A Necessary Evil
Most people don’t get excited at the prospect of having to clean dishes after a meal. For many, it’s a task that fills them with dread. Hand-washing dishes also has its downsides. It can be time-consuming and bad for the environment. But not everyone has the space (or budget) for an efficient dishwasher. For some, hand-washing is the only option. There’s an upside to doing this tedious chore by hand, though. Research suggests that manually cleaning dishes may have a positive mental effect. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should swap your current mindfulness practice for washing the dishes. But if you’re stuck without a dishwasher, adding a few products to your sink area may help lessen the burden of this most-hated cleaning chore.
Yes, soap does indeed start off germ-free, but that cute little soap bottle sitting by your sink? It’s probably teeming with bacteria. Think of the last time you prepared raw chicken. You probably washed your hands post-prep to rid them of harmful salmonella, but in the process, you likely touched your soap dispenser with those same chicken-slicked hands. A touch-free soap dispenser, like this one from simplehuman, is a great way to avoid contamination. You’ll also save time on cleanup later. Available on Amazon; $59.27.
Natural Dish Soap
Good quality soap is a must for effective dishwashing. Puracy Natural Dish Soap checks all the boxes. It not only cuts through stubborn grease, it’s also moisturizing, so it softens your skin as you clean. It’s sulfate-free and has a pleasant green tea and lime scent—an improvement from the harsh, nose-burning lemon scents of many dishwashing soaps. Available on Amazon; $24.99 for a pack of 6.
Scraping dried-on foods from dirty dishes requires a lot of elbow grease. The OXO Good Grips Soap Dispensing Dish Brush combines the convenience of a soap dispenser and the scrubbing power of a dish brush so that you can tackle ultra-messy plates and cookware with ease. The bristles are safe to use on nonstick pans, and soap comes out at the touch of a button. Available on Amazon; $9.99.
Toss that disgusting bacteria-ridden dish sponge and replace it with a Swedish dishcloth. You can use these eco-friendly cleaning accessories all over your home to wipe up dust and clean dishes. The kitchen towels are ultra-absorbent and safe to toss in your washing machine. The cellulose sponges are also less likely to stink up your kitchen than conventional ones. Available on Amazon; $24.99 for a 10-pack.
Space-Saving Dish Rack
Did you burn rice in your favorite pot? No worries. These multi-purpose Scrub-It pads can help you return your cookware to its former brilliance. The durable sponges can tackle tough cleaning jobs and are even machine washable. Available on Amazon; $10.99 for a pack of 6.
Related: How to Clean Your Cleaning Tools
After slicing up meat, you won’t only contaminate your soap dispenser with your grimy hands. Your faucet handles are also a likely haven for bacteria. A touchless faucet, like the Moen Arbor Motionsense, is handy for keeping your kitchen germ-free. It’s also great for situations when your hands are full and you need to turn on the tap. The Motionsense has two sensors and a pull-down design with power clean technology for when it’s time to wash the dishes. Available on Amazon; $390.
Soapy Sponge Dish
This stainless steel Hykolity double bowl sink is perfect for manual dishwashing thanks to its wide, dual-basin design. It features a soundproof construction to prevent noisy rattling that may occur when in use. Having two bowls allows you to use your stainless steel sink even when one half is filled with dirty dishes. Just don’t let the pile get too out of hand! Available on Amazon ; $239.99.
Gentle Cleaning Cloths
If you’re worried about damaging delicate cookware with scrubbing brushes and heavy-duty bristles, consider these soft, microfiber cleaning cloths instead. You can use these around the house to pick up dust or for dishwashing duties. They’re also machine washable and highly-absorbent. Available on Amazon.
People with sensitive skin may have a hard time tracking down dish soap that doesn’t irritate. Even natural formulas can aggravate reactive skin types. Seventh Generation’s EPA safer choice-certified dishwashing soap is dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic. It’s capable of cutting through grease and food residue while having a minimal environmental impact. Available on Amazon; $19.62 for a pack of 6.
Natural Dish Sponge
If you’re interested in cutting down on plastic use and want to become more sustainable, try out these Miw Piw Loofah Kitchen Scrubbers. The all-natural, plant-based sponges contain zero plastic, and you can safely toss them into your compost bin at the end of their life. They’re also gentle enough to use on all types of cookware. Available on Amazon; $8.99.
Roomy Drying Rack
Lots of dishes to dry but no time to dry them by hand? Set up this high-capacity over-the-sink dish rack and leave your dishes to air dry overnight or while you're working. There’s enough rack space to hold up to 32 bowls and several mugs. The stainless steel rack is easy to clean and has anti-slip feet to prevent it from sliding even in a wet environment. Available on Amazon; $66.99.
This multitasking kitchen workstation from Kraus features an integrated ledge where you can slide in custom-fit accessories to make cleaning dishes a breeze. A roll-up drying rack is easy to store when not in use, a bamboo cutting board helps with meal prep, and a deep, wide stainless steel sink allows for easy cleanup. You can clean as you go by doing all your prep work over the sink. Available on Amazon; $379.95.
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