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What is your handwash routine?

This is something that has always been a mystery to me, and it was just stirred up by the dish rack thread. I didn't want to hijack that one, but wasn't sure if this really fit here.... I don't know. Shut it down or move it as necessary I guess. But I really feel like I need to ask.

When I was a kid, every family I knew had a double bowl stainless steel sink, and the bowls were equally sized. I was taught to fill the left bowl with hot soapy water, right bowl with even hotter clean water. Wash in the left, rinse in the right, put in the drainer.

As I got older I started seeing single bowl sinks, or double bowls where one was much narrower and/or shallower than the other. I'm just so confused by them! Maybe it comes from my dad being such a hardass about my dishwashing skills, but I just can't fathom how people wash dishes in "non-standard" sinks.

Are you using one of those wands with soap in the handle to scrub and then turning on the faucet briefly to rinse? Running the water constantly? Washing them all and then rinsing afterward? I know I sound like a total idiot, and I promise I'm not, but.... I don't know. It's just been bugging me for years, and I don't have any fancy friends (okay, no friends) with sinks that I can experiment in.

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  1. I have a double sink. I have hot, soapy water in the left one. I wash a sink full and put them in the right sink. Then I rinse with hot water. No (hell, no!) I don't run the water constantly (I live in CA and we've been conserving water forever). As I rinse one thing the water spills over onto the others so it doesn't take as much water to rinse those items. Then into the dish drainer...and adjacent towel on the counter as I have so much to hand wash.

    13 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Is your drainer one of the in-sink kind? That's another thing I never quite got. If the drainer is there, where you do rinse? But I guess if you're rinsing with the faucet instead of a full bowl of water, you can just do it over the rack.

      EDIT: I almost put an (ACK!) after the running the water constantly thing, but I didn't want to offend anyone who does that. I grew up in Arizona, so that would hurt my soul.

      1. re: Kontxesi

        No, the dish drainer sits to the right of the sink. Thanks for the "ACK!" comment :)

        1. re: c oliver

          Most people I know (or at least, the few people I've seen wash dishes) DO leave the faucet running. I've been known to reach over and turn it off while they're soaping the next dish. It never goes over well.

          1. re: PinkLynx

            They probably leave it running when they brush their teeth also :)

              1. re: DuffyH

                You're talking to the person who used to have a sign in her bathroom:

                "If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down."

                And I was serious about it.

                1. re: c oliver

                  We did that through Sandy Eggo's routine droughts, but I didn't advertise it.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    Well, you can imagine how SFers get really out there with issues :)

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        You betcha! My favesie thing about that wonderful place :)

                2. re: DuffyH

                  Hi, Duffy:

                  I'm against profligate waste (I have one of the new clothes washers that seems to not even immerse the clothes) , but here where water is cheap and plentiful, I have no guilt over running the tap a little bit longer, running an extra rinse cycle, etc. It's not like I'm taking away anything from anyone.

                  Aloha,
                  Pua'a Wai (Water Hog) Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Hi Kaleo,

                    <... here where water is cheap and plentiful...>

                    Reminds me of the time I'm standing in line at Sea-First bank (back when we did that) and 2 dudes are talking about electric bills. One of them opines that our bills would be much lower if Puget Power wasn't selling our excess electricity to California. He felt it should be stored for fall/winter when the Columbia flows at a lower rate. He buddy agreed.

                    I went into the ladies room to laugh my ass off.

                    1. re: DuffyH

                      So much for the younger generation being tech savvy! Just having an app on your phone that will tell you stuff doesn't make you smart.

      2. I first thought you meant washing hands! Anyway, if I had a single bowl sink (presumably large), I'd use a plastic tup or tough stainless dutch oven as a place to contain soapy water. I already do this even though I have a double sink. Say, I have a pasta pot to clean. It's not really that dirty. So I'll fill that with soapy water rather than the half sink and wash items in there.

        I'd leave the rest of the single sink (or second sink) empty and holding things until it was full of stuff to be spray-rinsed.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bada Bing

          I frequently do what you describe. Washing things in a large'ish container. When I grind meat, I wash all the attachments in the bowl I grind the meat into.

          1. re: Bada Bing

            This is what I do when I have a giant pot too big to put in the dishwasher. I have a giant single sink (I wanted a really big one so I could lay completely flat a roasting pan that needed soaking (which happens a few times a month in our house).
            Other than a giant roasting pan, the only thing I really wash by hand all the time is the parts to my juicer. I spray rinse, soap up, scrub, rinse some more, etc. in the one sink and the whole process takes about 4 minutes, which is much less time than it would take to fill the sink with water.

            1. re: Bada Bing

              If you go way back, big single sinks were the norm. My grandmothers house, built in the 1930's, had a big single sink (no garbage disposal), she had a plastic tub she put in the sink and filled with soapy water to wash.

            2. I grew up with the double stainless sink on a septic system. Every drop of water better serve a purpose before it goes down the drain. Still have the double bowl stainless, and it's so comfortingly familiar.

              Now with a dishwasher, the only hand wash items are the good stemware and Chicago Sports (Bears/Blackhawks) beer mugs, and pots/pans. So the stemware gets washed over the pot/pan, then the pan can soak a bit while I load the dishwasher, then I finish up. Sometimes its an overnight soak if toddler is sassy or things were more "caramelized" than anticipated. If I do leave the water running, its a very thin trickle.

              1. all dishes beside sink, drip soap so a little bit gets on every piece. Leave the water running in a small trickle and wash and rinse.

                I don't know why but I can't even watch my s.o do dishes leaves soapy bubbles.. Im so worried about soap ruining a dish. I think I must have had it happen once long ago. I smell spatchulas and frying pans almost unconsciously. Definitely one of my weirder habits.

                1. I mostly use the dishwasher, but if I hand wash dishes, I wash in hot soapy water, as you would. But I rinse under warm running water. Really, when you think about it, the faucet rinsing gets rid of the soap film. When you rinse in a tub or bowl of water, the soap film from the previous dishes just gets redistributed onto the last dishes that are rinsed.