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Washing Dishes By Hand - Travails And Musings

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Nuzhath, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Nuzhath

    Nuzhath Silver IL'ite

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    Iam exhausted. That is one full sentence - it explains my kitchen experience during this lockdown. For the first two days, i did not really feel the small waves of pressure that would grow into a full tsunami of house work. Since we live in an apartment complex, all maids and drivers are denied entry and we have to fend for ourselves.

    Many friends of mine who live in US constantly berate me for fussing over housework and having a train of maids to follow me around. Be that as it may, for over 25 years of married life and before that as well - I have never done much housework, especially cleaning dishes.

    This brings us to the topic of this post - my thoughts and confusion on how to effectively wash dishes without taking a bath in soapy water. The first lesson learnt is that to clean up dishes, ensure you have very less dishes to wash in the first place! How to do this is a different subject matter altogether.

    For the first few days it was hectic, there were vessels in the sink, around the sink and underneath the sink. There were three different types of scrubs and scrub holder bowls. You know, the steel scrub, the new scrub and the used scrub. On day two, I sneezed for the first time in this washing journey. I remembered I had bought my maid a pair of kitchen gloves. I had given it to her about a year ago so that her hands were dry after each wash. But of course, she never used it. I dug it out from some long unused cabinet and started using it. It was great to see dry hands after a bucketful of washing. I was impressed with the gloves. I recommended it to my neighbour who promptly sent her son to our grocery store to get a pair. Why do I mention this? it is to highlight my poor planning skills, should have got an extra pair for myself too.

    About 3 days into using the gloves, I was assiduously scrubbing my serrated knife, which my good friend from US had gifted me - when one of the serrations tore into the glove and created a long rip. And there ended my love story with the kitchen glove. I called up the grocery store to check. They said only essentials are available. I argued with him that this is an essential - you don't want to have people sneezing or getting a cold in these times. The man, very much used to my pet peeves and grievances on his store essentials quietly commisserated with me and gave his apologies.

    So, it was back to gently using the bare hands. On and off, I could feel a pain in my fingers which I let it down to under-use and scrubbed away manfully thinking that it is a good exercise- lifting heavy pans, cleaning them and putting them back in their rightful place. But arthritis does not take kindly to lifting stuff - heavy or light. My right thumb first gave way.. and then my fingers swelled up a bit. But I pursued relentlessly three times a day...

    After about a week of experimenting with the process, crockery first? steel next? tawas and pans later? or vice versa? Should I use two racks one to hold the dirty dishes and the other to hold the sparkling clean dishes? Wait, you might wonder why the take on 'sparkling' dishes. Well, I ran out of the cleaning soap bar and I vaguely remembered a gentle discussion with my maid sometime back. While she preferred soap bars, I advocated the use of a cleaning liquid. As is the case, the maid won the fight and we settled on a truce. She uses the soap and I use the cleaning liquid whenever the need arose. The need, as you may well know by now, had arisen. I quickly dug into my cabinet again and found this dishwashing liquid that gives 'sparkling' results. Of course, this required another bowl to hold the liquid, the same bowls that I had alluded to earlier - if you have read this content keenly.

    My elder sister, who quite clearly is cut from another cloth in our family genetics is the perfect homemaker and working woman. She had once said that while washing dishes, she plans out her day or thinks of her life's issues. I realised that all I can think of while washing is how to get rid of this task fast and drink that cup of coffee! To be fair, I do think.. being a process person, I finally placed my spoon holder first and all spoons go inside it after a wash. I tied a cloth to the tap to prevent water from splashing, in my mind's eye I identify the spot to keep the food processor blades and I keep them there!

    I think this article is getting to be too long. So, let's conclude by saying that by May03, I shall have the process in place. Did I mention that in-between I managed to sew an apron with a plastic lining? I used a garbage bag for the lining.

    My sisters called me up and asked me why I was not using the dishwasher? Well! I ran out of dishwasher soap!

    Take care, be safe and social distance yourselves.
     
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  2. Giri12

    Giri12 Gold IL'ite

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    Dish washing is not new to me. We do use to have maid for regular utensils still there used to be so many things we never give to her like cup soccer spoons any plastic or any glass cutlery or some guest plate icercream dish our regular 3 tiffins etc etc so daily it was a huge task for me. Now with no maid indeed its more tedious job
    I never used gloves so no experience in that. But i do clean dishes n soak them in little soapy water for 5-10 mins n then start
    The job. Also i m getting help from everyone so its ok for now. Also i make it in in 3-4 small batches so it looks ok otherwise it looks like one big mammoth to finish. Also after big batch of dishes i wash my hands with gentle normal soap
    Hope this phase will end soon. Good luck to u.
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @Nuzhath,

    You have patiently described what you had been through during the lockdown period when maids are prohibited to enter in many apartments. I wonder what they do to make a living. Fortunately, most homeowners gave paid holidays to the maids. I live in Florida and we are under stay-at-home order as well since April 3rd. Governor of Florida implemented stay-at-home order after so many wrote to him about his audacity of allowing people to enjoy the spring break in the beaches. Thank God, sense prevailed and he decided to lock down Florida and the beaches.

    Times like this teach important lessons to us. We are all now trained shoppers who don't leave the house without a list of things to be purchased. We are now using card tapping to pay for the groceries and medicines and no longer swipe the credit card. We notice that most groceries moved the swiping pad 6 feet away from those who ring the payments. It is unbelievable to watch the doctors, medical professionals, delivery boys, USPS, employees of pharmacies, and groceries working under tough conditions and for longer hours than hours they normally work. We are working on a mission to make home-made masks for these workers and that gives a good feeling that we are at least helping those who work tirelessly in this situation.

    I have definitely learned some techniques about how to wash dishes from your thread. Luckily, when I remodeled the kitchen, I have designed a deep sink and it is handy for these days. I had a refrigerator failure in the middle of the lockdown. Some electronic parts failed to result in ice formation around the vent inside the fridge. I have to switch off the refrigerator, remove all the items, and call the technicians to come. Water was flowing from the fridge and I ended up cleaning all the water. Two days later, the technician came and fixed the problem in 30 minutes and we are now back in business.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your snippet.

    Viswa
     
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  4. Needtobestrong

    Needtobestrong Platinum IL'ite

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    This thread was quite entertaining...being in India I've been used to delegating cleaning and utensils washing work to maids....but irregularity of maids and staying in joint family makes workload more and many times I had necessity to wash vessels myself...since past one month since maids are banned I'm under compulsion to do utensils on my own...few things to follow are..dont let vessels pile in sink , its physically and mentally draining to wash so much on one go...wash now and then like after every meal...and if you're not much of early morning person dont let vessels pile up in sink overnight as you'd get irritated seeing pile full of vessels in early morning...good idea to soak vessels in water in sink for 15 minutes to make it easier...I have multiple scrubbers..I.e steel one for milk and tea boiling vessels...normal ones for just cups, steel tumblers etc...everyone to strictly wash their own plates...i sometimes use liquid gel like Vim or Pril etc diluted with water as it's easier on the hands...I'm truly exhausted with the demands of washing utensils for joint family setup especially when in laws at the type who will not even wash single vessel whether spoon or cup...I do not own dishwasher...truly its an irritating chore especially when clothes are becoming wet and floor becomes wet after wshing sink full vessels, shoulders and hands aching.. hands wet and irritating with long term use of detergent etc...
     
  5. Nuzhath

    Nuzhath Silver IL'ite

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    Hi
    Thanks! Makes me feel better that I am not the only one. It took about 10 days for the chaos to settle down. Like you rightly pointed out - I am not a morning person - I like to see the kitchen clean when I step into it in the early hours of the morning. Now - the schedule is up, right and running.
    Thanks to indusladies to allow us to talk about such things - trivial at such grave times.
     
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  6. Nuzhath

    Nuzhath Silver IL'ite

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  7. dextergodon

    dextergodon New IL'ite

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    Hand washing dishes is by no stretch of the imagination a fun chore, especially if you have a large family. Quite frankly, if you have the funds and space it might be best to invest in a washing machine. In fact considering that the new Energy Star certified washing machines are so efficient by using one you could save more than $40 yearly on your utility bills here is the link for more detail.Dapper Reviews | Unbiased Reviews by Industry Experts -
     
  8. Nuzhath

    Nuzhath Silver IL'ite

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    Thanks!
    I am an irregular quilter as well. I mean, I donate baby quilts whenever I get time - which is rare. I had prepped 5 inch square pieces of cotton fabric for my next quilt. I donated these pieces to the staff in my block so that they can insert within their purchased face masks.
    My woes dont end at the kitchen sink as well. My husband squirted some pretty powerful detergent spray on all the electric switch panels at home. One by one, each switch is literally falling off their sockets. :) Now, our main hall is very dim since it has only one light switch working, kitchen does not have light, and some fans are not working!
    Appreciate your response.
     

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