In the July issue of Real Simple's print edition, a reader asks if hand-washing dishes gets them as clean as a dishwasher does.
To kill most of the bacteria on a dirty dish, water must reach a scalding 140° Fahrenheit. That temperature is easily reached in a dishwasher, but in a sink, it's nearly impossible. Hot-water heaters are typically set at 120 degrees to prevent burns, and most people can't stand to keep their hands in a stream of water that hot for more than a few minutes.
So while you might have a soft spot for film cameras or the smell of a paperback book, when it comes to washing dishes, high-tech beats low. To completely sanitize your dishes, a dishwashing appliance is key. If you don't have room or cash for a full-sizer, consider a countertop dishwasher — some models are less than $250.
Of course, you might own a few pieces that aren't safe for the dishwasher. In that case, it's fine to just hand wash them with the hottest water you can stand. Real Simple also suggests a quick bath in a bleach-water bath (1 gallon of water plus 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach) to get everything properly sanitized.