How To Wash Your Nice Dishes Without Breaking Them

Photo: Caleb Lucas, Unsplash

The holidays will be here soon, and for some, that means breaking out the “good” dishes. “Good” dishes are different in every household, but one thing is a constant: You do not want to break the “good” dishes, for doing so would cause much yelling and displeasure, and it’s best to limit those things during the holidays.

Preventing the dishes from breaking is all about shielding them from hard surfaces — mainly the sink and the floor — but you should also pay attention to what you’re rubbing on them and what you’re rubbing them with.

Pad Your Sink

To make your sink a little safer, get a rubber mat, a dish tub or simply place a thick towel in the bottom of the sink. The thick towel is by far the grossest choice, but it will keep the dishes from breaking if dropped, and that is the whole goal.

Soak Before Gentle Scrubbing

Rather than aggressively scrub the dishes, let them soak a bit so that any stubborn food is loosened before gently wiping it away with a soft sponge (not a scouring pad or anything remotely resembling steel wool).

The dish tub scores major points here, as you can lift it out of the sink, letting you attack the tougher, less special dishes (and pots and pans) while the “good” dishes soak. Do not stack the dishes while they soak, for stacking can lead to falling, and falling can lead to sadness.

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Cushion Your Floor

In an ideal world, one would never drop a dish, good or otherwise but as we have found ourselves on a dark timeline — I think it’s safe to say that the world is not ideal — you very well might drop a dish.

If your floor is hard, as most kitchen floors are, the dish is very likely to break, so making your floor a little softer is a good idea. You can buy a rubber kitchen mat at a home goods store, of you can use — once again — a thick towel, and stand on that while you wash the “good” dishes.

No Bleach, No Citrus

Finally, if your “good” dishes are china, choose a mild bleach-free cleaner, without any citrus smells. I love the smell of a citrus-based cleaner, but those contain acid, and acid can hurt china. After a soak in some sudsy warm water, give the dishes a final rinse, then let them air dry, taking care to not set anything too close to an edge. For extra protection, place a thick towel on the floor next to the drying rack; the universe is chaotic and careless, and one can never be too careful.


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