Soak dishes – Necessary or unnecessary?

Stubborn food residues are difficult to remove when washing dishes by hand if they have not been soaked beforehand. Many also soak the dishes even though they have a dishwasher to take the chore out of washing them. But what’s the best way to soak dried-on food residue? And is it even necessary to soak the dishes if they go into the dishwasher afterwards anyway? Find out here everything you need to know about soaking dishes, how it works best, and how you can quickly soak even burnt-in dishes.

When do dishes need to be soaked?

It is recommended to soak dishes when the food residues have already dried and you are washing them by hand. Conversely, you can do without it if you wash the dishes directly after the meal and the food residues have not yet dried through.

It is also advisable to soak pots and pans before washing them. Especially if, for example, milk, sauce or other food has burnt on.

How should you soak the dishes?

To do this, proceed as follows:

  • First, remove coarse food residues and dispose of them in the trash can.
  • If you need to do it quickly, use warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid for pots and pans for soaking. If you have more time, you can also use cold water. One drop of dishwashing liquid is actually enough, even if this amount seems too little for you.
  • You can put plates and cups in cold or warm water in the sink. Add some dishwashing liquid there as well.

If, for example, pots or pans are very encrusted with burnt-on food, you can also put water in there with a squirt of dishwashing liquid and put the pot on the stove. Heat the water until it almost boils. This will loosen burnt-on food residue quite quickly.

How long do dishes need to soak?

The amount of time dishes should soak depends on the degree of soiling. However, 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient for normal food residues. Burnt-on food sometimes takes longer.

Using a dishwasher sustainably: Is soaking necessary here, too?

Dishwashers loosen even stubborn soils due to the constant circulation of water, heat and detergents. So pre-rinsing or soaking is usually not necessary.

To get the full cleaning effect, you should always dose dishwasher salt, rinse aid and detergent according to the manufacturer’s instructions or use a suitable combination product. Eco-rinse programs, if available, save energy and are always preferable to use. However, since these use comparatively low temperatures, you should still select a program with 60° C or higher at least once a month. In this way, you also clean the dishwasher at the same time.

David Shaw

David Shaw

Dishwashers expert with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and shares his knowledge on many sites. Helps you choose the best (portable, countertop, built-in) dishwashers on this site.

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