Dish washing is a simple skill that everyone knows how to do, right? The dishwasher generation, however, does not know how to wash dishes, and it’s more important than you think.
One of the most important things, and first to go in any sort of more primitive situation, is sanitation. Washing things. It keeps people healthy and alive. Dishes are particularly important because we eat off of them. If they are dirty, what we’re eating is not necessarily safe. Sometimes, though, the source of contamination comes from water.
If you are doing dishes in water that has contaminants, you’ll need to kill the bacteria so they don’t make you sick. Most water in the US has giardia in it, a bacteria which can give you vomiting and diarrhea. Here’s how you kill those bad bacteria and what you need to do it.
• 1 Dish pan.
• 1 large pot
• A dish cloth
• A towel
• Any water source that produces clear water. (Lakes, streams, wells, etc.)
I set up my dish/wash pan first. I get a pot of water on to boil and get it hot. You want that water at a rolling boil. If the water is particularly suspect, you may want to leave it boiling for 5 minutes or so.
When you are happy with the boil on your water, fill your dish pan half way up with boiling water. Dilute with cold to get it to a temperature you can put your hands into. Here’s the most important thing. THIS SHOULD BE AS HOT AS POSSIBLE. Nearly-scald-your-hands-when-you-put-them- in kinda hot, as it will have some time to cool down while you are doing the next step. Put some soap in there and put your pot back on to boil with more water.
When the second pot of water is boiling, move it over into your dish line – this is your rinse water. If you use the pot as the rinse pan, you can eliminate bringing along another piece of equipment. Remember, you want the water disgustingly, awfully hot. Here’s the big warning: Don’t burn yourself.
• Wash the dishes in the mildly cooler water.
• Rinse in the hot.
• Put on towel spread on a flat surface to dry.
Here’s a picture of my current set up – it’s all on the 4 x 4 table top, and it works Right to Left. Right is the wash pan, middle is the rinse pan, and I have an actual dish strainer to put my dishes in, though it does fold for easy travel and storage. I use this for two weeks every year to do dishes and haven’t killed anyone yet! (Ignore the sink on the right – it’s used for filling pots & pans and draining away only, and this is the first year ever that I’ve had it. It’s the tap and drain for 20+ people – I couldn’t have them dumping water down the ground drain in the middle of the kitchen – that would never do!)
Your dishes have now been sanitized to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, and hopefully, you won’t kill yourself or others! 😉