My Secret

I know many of you are getting ready for Thanksgiving this week, so I’ll make this short and sweet.  If, like me, you’re the type of person who washes your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, and if like me, you’re the person responsible for washing the dishes, you’ll want to know my secret.  (The fact that my dishwasher was manufactured sometime during the middle of The Cold War is the reason I wash the dishes before it does.)

To make cleanup easy for all those pots, pans, and casserole dishes that have baked on gunk, just add a tablespoon of fabric softener to the dish, then fill the rest with hot water and let it soak for a few minutes.  You won’t need to scrub anything at all.  If you don’t have fabric softener, hand lotion or hair conditioner work just as well, too.  It softens the gunk and helps it pull off with minimal work by you.

Talk to me:  Do you already utilize this trick when you wash dishes?  Do you wash dishes before you put them in the dishwasher?  Do you have any secrets that make cleanup easier?  How old is the oldest appliance in your house?

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48 thoughts on “My Secret

  1. Crikey young Rachel a Cold War Dishwasher must be worth a pretty penny these days. Also did you know that the cheapest cola drink cleans the loo spotless – simply pour half a fuselage (i.e. big plastic bottle) into the toilet; leave for a couple of hours then flush…bingo, as good as new. Not that I do it mind for it is one of Shirley’s special cleaning ideas!

  2. Rachael, I am a perfectionist. I do wash the dishes beforehand. And I keep the house very very clean. Thanks for the tip. I just bought a potato ricer yesterday. It squeezes hot potatoes through the hand held machine so they are easier to mash. One year I bought mashed potatoes from Fresh Market. (I hid the plastic dish so he would not know) My husband said “These are the best mashed potatoes I have ever eaten!” I decided to be more honest this year. 🙂

    • A potato ricer? Please let me know how that works for you. I generally just make the potatoes with a hand mixer and evaporated milk. Then I use the wire whip attachment on the mixer to finish getting the lumps out. 🙂

      • No this thing is hand held and apparently squeezes the hot potatoes through a bunch of holes on each side. (picture giant pliers) I will let you know how it goes! Prior to getting this, I did it the way you do. but I use cream instead of milk, which I heard is a mistake. We are supposed to use whole milk. Boy do I sound like an expert!

      • Yeah, I use whole milk if I have to add to the can of evaporated milk. But the evaporated milk makes them creamier for some reason. The ricer sounds cool!

  3. I thought you said you were no Martha Stewart? This sounds brilliant to me, I have hair conditioner (I’ve never used fabric softener) and I’m going to try this! When we bought our 100-year old house, we renovated the kitchen so all the appliances are roughly eight years old now. Won’t it be great when they all break down within days of each other? Fully expecting that. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

      • Oh gosh Rachel! So funny you said that. He actually home schools now and I told him to do his dishes after he has lunch. (I’m at work during this time.) When I come home, I find whatever dishes he ‘washed’ in the dish dryer, caked with, what is usually mac n’ cheese residue, which is much harder to get off some hours later. I told him, from now on, just let the dishes soak.

      • Oh, I home schooled my son after 8th grade – and my house got SO messy after that! I think boys figure if they do it wrong on purpose, we won’t ask them to do it again. LOL! Maybe if you make him eat off his “clean” dishes next time, he’ll figure out how to wash them properly. (Or, if he’s like my kids, he won’t, but he’ll tell the neighborhood how you make him eat off dirty plates.)

  4. Rachel, I do wash (or hot water rinse forever) dishes before putting in the dishwasher. If I had my druthers I’d not have a dishwasher. But, it’s a must (and must be SS and new) to sell the house. No old appliances around either. Good trick with the fabric softener. I’ll try it! Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I am the oldest appliance in our house, Rachel. Well, actually, our house is older than I am. 🙂 But I do the dishes, by hand, most days. The little guideline that Karen and I have set up is, one cooks, the other does the dishes. She usually cooks, therefore … On holidays, though, when the kids come over, we do use the dishwasher. And I will rinse the dishes before loading the machine. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

  6. I do have a dishwasher- very new and my first one EVER. I don’t pre-wash anything, but I also don’t put my pots and pans or knives in it. I wash them by hand (sometimes I’ll skip the dishwasher completely- just out of habit). I will have to try this trick on casserole dishes and my crock pot cooker. Those things seem to always need a second washing. Thanks Rachel!

  7. I’ve never heard this tip before, but it’s worth a try. Thanks! I do all the Thanksgiving cooking, so my husband does the clean up. 🙂 I rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, but not wash (unless there’s something on it that I know the dishwasher won’t remove).

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