Q: What’s the safest way to wash dishes? In hot or cold water? In what temperature? Should the dishes be air dried or dried with a towel?
A: Hi Mary,

Thanks for the question. Knowing how to wash your dishes safely and properly is important to maintaining health and hygiene.  

When hand washing dishes, many people think that hot water is necessary to kill bacteria. However, the water temperature needed to kill bacteria would be much too hot for our hands to handle. With that in mind, I recommend washing your dishes with warm water and dish soap. Warm water helps loosen residual food left on the dishes, leads to more effective cleaning since the food bacteria would use to survive is washed away, and is gentler on the hands! 

One important part of the dishwashing process that people often forget about is their sponges. Sponges absorb water and can have food stuck in them. As a result, bacteria can grow extensively in them. Replace your sponge every two weeks and wash your sponge after every use. There are also ways to sanitize your sponge/scrubber that you can look into! For instance, microwaving sponges kills 99.99999 percent of bacteria present on them, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You can learn more here.

For drying, I would recommend air-drying your dishes. Just ensure that water is draining from your rack. Lingering moisture will allow bacteria to grow. Drying your dishes with a towel would be fine as well, as long as you’re using a clean towel. However, if your towel has been used, even minimally, towel drying can cause cross-contamination and spread bacteria and other pathogens, like fungi, around your dishes. So, make sure you have different towels for drying dishes and for hands! 

Please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions or concerns! 

For more.

Cleaning & Handling