Vintage housekeeping tip :: rules for dishwashing

The following rules for washing dishes will aid in promoting the desired care and neatness:

1. Scrape the dishes, putting away any food which may remain on them, and which it may be proper to save for future use. Put grease into the grease-pot, and whatever else may be on the plates into the slop-pail. Save tea-leaves for sweeping. Set all the dishes, when scraped, in regular piles, the smallest at the top.

2. Put the nicest articles in the wash-dish, and wash them in hot suds
with the swab or nicest dish-cloth. Wipe all metal articles as soon
as they are washed. Put all the rest into the rinsing-dish, which
should be filled with hot water. When they are taken out, lay them to
drain on the waiter. Then rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up, wipe
the articles washed, and put them in their places.

3. Pour in more hot water, wash the greasy dishes with the dish-cloth
made for them, rinse them, and set them to drain. Wipe them, and set
them away. Wash the knives and forks, being careful that the handles are never put in water; wipe them, and then lay them in a knife-dish, to be scoured.

4. Take a fresh supply of clean suds, in which wash the milk-pans,
buckets, and tins. Then rinse and hang up this dish-cloth, and take
the other, with which, wash the roaster, gridiron, pots, and kettles.
Then wash and rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up. Empty the
slop-bucket, and scald it. Dry metal teapots and tins before the fire.
Then put the fire-place in order, and sweep and dust the kitchen.

Some persons keep a deep and narrow vessel, in which to wash knives
with a swab, so that a careless servant can not lay them in the water while washing them. This article can be carried into the
eating-room, to receive the knives and forks when they are taken from
the table.

~ The American Woman’s Home (1872)
by Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe

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3 thoughts on “Vintage housekeeping tip :: rules for dishwashing

  1. “Then put the fire-place in order, and sweep and dust the kitchen.”
    After that it may as well read:
    “Then commence preparing lunch after which you will repeat this process again, soon after which you shall begin the evening meal after which you will do all said instructions a third time, then fall into bed exhausted until you rise to do it all over again the next day.”
    Or something like that. 🙂

    I loved the detail provided-how interesting! Makes me thankful for my dishwasher. Everything is so easy now!

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