Expecting company? If so you will likely be cooking a much larger feast than your usual Tuesday night dinner. Planning and prep may be a fun exercise, but the clean up afterward can be the pits. We’ve got your 5-star strategy for a quick and efficient clean up after a holiday dinner party.
1. While you are cooking, don’t use extra bowls, plates or utensils if you don’t have to.
2. Clean while you cook. If there are two of you in the kitchen, have one person cook, one person clean. Wash all dishes that you won’t be using during the meal, and put them in the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher while you eat. Put back all ingredients: spices, flour, vegetables, whatever. Put them away in their proper place. Finally wipe off all countertops. If you can leave your kitchen spotless before everyone eats, you’ll have an easier time afterward.
3. Do not dirty cups and plates if you don’t need to. Don’t pre-plate bread or fill water glasses. If your guests want water, they can pour it during the meal, but if you presumptuous fill a wine glass and your guest doesn’t drink, you just created another dirty dish for no reason.
4. Enlist help. This is as easy as going in the dining room and cheerfully saying. Who wants to help me clean up? I need two volunteers. Give your volunteers clear guidance about what you would like them to do. Someone needs to clear, someone needs to wash, someone needs to dry and someone needs to put away the dishes as well as the leftover food.
5. Clear every dish that hasn’t been used first. Gather plates, cups and utensils that were not used, and put them away.
6. Gather all dishes together by category. Plates in a stack, utensils on top of the plates. Do not place dirty dishes in the sink. Rather, place them on the clean countertop to the right of the sink in this order: glasses/cups, utensils, plates (scraped), bowls, serviceware, pots and pans (soaking in soapy water, if necessary). On the countertops to the left of the sink lay down soft towels.
7. Plug up the right side of your sink and fill with hot and some squirts of liquid dish soap. Was dishes in order of soil. This way you will prematurely dirty up the water. The order is what is listed above: glasses/cups, utensil, splates (scraped), bowls, serviceware, pots and pans. This also works for how you will fill your dishwasher. By starting with cups, utensils and plates, you are maximizing the space of the your dishwasher, so you won’t have to hand-wash as many dishes.
8. Wash your dishes in the soapy water with the sponge, then rinse off with cold water in the left side of the sink. Finally place the dish on the towel to the left of the sink to dry. One of your volunteers should dry each dish with a dishtowel and be putting them away.
9. Do another round of wiping off the countertops with All-Purpose Spray, and you’re done!
See, it wasn’t that bad after all! You just have to have a plan beforehand so you don’t get overwhelmed. The holidays are made for togetherness, so kill those dirty dishes with some family time. After all, the family that slays together, stays together.