Cleaning Up After Dinner: Some Advice

You’ve just eaten a beautifully cooked meal after hours slaving away at the oven.

Your spirits are high…until dinner ends and you have to tackle the mess you created along with that delicious meal. You can’t see the worktop, and pots and pans are piled so high in the sink that you think to yourself, I’ll let them soak for a bit, then come back to wash. Next thing you know, it’s morning, and the dishes are still staring accusingly at you from the sink.

Sound familiar? If after-dinner clean-up sounds like a miserable job to you, then read on for some hopefully helpful tips for making things a little breezier.

Clean As You Go

Preparing dinner isn’t all chopping onions and peeling potatoes. Between waiting for water to boil or a casserole to bake, you may find yourself with free time.

Rather than squeezing in an episode of your favourite TV programme during this time, why not take the opportunity to wash the utensils, pans and other dishes you may have used?

Why not wipe that explosion of food from the worktop before it becomes a hard, crusty mess? Cleaning as you go makes the tasks more manageable, as you’ll be dealing with a smaller workload each time, versus tackling everything in one go after you finish cooking, when it’s all had time to pile up.

Clean the Large Items First

If the dishes are piled in the sink, don’t fret. The largest items, such as the pots and pans, naturally take up a lot of space, so your workload could be smaller than you think. Clean these items first, and you’ll see how much smaller your dish pile is now. See, this is easy!

Minimise Cooking Utensils

Reducing how many cooking tools you use can make after-dinner washing a bit easier. Say you’re following a recipe that requires you to use 100g of something, 100g cup of something else, and 100g of still another thing.

Rather than use three different measuring cups or bowls to weigh them out, use one, adding the ingredients to your pot or pan as you go?

This may not seem like much, but when you apply this to larger items, like pots and pans, you can greatly minimise how much you end up needing to wash.

Let the Dishes Soak

You can no longer use the excuse of ‘letting the dishes soak for a bit’ if you let them soak before dinner! Pile the dishes you think will give you the toughest time – those with the hardest stains – in a sink filled with hot, soapy water and allow them to sit there as you enjoy your meal. By the time you finish eating, the crusts on these dishes will have softened enough for you to get started on them right away. Which brings us to our final point…

Don’t Delay

Sure, cleaning up after dinner is probably the last thing you want to do to end your night, but think about it…the more you wait, the harder it will be for you in the long run.

Food will dry and harden on dishes, worktops and the oven, making it more difficult to clean them. Other dishes will be added to the pile in the sink. Leaving things in the sink overnight can put a serious damper on your mood the next day, and you may lack the motivation to tackle them when time is short in the morning.

The solution? Get. It. Done. As soon as you can.

Do whatever will make it easier for you.

Set a timer for just 10 to 15 minutes and see how much you can get done with clean-up. You can do a lot more in 10 to 15 minutes than you think – and who knows, if you haven’t finished cleaning after the time is up, you may be motivated to keep the momentum going and finish the cleaning.

Until next time…