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November 14, 2012 | Fiction

Wash Theory

Anthony Varallo

Wash Theory photo

Plates, large:
Stack in bottom row.  Front side should face the rinse cylinder.  Do not face plates away from the rinse cylinder.   Do not stack in top row.  If washing by hand, make sure to wash both sides evenly and with equal care.  It cannot be stated enough: a plate has two sides. 

Glasses:
Always stack in top row, even if you have space available below.  Remember: a bottom-stacked glass is a broken glass.  Glasses may be hand-washed, but must be never be towel-dried, especially wine glasses and champagne flutes.  A towel-dried champagne flute is the last word in amateurism.  DON’T DO THIS!

Coffee mugs:
Top row stacking is preferable, but coffee mugs may, in rare instances, be placed in the bottom row, if room permits.  Hand rinse all mugs before stacking.  Use Scrubee or hard sponge for all sugar/coffee residues.  Remember, as in all other matters of washing: you do the work—the machine finishes.

Plates, small:
Rinse cold, stack in bottom row or top, if space available.  Advanced: a small plate may be successfully wedged into the bottom row, perpendicular to the silverware holder, provided that the plate does not block the rinse jets.  If plate clinks during spray cycle, discontinue bottom wedging.

Silverware:
Silverware technique is largely a matter of personal taste, but it should be noted that no single technique satisfies all silverware needs—be willing to experiment.  In general, silverware should be loaded “bouquet” style, with ends up to ensure maximum rinsing; however, in some instances, silverware may be placed handles up, as in the case of steak knives and serving spoons.  Wooden-handled knives should never be machine washed, even if manufacturer’s silverware holder has a separate wash column for such purposes.  Silverware is silverware; wood is wood.  Confusion can only breed confusion.

On drying racks:
A well-stacked drying rack builds naturally and organically from a well-defined center.  Do not use pre-assigned drying slots, or, in lieu of rack, stack wet dishes on a towel.  Remember: your washing is a reflection of you.  Save large bowls, pots and pans for last, as these may successfully “dome” a carefully organized drying rack.  Advanced: hang measuring cups from ends of salad tongs.

“Fringe” items:
Colanders should always be hand-washed as should all salad bowls and cooking utensils.  A whisk should be washed as silverware (above).  Mushroom brushes defy washing, and should be avoided, if possible.  A cheese grater may be soaked in soapy water, but should not be left to soak overnight, or re-soaked before washing.  A good theory never equates soaking and washing. 

Competing Theory:
Leave dishes in sink until tomorrow. 

image: Caleb Curtiss


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