Washing dishes in UK.

in a chinese takeaway to fund my vacation…..

Hehe, just kidding!

After gobbling down a sumptuous dinner prepared by my friend at her home, I offered to do the dishes. They all warned me about it and I was like, “How hard can it be? It’s just washing up some plates and cutlery. How hard can it be? Try me”.

And so, I found out the hard way. Washing dishes in UK is completely different from Malaysia. Of course, I can’t be certain whether the method taught to me was only particular to my friend’s household or is a common method in UK homes, but I was told that it’s pretty common.

It’s an established fact among my family members that I hate washing dishes. And after finding out how it’s like to wash dishes in the UK, I’m hating it even more. If I had to choose between washing dishes at home and UK, I’d much prefer the former.

How do you wash dishes? You rinse the dirty dishes, lather them up and then rinse again, right? Or if you’re anal about water stains, you wipe them dry before storing them back into your cabinets. Easy peasy.

But in UK, it’s not so simple.

Ever wondered why the more modern kitchens of Malaysia have double sinks? I’ve always thought that one was reserved exclusively for washing vegetables and the other for cleaning up dishes. I was wrong.

Both of the sinks are for washing dishes! This is a step by step instructions for foreigners on how to wash dishes in UK:

1. Give all the dirty plates/bowls/pans/pots/cutlery a quick rinse.
2. Plug the first sink and fill it up with hot water.
3. Pour some washing liquid into the hot water.
4. Submerge the plates/bowls/pans/pots/cutlery into the hot water.
5. Now, soak your washing sponge with the soapy hot water and begin cleaning plates/bowl/pans/pot/cutlery.
6. Place the soaped up plates/bowls/pans/pots/cutlery into the second sink.
7. Turn on the cold water and properly rinse suds off plates/bowls/pans/pots/cutlery.
8. Wipe plates/bowls/pans/pots/cutler to dry.

Learning points that I insist on sharing:

1. Wear reasonably thick gloves before sticking your hands into the hot water. It is painful.

2. Splashing your hands with icy cold water immediately after plunging them into steaming hot water is even more painful.

3. Next time, forget the dishes. Just bring a bottle of wine.

17 thoughts on “Washing dishes in UK.”

  1. I guess this is a common practice among the Europeans. It’s the same where I live. The thing I dislike most is that after rinsing off with the cold water, the plates are still soapy and they just put it to dry in the cabinet (the drying place)

    According to them, we can help to conserve water washing dishes this way rather than washing them under a running tap. Duh!

  2. I used to wash them under cold water only. But that’s enough to make my hands numb!!

    What’s worst is that some places have different tap for its cold and hot water. So, it’s either I get cold water or hot water only but not both.

  3. i fucking hate the way they wash dishes in uk. most of my corridor mates they wld do the double sink thingy like ur fren does and dont rinse the soapy water but just put on the drying racks. WITH SOAP SUDS STILL ON THE PLATES!

    this is one of the pesky things u find out in uk.

    like, this one time i got asked how much snow msia has! grrrr..

  4. That’s why I have a mother to do all the washing of dishes.
    The second sink doesn’t need cold water, can have warm water instead, a lot easier on the hands.
    A lot of Europeans don’t wash the suds off [as Daphne says], but usually they wipe the suds off with a tea towel before putting the stuff away.
    Soap suds have to be non-toxic, so even if they don’t get rid of the suds it won’t kill you! :-)
    One day I’ll own a dishwasher … one day! :-)

  5. Hmm…when I had to wash the dishes in NZ (while I was doing homestay there – had to be 18 to stay alone), the place has a dishwasher. I just dumped all my dishes into scalding hot water (something we don’t have over here – it’s a good thing they have hot water from the tap) and then load it into the dishwasher. :)

  6. Gee, so mah-fan one… I would have thought it would go something like this:

    1) Rinse off solids – scratch if need be, with normal water

    2) Load into dishwasher – bowls on top, plates at the bottom

    3) Stuff the detergent pill in the little compartment

    4) Turn on to right temperature / wash cycle. Go to bed

    5) Next day (you won’t be there by then) take out semi-dry plates and dishes and dry what’s left of the water on a tea-towel (washer has a dryer)

    I mean, you are in England, innit? I thought we Chinese were the only ones who still wash dishes by hand…

  7. Reminded me of my dish washing days when I was studying in England.

    What we did was, cut a plastic bottle up, tie a string to each end, hang it around BOTH taps (hot and cold), then turn the tap for both, the water flows into the bottle and walla, you get warm water flowing out from the other side.

    It’s kinda hard to explain, maybe I’ll explain it to you when I see you.

    I don’t know who “invented” this method but I stayed in a student area and everyone seems to be doing the same thing. You’ll need to change the bottle every week or so because the hot water will melt the bottle. :)

  8. oh yeah, just to add. What naeboo said is right. They don’t rinse the soapy water. Their explanation, the soap used is bio-degradable. So wash everything before using it, you know, just to be safe.

    Just to clarify, there is no “warm” water. It’s just EXTREMELY boiling hot water or SUPER chilly cold water. Take your pick.

  9. hahahahahahahaa

    i remember that plastic 1L soft drink bottle contraption! that really saved our asses (hands rather) from the scalding hot/crazy chilly water. i think it’s one of those survival skills students from past generations hand down to their juniors.

    like, the route to the nearest pound savers. haha

  10. Sigh.. i remember when i was there some of my housemates didn’t bother rinsing they’d just move the plates out of the hot water and onto the drying rack.

  11. I knew that the double sinks were both for washing but I didn’t know it was done that way!!! Fuyoh. Now I do not want to wash dishes like in the UK. Already hate doing disher here with our own way.

  12. lol…i live in nz..and welcome to my world in winter T_T”
    and this is the typical norm in most kiwi household –
    if not shoving everything in the F&P dishwasher….it’s like, collect a sink of hot water mixed with dish washing liquid then u soak the dishes and scrub them and that’s it..leave to dry…dun need to rinse even tho the foam is still clearly visible…. -____-”

    reason being the oil on the plate will harden..and very hard to get rid of it with very cold water that’s why need super hot water ><”
    but usually second sink has a waste master/food chomper thingy…for organic waste that gets crushed n goes down the drain…

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