You don't always think of Reddit users as a pinnacle of homekeeping advice, but there exists deep in the site a small cohort of Redditors who have embraced the importance of housekeeping hacks to stay on top of your space. They're the users of a subreddit forum called Unfuck Your Habitat, named after (but unaffiliated with) Rachel Hoffman's accessible self-help cleaning book with the same title.
The subreddit's tagline is "cleaning for lazy people," and it's designed for not-always-tidy-but-tidy-minded Redditors to share and spread ideas that make taking care of a home as easy as it could possibly be.
There is a ton of great advice peppered around the subreddit, but our favorite "UFYH" thread to date is the one devoted to washing your dishes more quickly—particularly large amounts that you've let accumulate in the sink. So to help you make doing your dishes a breeze, we scoured this useful thread from top to bottom and gathered the best advice for washing your dishes faster and more effectively.
From pre-soaking to the best dish sponge, here are eight secrets from Reddit users for speedily washing your stockpile of dishes:
1. Organize your dishes first
A little organization can go a long way before washing your dishes. As Reddit user (and former dishwasher) conqueredgrapejelly explains:
"For large amounts of dishes, you have to organize at every stage. Don't spend a huge amount of time but try to stack all like objects and Tetris into your sink. Generally, bowls should be stacked onto plates, silverware in a cup, and glasses detritus jumbled to the side of these. If you are washing large objects like pans and mixing bowls, put them under everything if they fit and if not do them last."
2. Presoaking matters
No matter how soiled your dishes are, Reddit commenters say pre-soaking them before washing is key to quick cleaning. Explains user wong__a:
"I find that when you soak your dishes first, even if it's just water, it makes the biggest difference. So basically almost everything I finish using, I'll soak it immediately. The only thing I'll wait for are pots and pans because I don't want to warp them with the water temperature change. I sprained my thumb recently, so I'm washing my dishes a lot slower. But even my 'slow' is still decently fast compared to my bf because of soaking it first."
3. Dish soap makes a difference
Make no mistake about it, Reddit commenters believe quality dish soap is crucial for efficient dish cleaning, and they're all particularly fans of classic Dawn. "Good dish soap is a must. I always buy Dawn," says user kattbug989. Commenter instantanarchy adds, "I like Dawn. A little of it goes a longer way more than pretty much any other soap I've tried."
4. And so do good tools
Good tools help make dish washing easier and faster, explains user kattbug989:
"You don't want sponges that fall apart all the time. I like the [dish brushes] with handles that you can fill with dish soap, and you just press the button every time you need more. Then you don't waste time constantly reaching for the soap. Using a brush for glasses and cups was also a lifesaver for me."
As for actual sponges, user (and aforementioned former dishwasher) conqueredgrapejelly adds:
"The best sponge period is the double-sided Brillo sponge. Replace often—it's wasteful but getting bacteria out of sponges is a nightmare."
5. Get the water H-O-T
When it comes to cleaning a big pile of dishes in a pinch, Reddit commenters say the hotter the water, the better. "My water gets to 144°F," explains cuppitycupcake. "The super hot water evaporates off the dishes faster so they can be put away sooner, even plastic." Just remember, she says to "wear a good pair of gloves!"
6. Listen to something
Whether it's a podcast or a power pop playlist, Reddit users agree that listening to something while doing dishes will make the whole process move faster—and perhaps, more fun. "I started listening to audiobooks while doing stuff," says user SylvanField, "and that definitely made the time feel like it was going faster, and was more enjoyable."
7. Rinse properly
A good rinse can make a big impact when washing your dishes. User conqueredgrapejelly suggests:
"Rinse by dumping your excess rinse water over the to-be rinsed items still in the sink. You can slightly fill a second sink with rinse water to help but you still need running water to get soap suds off the dish entirely. Use rinsing time to run your hands over the entire dish, quickly, to make sure that there is nothing remaining on the dish. Wash and rinse silverware by the handful. Try to rinse the plates first and then smallest to largest dishes as to stack them most efficiently in the drying rack."
8. Set a timer
Want to knock out all of your dishes in 15 minutes or less? Several Reddit users recommended simply setting a timer to ensure you get the job done in time. "Set a timer and race it!" Says user GrinsNGiggles, "The pressure of racing that timer will help you move much more quickly." Adds cuppitycupcake: "Setting a timer helps, too. Start at 15 minutes and see how much you get done in that time."