Dirty dishes: the inevitable side effect of cooking delicious meals at home. Let’s start the new year off by making your sink look as good as you feel after eating a home-cooked, wholesome dinner. We’re focusing on cleaning your pots and pans today–they see the bulk of the cooking process and end up the grimiest. But the same tips can be applied to plates, bowls, forks and spoons you’re washing by hand.


The residue from searing steak or baking up mac ‘n cheese will stick to the bottom of your pan like glue. Try and release the bits right away and you’ll undergo an exercise in frustration.  An overnight soak will loosen the grime without work on your part, making it easy to scrub away with soap and water in the morning. Add a little bit of soap to the water before you soak.


The hottest water your hands can tolerate will do wonders for getting dishes sparkingly clean. Get yourself a pair of comfortable, thick, non-leaky rubber gloves and you’ll be able to crank up the heat really high. A bonus is that the hot water evaporates quickly, so your plates, pans, and spoons will dry off extra quickly after washing.

Strength + Scrubbing = Clean

Use your muscles! If you didn’t get to the gym before dinner, this is your chance to exercise those biceps. Put some energy into washing those dishes! Press hard with your sponge or dish rag: you’ll be surprised what your strength can do. A slightly abrasive surface will certainly help, though. Use the rough side of a sponge, a Brillo pad, a balled-up ball of foil, or a heaping spoonful of of baking soda, which can gently wear away at the stains. Be sure to check carefully if your scrubbing is scratching the surface of your pan; if it is, be sure to switch to something softer.

Tricks up Your Sleeve

The right products will get your dishes really clean. You’ll need a soap that really cuts through the grease–Palmolive is a good choice. Barkeepers Friend, on the other hand, is for when you need to whip out the big guns. It’s a serious product, one that will get rust, residue, and build-up off pans you never thought would shine again. Squeezes of fresh lemon can add an extra shine; rinse it off before putting the dishes in the rack.