How to Survive Without a Dishwasher


Yes, I realize that the title of this post displays just how utterly spoiled I was as a child. Yes, the majority of the world’s population can survive perfectly well without a dishwasher.

But, when you grow up with one, and suddenly find yourself without one, it can be a bit shocking. Like for instance, the day you realize that dishes breed like rabbits. Or when meal prep turns into a whole kitchen affair, and you wonder where your counter space went, and the sink? The sink is full. Magically shrinking counters and sinks, people! They’re a thing. Or, things.

But, who am I to complain about counter space, I mean, look what this guy has to work with (quite excellently too, I may add): Closet Cooking Dude

Anyways, this brings me to my first tip:

1. Minimize the amount of dishes that you create.

This is easy if you have an oven safe skillet (cast iron FTW!). There are plenty of casseroles can be started on the stovetop in one pan, and finished in the oven. Braises are great, with oven safe pots. Stir fries are a no-brainer. Also, have you ever heard of sheet pan dinners? (Google them, they are totally a thing). Basically, you just roast your protein, veggies and carbs all on one baking sheet. It’s delicious, and clean up is a breeze.

2. Do the dishes after every meal.

Remember the multiplying rabbit thing? They build up fast. Also, it’s so much easier to actually get into the kitchen and cook, if you have a nice clean kitchen to mess up! Yes, that sounded overly perky. Yes, I’m kind of sorry.


3. Equipment – because the dishes will be so much easier to do if you have the right tools.

Find a dish brush that you like. (No, it does not have to be expensive – mine was like a buck). The long wand-like brushes are great for blenders and narrow jars. Cheap sponges in bulk are wonderful, and I don’t think I could live without my steel pot scrubbers (seriously – try scrubbing burnt rice out of a pan with a dish brush. Ain’t gonna happen). These things are all inexpensive, last a while, and can be bought in bulk.

Also, cute spray bottles! And here we the see the other two members of my matching set (as per this post: Tub Cleaning)

I keep vinegar in the green one and water with a squirt of dish soap in the pink one.

Vinegar is great for things like dough dried up in a bowl, or egg yolk hardened on a plate. Spray the dish in question, set it aside, and come back to it 5 – 10 minutes later. The vinegar should have softened the residue significantly, making it easier to scrub off. It also works for great for cleaning flour-dusted counter tops, or adding a little extra sanitization (is this a word?) action to your cutting boards.

Aaaand diluted dish soap is awesome when you only have a few dishes and don’t want to fill up your sink or waste a whole squirt of dish soap on a coffee mug. I wouldn’t keep this concoction around for more than a couple days – ’cause of bacteria. I go through mine fast enough that this isn’t an issue.

Also, I should say that my sister has no dishwasher, and a sink with only one basin. What she does to conserve dish soap is kind of genius: She fills a bowl with soapy water and sets it to the side to dip her sponge/brush into.

Moving on.

4. Drying dishes and putting them away is not fun, but it’s worth it.

Do I do this every time? No. But, when I do, my kitchen experience is much better. I feel productive, and my kitchen counters are clean and clear and ready for my next meal prep session – because the dishes never end.

….And, now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cry for forever.

(Or, actually I am going to make pizza. Because, it’s pizza night).

What about you? Do dishes make you despair of life? Do you have any tips – anything you do to make the whole process easier?


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