Kitchen Tip: Washing Dishes with Baking Soda

baking-soda2.JPGAfter a relaxing dinner, who feels like doing the dishes? Or how about staying on top of the dishes with little ones in tow? I love to clean up as I go, trying to put things away as I use them, but sometimes I am too exhausted from a busy day or taking care of a cranky baby (like today!) to have the energy to do the dishes completely. But if I let them lie in the sink overnight, it is often a huge extra effort to scrub them clean the next morning!

The simple solution: baking soda.

This is a great way to begin the dishwashing process in advance! Take a shaker and fill with baking soda. You can use any clean used shaker (old spice container, parmesan container, etc.) I use the pepper shaker in my salt/pepper set, as I have a fresh pepper grinder as well. As you are piling dishes in the sink, scrap off the lumpy food and shake on some baking soda. Use more for extra greasy dishes. This is a fast way to not only cut down odors, but begin breaking down the food, and save on dishwasher detergent! Adding a little water to make it more of a paste gives it an additional boost in effectiveness. Put all the silverware in a pot or glass to soak as well with a little baking soda.

The next chance you get to the sink, you can simply load them into the dishwasher! You can also cut back on the quantity of dishwashing detergent this way! Experiment by filling up the dispenser only halfway!

This is also a wonderful way to keep your scrubies and wash clothes fresh and clean smelling! Dust them with baking soda after each use!

Opps…I didn’t go backwards, as Tammy had designed for Tuesday Tips! I wrote before I read. I would love to hear any other suggestions you might have for those tired evenings and keeping the kitchen clean!
Thanks to Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan for the original idea! 

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

23 Responses to Kitchen Tip: Washing Dishes with Baking Soda

  1. paulette atkins November 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    Just do them and get it over with. Who wants to wake up in the morning and still have that chore to do? Just my opinion.

  2. termite detection dog August 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thanks so much for an educational post. I’ve been looking around for this sort of data for some time now.

  3. Kika February 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Use baking soda diluted in water in a dish pan and wash It’s nonsense to think you have to use anything else afterwords especially an enery wasting dishwasher

  4. Amanda December 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Great tips! I’m so glad I found your website today, thanks for the ideas!

  5. Kathi March 1, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    I am always unfortunately in a hurry and have to remind myself to slow down for my 3 yr old. I discovered that doing dishes is much more fun when I put I big low bucket on the counter right a long side my little girl. I put the glasses and other less dirty things in her bucket, baking soda a dash of vinegar and give her a sponge. She doesn’t just play but loves to scrub those things, so by the time I’m done with my heap, I just have to rinse her things. Result: I not only did all the dishes but shared quality time with my little one (while complimenting her hard work) who also gained some important discipline training for her adult life.

    • k breen February 23, 2011 at 6:56 am #

      What a beautiful mothering idea! This is also the way of the Waldorf nursery school where children help to make bread, soup, and salad and wash dishes. Thank you for your post.

      • audree May 18, 2011 at 6:38 am #

        AGREE!!! sure wish this website had been here when my kids were little! i sure could have used all the wisdom here, as i was a single mother without a lot of help. i’m so happy my daughter subscribes to your site!!!

  6. Laurie April 15, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    Hi,
    I have just stumbled upon your website. :)
    I fill my sink with hot water and a little dish soap and leave it. As soon as a plate or utensil or what have you is done with, I scrape the food off and just put it straight into the sink. All the crockery collects over time and when it’s full, I load it up into the dishwasher. Every bit of soil almost falls off freely as I’m loading them into the dishwasher. It allows my dishes to be very clean with very little effort and chemicals. I use a little bit of dr bronners dish soap (3ml) in the dishwasher, along with 1 tbspn of baking soda and then 1/4 cup of lemon juice in the final rinse (instead of vinegar as I absolutely hate the vinegar smell). My dishes are sparkling, sanitized and I barely do anything to get them that way. It’s almost a dream! :) And I end up using about 5 gallons in total for a full load of dishes (including them soaking in the sink).
    I have two little ones and I can mostly certainly say that I do not always have the time or energy to do dishes at the end of the night too…. Hence my “method”. Goodluck to you – your website is fantastic!

  7. AEdmonds March 20, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    I tried putting baking soda on my pan this morning and soaking for just a few minutes to get caked on food off. It worked great.

  8. Nicole March 19, 2008 at 11:48 pm #

    “1) I try very hard to do as many of the dinner prep dishes (my husband’s brilliant suggestion as he noticed me struggling to get it done after dinner), and any other dishes that need washing, counters that need wiping, etc. while I am cooking, so that after dinner, there is basically just the dishes to be loaded, and maybe a couple pots or pans to quickly handwash.”

    That is also what I always do…nothing is more depressing then a clattered place after the meal…

    My kids often help me before sitting around the table, so it is easy after the meal.(we find it important to have our meals together)-

    saving pots and pans is a good idea too…in the south of France, my husbands aunt, ends up with masses of dishes…it’s true that after a good meal you do not feel like having mountains of pots and pans and what ever…

    I believe that more we are lazy, more we find tricks to make our life easier!!! :-)

  9. Lindsay March 19, 2008 at 7:36 am #

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

  10. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home March 19, 2008 at 6:48 am #

    I have two tips for keeping the kitchen clean despite being tired in the evenings:

    1) I try very hard to do as many of the dinner prep dishes (my husband’s brilliant suggestion as he noticed me struggling to get it done after dinner), and any other dishes that need washing, counters that need wiping, etc. while I am cooking, so that after dinner, there is basically just the dishes to be loaded, and maybe a couple pots or pans to quickly handwash.

    2) With whatever is left, I will often set a timer for myself, so that I am extra motivated to just zip around the kitchen and get it done in record time so that it is out of the way in record time. I also soak my dishes as soon as the food is out of them, so they are faster to wash (although I’ve never tried the baking soda- I’ll have to give it a go). Another solution is to chat on the phone while washing up, as it makes the time feel doubly productive, and yet more relaxing than simply doing the dishes alone.

  11. mom2fur March 19, 2008 at 4:46 am #

    Oh, I should say I soak them before putting them in the dishwasher. I rarely wash by hand–not one of my favorite chores. Although, when your hands are deep in suds, you have an excuse to make someone else answer the phone or the doorbell, LOL!

  12. mom2fur March 19, 2008 at 4:45 am #

    I like to soak my dishes in hot water and a little soap, because they just seem to come out cleaner that way. Not to mention I have a teenager who tends to forget dishes down in the playroom for days. I like this baking soda idea much better–sounds like it would save me some money, and I’m all for saving money, LOL!

  13. Nicole March 19, 2008 at 12:07 am #

    I was just sharing my experience!
    I was the mum of 5 in 5 years…just think, three little ones like yours at the same time!!
    But I can say it was more difficult with number one!! We have to get adapted to so many things…
    You will see how it is much easier later…but being tired…that cannot change, you just have to do with it…
    With many children,you cannot leave things for later…later might and will be worse!

    I just think that you can allow yourself to be tired for the moment…
    I was like that before having all these children!
    Now my children help me , and they know they have to leave the kitchen tidie…
    In fact, I can now allow myself to be tired!!!!
    Someone else is doing the job! :-)

  14. Ashley March 18, 2008 at 6:08 pm #

    I have two little ones (one two, one two months!) and there is no way I can stand and do dishes after breakfast, lunch or assorted snacks if I want to eat as well!

    Since we have so many different brushes for different dishes (I keep a separate one for both my cast irons and my stoneware since neither of those can have soap on them) plus a wire brush to clean the oil stains off of my pyrex I needed some kind of containment that also allowed them to dry. They were taking over my sink! I rinsed out an old oatmeal container (ours is from Trader Joe’s but I think they are ubiquitous) and voila! I didn’t have to buy some storage container, it isn’t a flimsy plastic cup and I even left the lid on the bottom so the paper doesn’t get soggy and stick to my counter. And when it gets funky I can throw it out and use another one since we eat oatmeal pretty regularly!

  15. jerilyn March 18, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    I tried this and it worked wonders! I have a hard time cleaning as I go since I’ve got a little one to keep track of. Thanks!

    • Lindsay March 18, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks for sharing Jerilyn! I’m glad I am not the only one who can’t get to the dishes after every meal with a little one in tow. This tip has helped make the process easier and less time consuming scrubbing when I get to them. Oh course I love having my kitchen clean, but sometimes it just has to wait! I save on dishwasher detergent this way as well.

  16. Julie March 18, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    I’m going to try this! Thanks!

  17. Andrea March 18, 2008 at 2:33 pm #

    With dishes, I’ve been subscribing to the Flylady method of “do it now.” I have found that timing myself I can often tackle a mound of dishes AND wipe down the counter tops in less than 15 minutes. If I put a book on tape on or play music, it goes even faster. I shined my sink with baking soda and bleach back in August, and every night I use a kitchen towel to wipe it out so that each morning it greets me with a sparkle! I’m not ALWAYS good about it, but it sure helps me start my day off right to have a clean kitchen (and a made bed).

    However, when I have babies, I’ll remember the baking soda idea for when the kitchen is too much to handle.

  18. Nicole March 18, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    I just give myself a big kick and go along with it because I hate getting up in the morning to a messy kitchen…

    My mota is : “do it immediatly before you are too tired…”
    :-)

  19. Samara Root March 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm #

    Do you really advise leaving dishes for several days?
    :-P j/k

  20. Tia March 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    Most everyday is a tiring day. I work outside the home (as does my husband) so I’ve learned to accomodate. Altho, today, I’m bounding w/energy! Must be because it’s a 4 day week!! yeah!

    I like to clean as I go too! I’ve heard kosher salt works well too! I usually let the sauce pan soak w/a little Dawn for about a 1/2 hr (while we eat). And by the time we are done, the pan is ready to be rinsed.

    my dh helps w/the clean up. He’ll clear away the table, then wipe down the table and counters. Most everything can be just rinsed, then placed in the DW, except for that stubborn sauce pan or two!!

    I can clean the whole kitchen in about 20 mins or so. Put the leftovers away, and then relax. I don’t like to let anything sit overnight.