start over as many times as necessary.

Avoid Sponges Whenever Possible

how to hand wash dishes

Because sponges are the germiest surface in the house, it’s best to avoid using them if possible. We recommend investing in an OXO dishwashing brush or a fresh dishrag for extra-delicate surfaces. 

4. Rinse Dishes 

If you have a dual sink basin, rinse off the suds as you go. Pass the item under the aeration setting on your faucet (instead of a shower jet) using lukewarm water. Turn it a few times to ensure that all surfaces (especially interiors) are thoroughly washed away.

Before setting it on the dish rack or wiping it with a towel, shake the dish (especially bottles and bowl-shaped items) to remove excess water.

how to wash dishes step by step

Pro Tip: Rinsing with lukewarm water is easier on hands and uses less energy. Plus, steam doesn’t form on the interiors of glasses and bowls when they're left to dry facedown.

5. Dry Dishes

There are a couple of methods that work. The most obvious is placing items in a dish-drying rack to air dry.

hand washing dishes hacks

Due to their extra padding, Puracy’s luxe microfiber towels are fantastic at absorbing residual water, especially glasses and silverware (which can become spotted or filmed as they air dry). If the towel becomes damp or dirty, switch to a new, dry one.

Pro Tip: If you're drying cookware that contains grease, use a separate cloth.

6. Finish up 

Puracy disinfecting surface cleaner

When you’re finished washing your dishes, rinse and wipe down the sink or dishpan. Rinse and shake out the water in your dish scrubber. Finally, throw your dishrags and microfiber towels in the washing machine.

Why Is Puracy Dish Soap That Good? 

Harsh, conventional dish soaps do more than just dry out your hands: They can also dry out wooden items (like cutting boards and utensils) and damage more delicate materials like silver and hammered copper.

puracy dish soap

Our 99.96% Natural Puracy Dish Soap was created to be extremely effective on food stains and incredibly gentle on skin. This dish soap is: 

Super Concentrated

You only need a teaspoon for a full sink of dishes! Who wouldn't want to save money with a hyper-concentrated formula? 

Endless Uses

This is genuinely one of our most versatile products. A few drops of this dish soap and warm water can clean hundreds of items through your home, from hardwood floors to your favorite straw hat

Fewer Streaks 

Our dish soap “sheets” water, meaning that you’ll have far fewer water droplets to dry off (meaning a streak-free finish). Reducing the appearance of hard water deposits is especially important if you've got hard water in your home. 

Discover Why Our Dish Soap Has 4,700+ 5-Star Reviews

best natural dish soap

There’s clearly a lot to love about Puracy Dish Soap. Try it in three fresh-smelling scents: Green Tea & Lime, Organic Lemongrass, and Citrus & Sea Salt.