Should I Rinse My Dishes After Washing Them By Hand?

Whether you use a dishwasher or do it by hand, nothing is more likely to provoke arguments than the hundred and one ways of doing the washing up. Disagreements may centre on whether, after washing the dishes with detergent, you should simply dry them with a tea towel (suds and all); leave them to drain until the suds disappear; or rinse them by re-filling the sink with fresh water or running water over them from the tap or a jug.

There are no right answers to these questions and much of it boils down to practicality, habit, personal or cultural preference.

What is not controversial is that things have moved on so much since the days when the washing up was done in a single pot sink with traditional hot and cold taps, limited hot water and a tiny draining board. And this has made the rinsing option much easier.

Before mixer taps and double sinks became common place, rinsing chemical detergents off dishes and leaving them to dry naturally might have been impractical in most kitchens and old habits die hard. And we knew a lot less about the dangers of ingesting chemicals on a daily basis than we do now.

Many people say they cannot understand the British habit of washing and rinsing dishes in the same dirty water and drying them without washing off the suds. They say this is like having a bath and not rinsing off the soap. It certainly seems to be the case that more and more people now rinse their dishes off despite this being the least sustainable option in terms of water consumption.

So what do you do? Are you motivated by health concerns and baulk at the idea of chemical resi-dues on your plates? Or are you more influenced by environmental factors and wouldn’t dream of ‘wasting’ valuable natural resources (and time) by rinsing under running water?

Whatever your opinions, for those who still wash their dishes by hand, the debate shows no sign of being resolved any time soon!

What’s your preference once you’ve done the washing-up bit?

Author: radicalteatowel

This is the blog of The Radical Tea Towel Company. We'll be writing about politics, inspiration and tea. Check out our website, , when you get a moment, for some unique political gift ideas.

6 thoughts on “Should I Rinse My Dishes After Washing Them By Hand?”

  1. My preference is to allow the dishwasher to dry them off. As you point out, things have moved on so much since the washing up was done in a sink.

  2. Unless you’re washing your dishes with bleach or something silly, you shouldn’t need to rinse them after washing, indeed doing so is an unnecessary waste of water. Dishwashers do it anyway.

    As for rinsing before dishwashing, since getting our diswasher a few months ago we’ve willfully put the scummiest, filthiest plates and dishes in without so much as a brush of the stuff off into the kitchen caddy, with no ill effects as far as I can see.

    1. What do you mean by ‘you shouldn’t rinse them’? Not rinsing dishes is a disgusting and unhealthy custom of lazy people. Read the instructions on any washing up liquid. It always states ‘Rinse with clean water’ or ‘Do not ingest’. But I guess some people like their babies to ingest petrochemicals… Think of cancer, egzema and all other sort of health issues after eating chemicals…

  3. Its not just the washing up liquid that is my worry, its the fine food bits that`s are mixed in the water and consequently sticking to your dishes after they have been washed them. These food particles could encourage bacteria to form on the dishes.

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