How to Enjoy Washing Up

Broccoli & Basil Meatzza

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #00adef;”] C[/dropcap]leaning a messy kitchen has for the longest time been my least favourite part of the cooking process.

For years I’ve loved the planning, the shopping, the cooking and of course, the eating.

But the clean up?

Not so much.

Until earlier in the year.

I decided to have an experiment to see what would happen if I re-framed the cleaning up process.

What if I tried to make it fun?

Enjoyable even?

And I found it is possible to have some fun while you’re doing dishes…

How to Enjoy Washing Up

1. Reframe how you think about it.
I started by telling myself that when I walked into the kitchen to clean up after putting small boys to bed that my ‘me time’ started now. Not when I sat down on the couch.

2. Find some audio entertainment.
I love audio books and podcasts. So now I save my fun listening for my cleaning up time.

3. Enjoy the ritual of a nice cup of tea.
My first task when it comes to cleaning up is to boil the kettle and make myself a little pot of herbal tea. I have quite a collection and I love trying new ones. In Summer I might switch this to a big glass of cold sparkling water or kombucha.

What about you?

How do you feel about cleaning up? Do tell in the comments below…

More tips on cleaning up

Have fun in the kitchen (even when you’re cleaning up!)

With love,
Jules x


  • I think washing and cleaning are big job for all housewife. I’m lucky that my husband help me sometimes.

  • I’m a 64 year old male that has two older brothers. As kids one washed dishes, one dried the dishes and one set and cleaned the table. We rotated every week. As I get close to retirement the sink has become my comfort zone and it is actually relaxing that I don’t have to think and be on a computer. I always listen to music but never thought about audio books. Thanks for the tip as well as the recipes!

  • I’ve been trying to re-frame doing the dishes. I get really stressed whenever the dishes aren’t done, so I try to think of doing the dishes as a form of self-care. It works sometimes.

    • Your comment sounds like it could have been written by me. :) I feel the same way, when the kitchen is a mess I get so stressed and overwhelmed that I can hardly bring myself to enter the kitchen. I’ve gotten better at getting on it sooner, and even telling myself that all I have to do is organize that dishes – It gets me moving sooner, and makes me feel so much better even before I start washing up.

  • Before I even begin cooking, I fill my sink with hot soapy water. Then I prepare the mis en place and as I cook, I toss any used dishes, forks, spoons, bowls, etc into the hot water. If/when I get to the step of simmering something for a while or baking in the oven, I rinse and put the dishes from the hot soapy bath and into the dish drainer.
    If you have a dishwashing maching, load it up as you go. Then when dinner is ready, you only have to wash the final pot or baking pan along with the dinner plates and utensils.

  • I sometimes listen to a soothing music CD in the background when I’m cooking, washing up, drying up and tidying up my kitchen. Thanks for the suggestion on “me time” not necessarily always meaning spending it on my favourite hobbies.

  • Hi Jules,
    Can relate to this story easily. Somehow I enjoy my meals more when most of the clean up is done by the time I sit down to enjoy the fruits of my cooking labours.
    Over time this clean up has developed into a clean as I go system.

    Have access to a temporary or permanent compost collection container in hand. Have any other kind of collection containers on hand – somewhere for onions, brown/kitchen paper, cardboard other recyclables. This strategy helps to keep the bench clear, is done as you go and grows a halo in honour of one’s preparedness!

    Half fill the sink with plain hot water whether you have dishwasher or not. Be generous with your biodegradable washing liquid if there is oil in the recipe.

    Add about a cup of plain vinegar (the sort that sells for about $2 for 2 litres tipped into a detergent bottle neat and able to be squirted into the water in a similar fashion).

    This strategy ensures all glassware/china/stainless steel/cutlery comes out shining and more germfree than usual and can be washed as you go mainly while you are waiting for something to happen on the stove or waiting for a kettle to boil. (I am amazed at how much I end up doing during the time it takes to boil one litre of water.)

    Wash or wipe out pots & pans in that warm water with vinegar as you go. Any traces of vinegar will evaporate as items dry.

    Extra point – the best time to clean marks on an enamel or stainless steel stove is while it is hot. As soon as you turn appliance off, dip cloth in the vinegar water and wipe or rub strongly if there are brown burn marks.

    Chopping boards will be safe to use in most cases especially if you wash them once a week and leave them to dry in the sun under a good sprinkling of salt.

    By using a Chinese cleaver; a very versatile blade, fewer knives are used once you become better at using the cleaver if you need to start from scratch like me. It is also perfect when laid flat for collecting small stuff from the chopping board and thereby keeping that vinegar water freer from floating debris!

    If you have a plain sink without and do not use a dish rack, placing a tea towel on the draining board will facilitate easier stacking and better drying and faster putting away and therefore more time for U.

    • Love the imagery of growing your halo Jude!

      Thanks for sharing – inspirational tips here.

      And I agree – cleaing the stove while still hot is a game changer :)

  • Very Interesting Topic Indeed!
    I too hate doing dishes and cleaning up but I have been much better at it since we detected that we have mice in our kitchen. I have become obsessed with making sure everything is put away and the counters are clean. I use a mix of dish soap, water and alcohol in a spray bottle to clean the counters. I hope my obsession continues after we have found all the little ways they can get it – working on it.
    Having a clean kitchen is a bit of a catch 22 for me though – when the kitchen is a mess I don’t feel like cooking int BUT when the kitchen is clean I don’t want to cook (and make a mess). LOL.
    In my son’s home they have a fairly rigid rule that the one who cooks does not clean up. I think that means he mostly cleans up because I don’t think he cooks much and his wife is a good cook. I like that rule.

    • Mice are an excellent motivator Miriam!

      I know a lot of people who follow your son’s rule – he only problem with that is the person who is cooking doesn’t have an incentive to minimise the mess they create :)

  • I wash up to occupy the time while l wait for the kettle to boil. then I stop and make tea.
    Sometimes I have to come back for several cups before the washing up is done unless someone comes along meantime and can’t bare the dishes in the sink that I am very tolerant of.

  • The thought of coming back to a clean kitchen and not being behind motivates me to do the dishes. I just think of it as part of the meal. No job is done until the evidence is removed. If you can tell that we had a meal or what we have eaten by something other than the clean dishes, the meal is not truly done.

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