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Clean Less: Ways to Create Fewer Dirty Dishes

Abby Slutsky is constantly looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce chores when it comes to cleaning.

Try these tips for reducing the amount of dishes and utensils you need to wash.  Photo by Alexy Almond from Pexels

Try these tips for reducing the amount of dishes and utensils you need to wash. Photo by Alexy Almond from Pexels

A broken kitchen appliance--especially a dishwasher-- can be inconvenient. Even if you have a warranty for repairs, sometimes it can take weeks to schedule a repair. Often you must submit a claim, then it must be approved. Eventually, the warranty company will identify a repair company, and you may have to contact them to arrange for scheduling. Thus, the process can take a while, and if you are used to having a dishwasher, it can feel frustrating to be without one. (Of course, if you do not own a dishwasher that needs repairing or do not have one at all, you may still want to cut down on an abundance of dirty dishes in your household.) Furthermore, given the cost of restaurants and take-out food, you are likely to cook with or without a working dishwasher. Nevertheless, there are ways that you can reduce the number of dishes you need to wash.

Using paper plates and cups helps eliminat dirty dishes.

Using paper plates and cups helps eliminat dirty dishes.

1. Paper Goods Are Your Friend

Using paper goods will help reduce the number of dishes you need to wash; however, they will not eliminate the need to wash dishes. You are likely to use utensils, pots, measuring cups and other items that you must wash when you are cooking. To keep costs down, remember that you can put snacks or sandwich on a napkinl, so you do not have to waste a paper plate every time you eat a snack.

2. Re-Use Your Glasses for the Day

If you drink a lot during the day, you have a choice. Use paper cups, glassware or a water bottle. If you decide on glassware, if you are drinking the same beverage, keep refilling your glass instead of taking a new one.

3. Make Meals You Can Eat for a Few Days

If you do not mind eating the same thing for a few days, make a large pot of chili or other entree that will last a couple of days. When you take it out the next day, put it directly in a bowl and microwave it. You will skip cleaning a pot the second day.

Using your barbeque cuts down on pots and pans. Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

Using your barbeque cuts down on pots and pans. Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

4. Use Your Barbeque

If you have an outdoor barbeque, now is the time to use it. Other than tongues and paper plates to put the cooked food on, you probably will not dirty any dishes. Consider putting cooked food directly from the barbeque onto a paper plate for each person, so you don’t have to waste an extra plate to serve the food family style.

5. Skip Salad and Serving Plates

Serve directly from the pot or oven to individual plates. Serve sides you pick up from the store in the containers they come in. If you buy bagged lettuce or a head of salad, purchase a small amount of prepared vegetables from the store salad bar, so you do not have to use a peeler and knife cutting and cleaning vegetables. Serve salad next to your main course and vegetable instead of putting it on its own plate.

6. Make Food That Does Not Require Utensils

Serve sandwiches, pizza, chicken fingers, and other foods that do not require you to use utensils. Choose snacks that do not require utensils or plates too.

7. Line Cookware

Use a crockpot liner to keep the majority of food debris off of your crockpot. If you do not use a disposable pan, line yours with tin foil and nonstick spray. Put parchment or foil on a cookie sheet when reheating pizza, chicken fingers or other items. You may need to wipe it down lightly, but you will not have to clean off a lot of excess food

8. Make Foods You Cook in Water

Items cooked in water generally use one pot, and do not make the pot very dirty. Try hard boiled eggs for breakfast instead of scrambled. (Best of all, you can make a few ahead of time, and refrigerate them for a quick snack or breakfast.) Try hotdogs for lunch or corned beef for dinner.

9. Use Frozen Entree Foods

Frozen foods are typically cooked in the containers you purchase them in. Lasagna and other easy to prepare ready-made foods do not dirty a lot of diishes because there is no prep work. Frozen foods are usually cheaper than ordering in or taking out, but they are convenient and reduce the number of dishes and utensils you use.

10. Prepare Salad in a Sealable Bag and Pour It on Plates

Instead of using a salad bowl, put salad into a sealable bag. Add some dressing and shake it to coat. Pour the salad onto each person’s plate.

Reducing the amount of dirt dishes you create will help make cleaning up fast and efficient. Once you get used to creating fewer dirty dishes, you will do it without thinking about it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Abby Slutsky


Abby Slutsky (author) from America on March 30, 2021:

Thanks so much for your time and comment.

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Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 30, 2021:

Your ideas are useful and practical

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on March 29, 2021:

Thanks for reading.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on March 29, 2021:

As always, thanks for reading.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on March 29, 2021:

I've been using some of these methods for years. Cleaning up after 4 children and husband got weary, especially before I got a dishwasher. Lining baking things has been my favorite thing to cut down on the hard cooked-on residues. Thanks for the ideas.



Abby Slutsky (author) from America on March 29, 2021:

Thanks for reading.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2021:

Your suggestions are great, Abby. We have incorporated some of those into our daily lives already, but I appreciate all suggestions that make life simpler.

Alyssa from Ohio on March 29, 2021:

Sadly, I don't have room for a dishwasher in my kitchen. I mainly do the dishes, but recently started my son on the chore. I love this list of helpful tips on reducing the amount dirty dishes. Thank you for sharing!

Mubarak from INDIA on March 29, 2021:

Thanks for sharing such a piece of great information, really it is very helpful for the kitchen. Wonderful keep it up.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 29, 2021:

Thanks for these practical, workable suggestions. Numbers 1-3 sound perfect for the single guy or gal. Number 5? Sure. Helpful!

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on March 29, 2021:

Great article Abby!

I don't have the convenience of a dishwasher, but I don't think I would like one.

All that rinsing off beforehand...I could have my dishes done.

I do use paperplates when I can.

I'm still going to fix my salads in a biwl with all the fixings, but i guess it would simplify things to keep it in the bag.

Water in the pans definitely helps, plus I rinse mine out immediately after cooking.

That way it's not as hard to get out when I do wash them.

Thanks for sharing these tips.

Have a great day.

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