Let me begin with a caveat: I do not always do the dishes straight away. I do try to, because I think it’s always easier to just deal with the mess instead of letting it pile up. Why not put that coffee mug in the dishwasher or give that chef’s knife a quick rinse and dry and put it safely back on my magnetic strip?
The alternative is that I don’t do those things and I just leave it all out on the counter. Or I’ll stack the pots and plates and assorted cutlery up in the sink, which makes me feel virtuous and like I did something, even though I inevitably take it all out of the sink in order to do the actual cleaning.
The point is, the first option is definitely preferable and I feel a tiny bit smug when I glimpse at my cleared-away counters and empty sink. But I am definitely not perfect and there are plenty of times when I let everything go and have to deal with a whole heap of dirty dishes.
Regardless of which scenario plays out, though, I always do this one thing after I’ve done the dishes.
Once the dishes are loaded in the dishwasher and I’ve scrubbed my cast iron with salt and oil, dried it off, and hung it back on its hook; once I’ve swept any lingering crumbs off the counters and wiped away wine spills or grease spots, I always (or, you know almost always) clean my sink.
This cleaning of the sink can take many different forms.
Sometimes it is just a quick wipe-down with a sponge or micro-fiber cloth. (As an aside, I recently bought a pack of these and, even though they’re ugly and yellow and feel weird on my fingers, I do love them for cleaning up).
Other times, I will give it a spritz of Windex or dish soap and give it a more thorough scrub. If the sink is particularly gross, I will fill it up with water and a capful of bleach and let it de-germ for a little while before draining it and then wiping it down.
And, if I’m really channeling my German mother, who is largely responsible for my cleaning education, I will even dry my sink, using a dish towel to polish it until it shines. Because, is there anything better than a sink that sparkles?
Is this something that you do, too? (Or is it just me?)
Read more: How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The One Thing I Always Do After I Do the Dishes
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