Dishwashing is an inevitable consequence of food preparation and consumption; therefore, it is part of our daily chores.
Have you ever wondered how often people wash dishes and if there are any consequences if you don’t wash them right away?
The frequency of dishwashing depends mostly on how many dishes people use during the day, and whether they wash them manually or with a dishwasher. According to the NCBI, people who use a dishwasher run it an average of 5 times a week. For manual dishwashing, the weekly average is 14 times.
How often should you wash dishes?
If you wash the dishes manually, it would be advisable to do it once a day. If you use a dishwasher, you can wash the dishes every two or three days. Accumulating unwashed dishes can make the kitchen a messy place. Also, it is more difficult to clean the dried food residue by manual washing.
In the meantime, the unwashed kitchenware will not pile up in the kitchen sink or on the counter, but in the machine. The dishwasher uses high-temperature water and detergent will also be able to wash off stuck-on food.
If you don’t have a lot of kitchen equipment and you need the same dishes every day, then it’s best to wash them right away. The longer the food remains on the utensils, the more difficult it will be to clean them.
The importance of dishwashing for food safety
In the warm and humid kitchen environment, on dishes left in the sink or on the counter, food residues begin to deteriorate and often give off an unpleasant smell. Kitchen equipment used to process raw fish, poultry or meat poses the greatest risk, but vegetable scraps can also quickly develop an unpleasant odor.
Mold can appear on cookware and tableware left dirty for too long, and bacteria can start to multiply. Food scraps provide a perfect breeding ground for microorganisms, in which they can survive for a long time and spread easily.
Food remains also attract flies, ants, and even rodents and cockroaches, so it is better to get rid of them as soon as possible.
What is the most efficient way to wash dishes?
The best way to wash our kitchenware is with a dishwasher. Dishwashers achieve a high level of effectiveness in two ways. One is the use of water at a higher temperature than is usually used for manual washing, the other is a strong detergent.
While water above 120°F / 49°C is dangerous for our skin, the water temperature used by dishwashers can be up to 158°F / 70°C. When washing dishes manually, it’s a good idea to use rubber gloves, as they offer a certain degree of protection to our skin against higher temperatures, and thus we can use warmer water.
Since the detergents used in dishwashers often contain chlorine, they have a strong cleaning and disinfecting effect.
Some people soak their dishes in soapy water. Although this helps to wash off the dried-on food residue more easily, the lukewarm water provides a good environment for the growth of microorganisms.
In addition to using dishwashing detergent, you can also use a brush or scraper to remove residues more effectively.
Kitchenware should only be washed with a clean dishcloth. Dishcloths and sponges are usually among the dirtiest things in the kitchen, so they need to be changed often. The same applies to tea towels. It’s best to simply let clean dishes air dry, as a tea towel can also spread bacteria.
Newer types of dishwashers have a dish-drying function. This is important because bacteria are less able to survive on dry surfaces.
So, how often you need to wash kitchenware depends primarily on how many dishes you use, how dirty they are, and whether you wash them by hand or use a dishwasher.
On average, dishes are washed 5 times a week in households that have a dishwasher. Households that wash dishes manually do it twice a day on average.
From a food safety point of view, it is best to wash your dishes at least once a day if you wash them manually. If you use a dishwasher, every 2 or 3 days is a good frequency. You may also wish to read whether it is a good idea to leave soiled dishes in the dishwasher overnight.
My name is Debora, the founder of My Delicious Sweets, and a qualified confectioner with broad experience in the confectionery industry. On my blog, I will share important, interesting, and fun facts about food, along with some of my favorite recipes.