steps for washing dishes

Cleaning 101: Hand Washing Dishes

Don't have a dishwasher and wondering how to wash dishes? To clear up confusion and get things sparkling, follow these foolproof steps in washing dishes.

Written by Tenley Haraldson. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

Maybe you don't have a dishwasher, you're handling items that aren't dishwasher-safe, or you only have a couple items to wash. At some point, we all need to know the proper order for washing dishes by hand.

When you use our expert cleaning tips, you'll learn how to wash dishes quickly and effectively.

Note: We've also got you covered with these dishwasher hacks!

The 6 Steps in Washing Dishes by Hand

puracy dish soap

Just like any household chore, there’s definitely a proper order for washing dishes by hand. And that makes perfect sense since you don’t want to leave food gunk or soap residue behind.

1. Prep Dishes

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

steps in washing dishes

2. Soak Dishes with Stubborn Stains

If dishes or cookware have burnt or stuck-on messes, we highly recommend soaking them before attempting to wash them. To do so, add a teaspoon of 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. Afterwards, drain the sink, refill with hot water, and another teaspoon of dish soap.

3. Follow the Proper Order for Washing Dishes

steps to wash dishes

If they're under layer of bubbles, fragile and sharp items could break or cause injuries. Only focus on washing a few items at a time.

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

Next up: glasses, cups, and silverware (ie. 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 whenever you think it's necessary.

Sponges Aren't the Best Thing to Wash Dishes with…

how to wash dishes

Because sponges are the germiest surface in your home, it’s best to avoid using them if possible. We recommend investing in an OXO dishwashing brush with nylon bristles. You can also use a fresh dishrag for extra-delicate surfaces.

4. Rinse Dishes

how to wash dishes step by stepIf you have a dual sink basin, rinse off the suds as you go. Using lukewarm water, pass the item under the aeration setting on your faucet. Turn them over a few times to ensure that all surfaces (especially interiors) are thoroughly clean.

Pro Tip: Lukewarm water is easier on hands, uses less energy, and steam won't form on the interiors of glasses and bowls when they dry facedown.

Before setting dishes on the dish rack or wiping them with a towel, shake to remove excess water (this is especially true for bottles and bowl-shaped items).

5. Dry Dishes

washing dishes

The most common method here is air drying on a dish rack. We also like using our luxe microfiber towels to absorb residual water, especially from glasses and silverware (which can become spotted or filmed as they air dry). If your towel becomes damp or dirty, simply switch to a new, dry one.

Pro Tip: Drying cookware that contains grease? Use a separate cloth.

6. Finish up

cleaning 101

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 So Good?

steps for washing dishes

Most 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.

Our Natural Dish Soap checks breaks down tough food stains, leaves hands incredibly moisturized (without gloves), and does it with a formula that's:

  • Sulfate-free
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for septic and grey water systems
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Petrochemical-free

  • It's Super Concentrated

    You only need one teaspoon for a full sink of dishes!

    There Are Endless Uses

    As one of our most versatile products, a few drops can clean hundreds of items through your home – from hardwood floors to your favorite straw hat.

    Stops Streaks

    Our dish soap was formulated to “sheet” water. This means fewer water droplets to dry off, and that means a streak-free finish. Reducing the appearance of hard water deposits is especially important if you've got hard water in your home.

    You'll Love Dish Duty

    There’s clearly a lot to love about Puracy Dish Soap, and we think we've created the best thing to wash dishes with. Try it in three fresh-smelling scents: Green Tea & Lime, Organic Lemongrass, and Citrus & Sea Salt.

    best thing to wash dishes with