(I must tell you that I searched high and low for the correct grammar of pluralizing ‘Do and Don’t’. The correct way is sans apostrophes, although that looks horribly odd. But I had to put an apostrophe in ‘Do’s’ because I just couldn’t take the ‘Dos’. Just so you know.)
Our kitchen is definitely the most-used room in our home. I homeschool my children, so we eat 3 meals a day in our little kitchen and those meals are mostly made from scratch.
3 made-from-scratch meals + real dishes (not paper plates) = a ridiculous amount of used dishcloths and towels
I will be the first to admit that I change dishcloths often, usually using 2 dishcloths per day. I can’t bear to wash a sink of supper dishes with the same cloth I used to wash breakfast dishes the same morning. The dishcloth has had all day to sit and grow all kinds of gross bacteria and other germs. Food-borne illness can make you really sick and I’d like to avoid it at all costs. So I avoid it by washing a million kitchen towels and dishcloths each week.
Note: When I refer to a ‘dishcloth’ in this post I’m talking about the cloth you actually put in the sudsy water to wash dishes, not the towel you use to dry them off.
Rinse dishcloths frequently in hot water.
Rinse your dishcloths often under hot water, especially when you’re wiping down kitchen surfaces. Rinse after you wipe off the table and then again after you wipe off the stove and then again after you wipe off the counter. It’s even better if you can swish it around in a sink full of soapy, hot water and then wring out before you use it. You really can’t rinse a dishcloth too often, in my opinion.
Use a dishcloth only for washing dishes.
If you’re using a dishcloth for dishes, make sure that is the only thing you use it for. Don’t wipe the baby’s face with it or her high chair tray. That type of washing deserves its own cloth or paper towel. And by all means, do not wipe anything off of the floor with your dish cloth and then use it again to wash dishes. The thoughts of that makes my skin crawl. So don’t do it.
Use more than one dishcloth, if needed.
Don’t be afraid to use more than one dishcloth per day. If you’ve washed two sinks full of dishes, you probably need a new cloth. I think most of us believe we’re allowed a maximum of only one dishcloth per day, but I promise you can use two.
Don’t use the same dishcloth for the whole week.
Even if you only wash 1 or 2 dishes a day, you just can’t use the same cloth that many days in a row. By the end of the week, the dishcloth has gotten wet multiple times and that by itself is enough to let bacteria grow. Add in the washing off of food particles and you’ve got a gross piece of laundry there.
Don’t leave your dishcloth wadded up in a ball.
If you must use the same dishcloth all day, make sure you lay it out flat to dry between uses. It’s even better if you can hang it up to air dry before you use it again. Warm, balled up, wet dishcloths are great little breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Avoid it at all costs.
Don’t be afraid to use paper towels.
If you’re wiping up a huge puddle of spilled milk, go ahead and just use paper towels. Soured milk in a dishcloth is one of the worst smells ever and you’ll probably end up throwing the dishcloth away because of it. Or for wiping a countertop contaminated with raw chicken, just use paper towels instead of a dishcloth.
In all likelihood, you won’t be able to wash those horribly germ-y dishcloths immediately and they’ll sit somewhere until wash day. You don’t want them sitting somewhere, covered in salmonella. Trust me. I know it’s not the eco-friendly thing to do, but use paper towels for the really gross stuff.
So tell me: Are you a person who changes dishcloths regularly or are you a once-a-weeker? ‘Fess up!
Several of my favorite home-related bloggers and I write a monthly series on cleaning, de-cluttering and taking care of your home. For other ideas related to the kitchen, stop by these other Room by Room bloggers!
- Jami from An Oregon Cottage is re-vamping and beautifying her “pitifully small” spice cabinet.
- Nony from A Slob Comes Clean is talking about how she keeps her food storage containers from causing an avalanche every time she opens the cabinet door.
- Christine from I Dream of Clean is sharing cleaning ideas she’s learned from watching cooking shows.
- Taylor from Stain Removal 101 is sharing tips, tricks, and how-tos of cleaning the fridge.