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No Dishwasher - No Problem

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Published: November 14, 2018

Reviewed: May 06, 2022

hand washing plates
Andrew J Shearer/iStock/Thinkstock

Dishwashers are a convenient and efficient way to help clean up after meals. In a world of advancing technology, it might be hard to believe but not everyone has a dishwasher. Fortunately, it's still possible to effectively and safely wash dishes and other utensils by hand.

Take the following steps to ensure your dishes are clean and safe to use, if you clean your dishes by hand.

  • Scrape or wipe food off dishes before washing.
  • Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water (at least 110°F).
  • Rinse well.
  • Allow dishes to air dry – avoid using a towel to dry dishes as it can spread bacteria.

Remember to wash cutting boards and any other kitchen surfaces used during food preparation, too. They can be cleaned in a similar way by wiping down the surface to remove food and other materials using clean dishcloths or paper towels and hot, soapy water.

An additional safety measure involves sanitizing the washed surfaces and utensils by using a diluted solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, as this will indicate the amount of water and bleach that are needed and other precautions that should be taken. Allow the bleach solution to stay on the surface for a few minutes, then rinse and air dry.

Keeping kitchen utensils and surfaces clean reduces the risk of cross-contamination and helps to prevent foodborne illness.

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