THE WORLD IS DIVIDED into those people who do the dishes straight after dinner and those filthy degenerates who leave them to develop all kinds of killer spores overnight. Some people are so keen to get on with the washing-up, that you’ve barely got the last spoonful of pineapple jelly in your mouth before they’re clattering away in the kitchen.
Dishwashers have made kitchens washing-up-free zones in the same way that computers have given us paperless offices – i.e. they haven’t. That’s because dishwashers, even though they use enough water to supply a small trout farm, can still only manage to clean a flat plate with a few loosely attached crumbs.
In the days before sexual equality, men could demonstrate their commitment to female empowerment by washing-up after Sunday lunch. They would tuck into the washing-up blissfully unaware that most of the really nasty stuff had already been washed up well before lunch was served.
Men washing-up always complain about their tools. A cloth is never enough: they need wire wool, some kind of stiff brush and industrial strength detergents. Men generally do about half the washing-up and then they decide to ‘leave the rest to soak’. Unchecked, these items would then be left to soak until the end of the footy season.
The order in which you wash up is key: starting with a roasting pan and then going onto the sherry glasses is fine only if you’re happy to have the world’s greasiest sherry glasses for the vicar to juggle with next time he’s round. Start with the sherry glasses and then go onto the heavy stuff. Then you can smash up all the sherry glasses with your casserole dish on the draining board.
To avoid this you need to do a little pre-wash-up of the sherry glasses and then immediately dry them with a freshly minted tea towel. This gets them out of the way and also prevents them smearing (if there’s one thing vicars won’t forgive you for, it’s a smeary sherry glass).
Half way through washing-up, the water begins to resemble the Ganges during burial high season. Only press on if all you’ve got left to do are Gran’s old saucepans. Anything else is likely to come out dirtier than it went in. When you’ve finished, wipe down the surfaces and then pull the plug. Then refill the sink for that one crucial item of glassware you invariably miss.
Finally, remember that the washing-up is not finished until the kettle is on for tea and more cup-dirtying.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.