The Efficient Way to Wash Dishes

Source: The Text-Book of Cooking (Greer, 1915)

I’m always looking for household tips that will make my life easier. Here’s some hundred-year-old advice on how to wash dishes efficiently.

Be Efficient

The following “efficiency” method for washing dishes in a sink has been suggested. A sink provided with a stopper over the drainpipe and with a rubber hose attached to the hot water faucet saves the use of several pans and eliminates lifting the dishes from one pan to another.

Place the prepared dishes in proper order in the sink, arrange the stopper over the drainpipe and fill the sink with cold water. Allow the dishes to soak. Remove the stopper, drain off the cold water; replace the stopper and fill the sink with hot water.

As the hot water issues from the hose, hold a soap holder at the mouth of the hose and “wash” the dishes by directing the water from the hose all over the dishes. Allow the dishes to remain in the hot water about 15 minutes. If necessary, wash with a cloth or dish mop.

Again remove the stopper and drain off the soapy water. Replace the stopper and fill the sink with clear bot water. Lift the dishes out of the sink and place the china dishes on dish racks or drainers. If necessary, dry them. The drain and dry the glasses and silver.

A Text-book of Cooking (1915) by Carlotta Greer

33 thoughts on “The Efficient Way to Wash Dishes

  1. Oh my… if I did dishes that way I would be doing dishes all day! Just put a little cold water in your hot cooking pans after using and plop on a lid. Go enjoy your food,after eating the pans and pots will easily be washed up…unless you really burned something.😄

    1. Thanks for the reminder. My mother-in-law used your method of putting water in hot pans. I haven’t consistently used it in years, but need to get back to using it. It definitely makes clean-up easier.

    1. Probably some components of this method were new a hundred-years-ago as people got indoor plumbing, rubber hoses, etc. – but I guessing that the basics behind it were around for much longer.

  2. Efficiency? I spent some years washing dishes in a cabin with gravity-fed water from a barrel in a tree, heating water on the stove and using two dish pans, and I was more efficient than that! I suspect there’s a direct connection between today’s iGadgets and the maker of that dish rack: first they invent the gadget and then they invent reasons that we have to have it. 🙂

    1. Whew, washing dishes with water from a barrel sounds hard. I think you’re right. Somehow the “efficiency” method described sounds like it drags out dishwashing over a longer period of time than is necessary.

      1. It actually was pretty pleasant — but of course in a non-electrified cabin in the middle of the woods, there wasn’t much else to do in the evening except the dishes, and then some reading. It was great.

    1. So am I. 🙂 I’ve washed a lot of dishes over the years – and it’s not that hard; yet somehow this author manages to make dishwashing sound like an incredibly difficult task.

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