Readers’ Favorites: Dishwashing Tips

After I posted my favorite tip for scrubbing starchy pots last week, some readers weighed in with their favorite dishwashing tips. Those tips were so great that I felt they were definitely worthy of their own post. The genius needs to be shared!

Elizabeth said: My favorite tip for doing the dishes is that baking soda is your best friend! I use it to scrub all kinds of tough gunk off of pots and pans, when a regular scrubbing isn’t doing the trick.

Cherie said: My best tip is to fill stuff with water as you put it in the sink if you can’t, or won’t, be dealing with it right away . . . When I empty any pan I put water in it and if I’m not using the burner, put it right back on the stove [and let the sticky mess cook off] – same for a crockpot or roasting pan – dishes in the sink get filled, not rinsed – in a while when I deal with it nothing is stuck on – eggy dishes and pans get cold water, everything else hot – greasy stuff gets one drop of soap [I literally hold on to dish soap forever LOL]

Wanda said: I use an old orange or onion bag as a dish scrubber. No one in my family understands that a regular dish clothe must be flat at all times to dry or it gets stinky and full of germs. With the mesh bags, they can leave them crumbled up behind the faucet, but they don’t get gross. Last, if you burn milk in a pan, cook vinegar in it to loosen up the burnt mess then scrub it out with baking soda and or salt.

Diana said: For baked on gunk (like eggs, especially!), mix a little white vinegar with a little cream of tartar. Rub/pour it over the stuck-on food, let sit 15 seconds, and then it should come right off!

Brenda said: One of the best tips I’ve heard for cleaning out pans with burnt or baked on food (like when you carmelize onions or broil meat)…put a used dryer sheet in the pan with a little dish soap. Let it set for a few minutes & it comes right off. (Overnight if needed.) If you have a stove with the burner drip pans that get so grimmy this works great for that too. This is one of the best cleaning ideas i’ve found in a long time. I now have a small container with used dryer sheets in my kitchen.

Michelle said: Mine is not necessarily for pots and pans, but if you let your glass coffee carafe sit too long with a tiny bit of coffee in it, and it boils dry, you can clean it using this old trick from my waitressing days: First, let the pot cool thoroughly on a DRY countertop. (Trust me, if it is wet, the pot will shatter. NOT PRETTY!) Next, place several crushed or broken ice cubes in the carafe, sprikle in about a half cup of salt and squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Then, swirl the pot around. The mixture will clean the pot and break up that burnt on stuff in the bottom. Finally, rinse well in cool water. (The ice/salt/lemon thing also works for vases that you can’t get a scrubby thing into.)

And my favorite tip of all! Jen said: I am very lucky. My husband actually does the dishes/last bit of cleanup in the kitchen. By the end of the night I want to exercise but I wouldn’t have the time if I had to cook and do all the dishes. So my hubby does the dishes now. I of course clean while I cook so everything is wiped down and the pots and pans are already soaking.

So now here’s another question for you – What are your best tips for keeping your refrigerator/freezer clean? This is a constant struggle for me. I tend to lose leftovers until their offending odor reminds me that they’re there.