10 Dish Washing Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

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Dirty dishes in the sink
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There are probably people out there who love nothing more than washing dishes ... but we've never met them. Once you've pulled on the rubber gloves, you have two goals: Get those dishes completely clean and do it as quickly as possible. With some simple but brilliant hacks, dish washing is about to become even easier. It might just become one of your favorite chores.

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Dirty frying pan
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Banish Grease With Vinegar

If there's anything vinegar can't clean, we haven't found it yet. When it's combined with baking soda, simple white vinegar develops cleaning superpowers. Try them the next time you're cleaning a pot or pan containing a greasy, stuck-on mess. Sprinkle the surface with baking soda, pour in enough vinegar to make it fizz and scrub away.

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Empty skillet
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Clean Cast Iron With Salt

Cast iron is notoriously difficult to clean, but don't let that keep you from using your cast iron pans. Coarse salt acts as a gentle abrasive that's perfect for removing debris. Start with a warm pan and pour in enough salt to mostly cover the bottom. Scour the pan with a sponge or folded towel, rinse the pan and immediately dry it completely to prevent rusting.

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Dishes sitting on kitchen counter
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DIY a Drying Rack

Your hand-washed dishes will take forever to dry if they're piled together on a drying mat. Instead of shelling out for a new drying rack that will take up valuable counter space, grab a cookie-cooling rack or one of the racks from your oven. Balance it over the sink and let dishes dry on top of it.

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Woman washing dishes
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Wash From Cleanest to Dirtiest

If you approach dish washing by grabbing whatever dirty dish is closest to the sink, it's time to become more strategic. Start with the cleanest items first and work up to the dirtiest things last. This saves you from using more dish soap than necessary and from transferring residue onto cleaner dishes.

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Washing a wine glass with dish soap and soft sponge
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Let Glasses Dry on Chopsticks

When the drying rack is already full or if it's too precarious for your delicate drinking glasses, you may opt to dry glasses on the counter instead. If they are facing up, they'll end up streaky from pooled water. If they are face down, they can't dry out. Place a few chopsticks on a dish towel and rest glasses face down on top of them to let water drain out.

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Soapy water inside blender
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Run Soapy Water Through Appliances

Washing a blender or food processor is easy enough when you clean it right away, but these appliances get tough to clean once stuff dries on them. Next time, pour a little dish soap and water into the blender or food processor and give it a pulse. The fast-moving soapy water should remove a lot of the debris.

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Man washing dishes in sink
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Make Your Own Scouring Pads

Scouring pads are one of a hundred little household items that you're forever replacing. Those costs sure do add up. Instead of buying new pads when yours are worn out, try making DIY versions. All you really need is a basic sponge, a mesh produce bag and thread to secure the mesh around the sponge.

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Loading dishwasher with utensils
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Sort Utensils As You Go

It's counterproductive to grab a handful of clean flatware and touch every fork, knife and spoon with your questionably clean hands, but that's exactly what happens when you have to put away a big batch of mixed utensils. Going forward, try sorting your flatware as you wash it. Separate the items into different compartments of your dishwasher or drying rack. When you're ready to put things away, all you have to do is grab all the clean spoons and move them to the right drawer.

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