My friend John once said that you could tell a lot about a person by the way they washed dishes. Having cooked with a variety of people over the years, I can tell you the obvious truth: most people will sit and watch you do the dishes, and those brave enough to help will want to pile them in a dishwasher or make you wish they’d not even undertaken the job in the first place. At the risk of sounding like a dishwashing elitist, there’s one thing you can tell from what I’ve just mentioned: I’ve washed a lot of dishes in my day.
The best time to do the dishes is right after a meal; the food juices are still wet, and it really only takes some hot water to get the job done. Most people will tell you that hot water alone is not enough, you need soap. While soap seems like it actually does something, it doesn’t. It just gets soap on your dishes and then you have to wash that off, too.
In the time it takes to cook most meals, there’s downtime in waiting for the food to finish. All the dishes can be done before it’s time to eat. A quick rinse of the plates, cups and utensils after eating leaves one home free.
Of course, one makes exceptions once in a while. Though the payoffs are immense in keeping the sink constantly void of dishes, one finds it necessary, in times of flight, to fill the sink to the brim. While completely acceptable, the longer the dishes sit, the less one feels like doing them. Eventually, one finds themselves confronted with the task of doing them all at once. This is procrastination at its finest: fishing through greasy water for spoons when one just wants to eat some ice cream.
If you really don’t want to be faced with doing a ton of dishes everyday, only have the minimum amount necessary for the number of people living in your space. If a single person has twenty knives and twenty forks, this could become a problem. But if they have one plate, one mug, and one of everything else, they’ll be saving themselves a lot of time in the long run rinsing and reusing the same diningware after every meal. If people come over for dinner, tell them to bring their own stuff. That way, the kitchen sink won’t look like a bomb went off in it.