Ever gotten through a long day, thrown your dirty dishes in the sink, and poured a little water over them to let them soak overnight? As much as you think you’re helping scrub off that sticky food and grime (or just giving yourself a much need break), you could actually be creating a grosser mess to clean up later on.
According to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, leaving those soaking dishes unattended and sitting in their own muck actually makes them dirtier in the long run due to the time given for bacteria and other microbes to fester on old food and in the water. Even if you hand-wash those dishes, a layer of bacteria could still exist for up to four more days, which could wreak havoc on your digestive tract if you were to eat off them. On top of that, all of that bacteria-filled soaking water that you eventually dump in your sink leaves more grimy residue there, too.
We’re also sorry to say that even if you wash your dirty dishes immediately after use, there’s still a good chance you’re not getting them totally clean. The next time you’re giving them a scrub, be sure to use extra hot water (you may need rubber gloves to not burn yourself!), add a brush to the mix for deep-cleaning action, and wipe ’em down with a clean dishcloth or sponge. If you need to bring in the big guns, add a mixture of two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dish soap and soak your dishes just a bit before you wash them.
And what about dirty dishes in your dishwasher? Those are apparently safe to use after a cycle since these appliances deep clean your dishes in a way that most hand-washing just can’t. Additionally, you can add two ounces of hydrogen peroxide to your detergent if you want even more grime-fighting power. You also don’t necessarily have to pre-wash dishes before sticking them in there either. (In fact, giving them that extra rinse in the sink could leave your dishware dirtier in the long run! Here’s why.)
One thing’s for sure: I’m never procrastinating that pile of dirty dishes again. And if you need me, I’ll be deep-cleaning my sink!