Our little plumbing mishap this week has me getting crafty with the chores. Though my first instinct with dishes is don’t do them at all, my better judgement (and sweet J) tells me that life must go on with or without a kitchen sink sewage pipe.
Tonight, our third night of improvised dish tub action, it seems almost charming, intentional. I feel a twinge of connection to my pioneer woman self to be using a turkey roasting pot as an impromptu dish tub. Long day on the snowy prairie, and now home for me, delving into the sudsy labor of returning the house to “ready-to-cook”, as opposed to “my-oh-my-look-at-all-the-dishes-the-happy-life-makes”.
I realized that not everyone grew up in a dish tub (vs dishwasher) house, or not everyone worked in a coffeeshop or bar where the fancy dish tub system prevails.
Ladies, pull out your dish tubs, we’re sudsing up the old fashioned way—when they went without running water or indoor plumbing. And for those of you hip ladies and gents who do this already, all the time, please do share some tips and secrets with the rest of us.
How to do the dishes, dish tub style:
As you work your way through soaping up each dish, just set them on the counter somewhere next to the sink in preparation for the rinse bath. Try to keep your suds bath relatively clean by scraping food remnants into the trash before plopping plates in the water, or dumping out pre-soak water from cups or bowls before you dunk them in the suds.
Once all your dishes have been sudsed, pitch out the soapy water, rinse the container or dish tub and fill with hot/warm water for the rinse cycle. If we were really fancy, we’d have two rinses. One warm and one cold. I’m lazy and tired of standing at the sink. One rinse will do for me.
I create a little friction, aka give the dish a good slosh during the rinse so that soap suds don’t cling to the dish as I pull it out of the water.
Although my kitchen drain pipe is missing right now (and has no apparent ETA for a reappearance), I still thankfully have running water. And, to be fair, my bathtub drain (covered with a drain net thingy) is ready to receive my used suds and rinse water, so I’m not pitching it out off the porch like a real pioneer lady.
I’ll be glad to have my drain pipe back, a truly under-recognized asset that I’ve happily taken for granted (until now, scraping out every piece of leftover grit from a day’s worth of food from a tiny metal sieve.)
This thought-inducing method also reminds me that dish tub washing/rinsing is a much more water-efficient method (than letting the water run while you suds and then rinse) when you have a lot of wash-by-hand dishes, or no dishwasher (like us). Your grandchildren will appreciate those considerations now as it looks like potable water is going to be in high demand for them.