Basics of Keeping House for 30 Year Olds Who Still Don’t Have Their Stuff Together: Part Two {Dishes}

DSC06012Well I can honestly tell you that the dishes no longer pile up on our counter anywhere near as often as they used to. I didn’t come up with a fancy system or trial twenty different kinds of dish soap like I was planning to (or even two kinds for that matter) BUT I learned a few things and, more importantly, I found motivation to get the dishes done.

WHEN WE DO THEM: all the time! (not actually of course). We had a total mindset overhaul and guys we actually found that in general we LIKE to do them because we like having a clean place (what?!). Here’s what our day looks like, dishes-wise:

  1. Once I’m done with something while I’m cooking I’ll either put it right into the dishwasher or rinse or scrape it and put it in the sink.
  2. If I have some down time while waiting for food to cook, I’ll empty the dishwasher if needed and wash the dishes I’ve used (or any left over from the last meal).
  3. After meals, we’ll load up the dishwasher (we usually run it right after breakfast) and rinse off any other dishes or set them to soak on the counter.
  4. At the end of the day after kiddo goes to bed, I’ll finish off the rest of them and tidy up the kitchen (I put the kettle on while doing these things, then sit down with a cup of tea). I find I feel so much more at peace and satisfied when the counters are clean.


  1. Dish soap (we use the Costco brand)
  2. Dish cloths (hoping to get my hands on some crocheted dish cloths from the lovely ladies at Purl and Company this fall) and/or sponges and scrubbers
  3. Bottle brush
  4. Baking soda and vinegar for tough stuff and disinfecting (I keep my vinegar in a spray bottle next to the sink)
  5. Dishwasher soap (currently using Cascade dishwasher gel although I would love to try out a more natural one, I’ve heard good things about Mrs Meyers…)
  6. Dishwashing basket for small parts (especially comes in handy if you have little ones)
  7. Dish towels (I came across this DIY for cute colorful ones)
  8. Container under the sink for used dish cloths and towels
  9. (Dish rack and rubber gloves, neither of which we use).



  1. Find out whether water in your neighborhood is hard or soft. I learned that the Lower Mainland of BC where I live has really soft water, which means I only need to use about half the amount of soap (excess doesn’t get rinsed away and leaves residue build up on dishes). If you have hard water you’ll need to use a little more soap as well as a rinse aid (vinegar works well) to prevent streaking on your glasses.
  2. You don’t need to prerinse your dishes (scrape, yes, but detergent is made to go after food particles).
  3. Tips on how to load your dishwasher here.
  4. To get the most effective clean run hot water through your tap so that when the dishwasher starts it’s using hot water right away (sometimes takes awhile to warm up).
  5. What not to put in your dishwasher here. (Anyone put their stainless steel pots in? My research on that has come up inconclusive.)



  1. Have each family member use only one cup throughout the day, resulting in less dishes to wash.
  2. Fill up the sink or a bucket with soapy water and put things in as you’re prepping meals, then wash while you’re waiting for food to cook.
  3. Use the hottest water you can handle as it cuts through grease better and the dishes dry faster afterward.
  4. Wash clean to dirty.
  5. How to clean cast iron and burnt pots and pans.
  6. Invest in a dish rack and save time by letting dishes air dry.


  1. The dishwasher.
  2. Your sponges – heat them for 30 seconds in the microwave or wash them in the dishwasher.
  3. Your bottle brush – put it through the dishwasher on the top rack.
  4. The sink.

Anything I missed? Let me know and I’ll update as I go.


I’d love to hear your tips! What do you use? When do you do it? How do you make it fun? And does anyone know how to keep a front loading washer from getting super musty smelling?DSC06023

PS If you missed the intro post in this series, I share why I’m writing about keeping house here.

2 thoughts on “Basics of Keeping House for 30 Year Olds Who Still Don’t Have Their Stuff Together: Part Two {Dishes}

  1. Such a cute picture of James in the dishwasher!!! 🙂

    I agree, doing them as you go is the best way! Although if I get backed up, pumping some inspiring tunes usually helps me out 🙂 I put my pots in the dishwasher …. I’m unsure if I am supposed to, lol. I would think maybe not non-stick? Also, the BEST pot cleaning thing I have is a Norwex product … it is magical.

    Laundry – yesssss, someone, anyone, how do you get rid of the musty smell and keep it away?!

    1. Right? From our brief looking into things so far it may be possible that there’s water that doesn’t drain completely from the bottom of the machine… we’ll follow up on that and let you know! And I’ll have to look into that pot cleaner…

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