|There is almost invariably a waste of effort in both the washing
and the drying of dishes. This may be due to:
- Poorly arranged dish-washing equipments.
- Inadequate utensils for dish-washing.
- Lack of forethought in preparing the dishes for washing and
too many motions in washing and drying them.
Since dish-washing is one of the constant duties of housekeeping,
efficiency methods, i.e. methods which accomplish satisfactory
results with the fewest motions and in the least time, should be
applied to it. The washing of dishes, invariably considered
commonplace, may become an interesting problem if it is made a
matter of motion study.2
For thorough and rapid dish-washing, the following equipment is
- A sink placed at a height that admits of an erect position
while washing dishes, and equipped with two draining boards, one
on each side of the sink, or with one draining board on the left
- dish and draining pans
- wire dish-cloth or pot-scraper
- dish-cloths (not rags)
- rack for drying cloths and towels
- soap-holder or can of powdered soap
- can of scouring soap
- large cork for scouring; tissue paper or newspapers cut in
convenient size for use
- rack made of slats for drying brushes
Preparing Dishes for Washing.
If possible, as soon as serving dishes, i.e. dishes used at the
dining table, are soiled, scrape away bits of food from them. The
scraping may be done with:
- a piece of soft paper
- a knife or spoon
The latter is doubtless the most commonly used for dish scraping,
but it is less efficient and may scratch china. If it is impossible
to wash dishes soon after soiling, let them soak in water until they
can be washed.
Note the draining board on each side of the sink, the dish-cupboard
in the upper left corner, and the rack for drying brushes below the
Need special care before washing, especially if they have held
greasy foods. "Oil and water do not mix!" The grease from dish-water
often collects in the drain-pipe and prevents or retards the
drainage of waste water. This often means expensive plumber's bills
and great inconvenience. Bear in mind the following cautions Before
putting a utensil which has held fat into the dish-water, always
wipe it carefully with a piece of paper. After wiping most of the
grease from a pan or kettle, the remaining fat can be entirely
removed by filling the utensil with hot water and then adding
washing-soda. Boil the solution a few minutes. Fat and washing-soda
react and form soap; hence the effectiveness of this method (This
method should not be applied to aluminum utensils; washing-soda or
any alkaline substance makes a dark stain on aluminum)
Utensils for Dish Washing
- wire dish-cloths
- plate scraper
Utensils used in cooking can generally be washed with greater
efficiency if they are soaked before washing. Fill each dish or pan
with water, using cold water for all utensils which have held milk,
cream, eggs, flour, or starch, and hot water for all dishes having
contained sugar or syrup.
Arrange dishes and all the requisite dish-washing utensils in
convenient order for washing, placing all of one kind of dishes
together. Also place the dishes to be washed at the "right" of the
dish-pan. Wash them and place the washed dishes at the "left" of the
pan. A dish-washer invariably holds a dish that is being washed in
her left hand and the dish-cloth or mop in her right hand. That
there may be no unnecessary motions, the dishes should be placed to
drain after washing at the left of the dish-pan. In this way there
is no crossing of the left hand over the right arm as there would be
if the washed dishes were placed at the right of the dish-pan. A
cupboard located above the draining board at the left makes the
storing of dishes an efficient process.
Washing and Scouring Dishes and Utensils
Fill the dish-pan about two thirds full of hot water. "Soap" the
water before placing the dishes in the pan; use soap-powder, a
soap-holder, or a bar of soap. If the latter is used, do not allow
it to remain in the water. Fill another pan about two thirds full of
hot water for rinsing the dishes. A wire basket may be placed in the
Place the dishes, a few at a time, in the dish-pan. Wash the
cleanest dishes first, usually in the following order: glasses,
silverware, cups, saucers, plates, large dishes, platters, cooking
utensils, then the soap-dish and dish-pan. In washing decorated
china, use soap sparingly. Do not wash glassware in very hot water.
Use slices of potato, finely torn bits of blotting paper, or egg
shells to clean the inside of water bottles or vinegar cruets.
Wooden-handled utensils or the cogs of the Dover egg beater should
not soak in water.
If the cogs of the egg beater are soiled, wipe them with a damp
cloth. Change the dish-water occasionally, not allowing it to become
cold or greasy.
Wash steel knives and forks and place them without rinsing on a tin
pan to scour. With a cork apply powdered bath brick or other
scouring material to the steel. Again wash the scoured utensils,
rinse, and dry. If there are any stains on tin, iron, or enamel
ware, remove with scouring soap. Apply the latter with a cork, or
wring out the dish-cloth as dry as possible, rub scouring soap on
it, and apply to the utensils. Scrub meat, pastry or bread boards,
wooden rolling pins, and wooden table tops with cold water and
scouring soap. Then rinse and wipe the scoured wood with a cloth
which is free from grease. If it is not necessary to scrub meat,
pastry, or bread boards on both sides, they should be rinsed on the
clean side to prevent warping.
Rinsing and Draining Dishes
Place the washed dishes in wire baskets or in dish-racks. If the
former has been placed in the rinsing pan, the basket may be lifted
out of the water to drain the dishes. In case the washed dishes are
placed in dish-racks, rinse them by pouring hot water over them and
let them drain again.
Drying Dishes and Utensils
If such dishes as plates, platters, and saucers are placed upright
to drain and are rinsed with very hot water, no towel-drying is
required. Glassware and silver should be dried with a soft towel.
Towels made from flour sacks or from glass toweling are good for
Coarser towels may be used to dry cooking utensils. To prevent
rusting, dry tin, iron, and steel utensils most thoroughly. After
using a towel on these wares it is well to place them on the back of
the range or in the warming oven. Woodenware should be allowed to
dry thoroughly in the open air. Stand boards on end until dry.
Care of Dish-Towels and Cloths
Use dish-towels and cloths for no other purpose than washing and
drying dishes. It is a matter of much importance to keep dish-towels
and cloths clean. To clean the towels and cloths soak them in cold
water. Then wash in hot soapy water and rinse them well. Wring,
stretch, and hang to dry on a rack, or preferably in the sun. At
least once a week boil the towels. First soak, wash, and rinse them
as directed above. Then place them in cold water and heat the water
until it boils. Wring, stretch, and hang to dry.
Care of the Sink
If the sink is of porcelain or enamel, it may be cleaned with soap,
but not with scouring soap or powder. The latter wears away the
smooth finish, makes it slightly rough and hence more difficult to
clean. Before applying soap to a sink, wring out the cloth used in
cleaning it as dry as possible and then with the hand push any water
standing in the sink down the drainpipe. Then apply soap to the
cloth and wash the sink. "Do not let the water run from the faucet
while cleaning the sink." If the dirt and grease on a sink do not
yield to soap, apply a small quantity of kerosene. After cleaning,
rinse the sink by opening the hot-water faucet, letting a generous
supply of water flow down the drain-pipe so as to rinse the trap.
The drain-pipe and trap of a sink need special cleaning
occasionally. This is often done by pouring a solution of
washing-soda down the drain. If this is used, special care should be
taken to rinse the drain with much hot water. As previously
explained, grease and washing-soda form soap. If the latter is
allowed to remain in the trap, it may harden and stop the
drain-pipe. Because of the formation of soap and the possible
stoppage of the drain-pipe when washing-soda is used, kerosene is
advised. To use this, first flush the drain with about half a gallon
of hot water. Immediately pour in one half cupful of kerosene. Let
the kerosene remain in the trap for at least 5 minutes. Then rinse
with another half gallon of water. Kerosene emulsifies grease and
makes it easy to rinse away.
Suggestions for Personal Neatness in the Home
For both comfort and cleanliness a washable gown should be worn in
the kitchen or the gown should be well covered by an apron. It is
advisable to cover the hair with a hair net or cap. Rings are an
inconvenience when worn in the kitchen. The hands should be washed
before preparing or cooking food, and after touching the hair or
handkerchief. It is desirable to have a hand towel conveniently
Clean cooking means clean tasting. This can be done by taking some
of the food with the cooking spoon and then pouring it from the
cooking spoon into a teaspoon. Taste from the teaspoon.
Footnote 2: In case it is necessary for
one to wash dishes at a sink which is placed too low, the dish-pan
may be raised by placing it on an inverted pan or on a sink-rack,
which may be purchased for this purpose.