So, do you clean up as you go or let it all pile up in the sink?

This subject just came up in the WFD thread so I’m curious about other posters.

I am in the clean up as you go camp. I find washing dishes by hand therapeutic. My husband on the other hand will pick out larger dishes and pans than needed and it all piles up.

Btw: We’ve had two kitchen remodels over the years and each time he said “Are you sure you don’t want a dishwasher”.? Nope. One time he brought home a close out from HD. The kind of dishwasher you hook up to the kitchen faucet. I said What The Heck!? Not sure where that thing ever wound up and don’t care…:slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve never had a dishwasher, and since I’ve always lived at least technically alone, I’ve only very occasionally felt the lack. (I’ve never done major  dinner party/holidays in my own home, but I have often done major cooking to take elsewhere, and sometimes “special projects” have generated an inordinate amount of dishwashing in a short period of time, when it would’ve been nice to be able to let a machine do that work while I was doing other things in the kitchen.

I think because they stay closed and so develop a funky/mildewy- smell that lingers even after you’ve run the cycle, I find slowly filling up a dishwasher of the course of days or a week a little grosser actually than what I sometimes do when I’m very busy - or being very lazy - which is scrape/rinse dishes of everything that will  rinse off under a brief run of hot water, with or without benefit of a very quick swipe of a scrubbing pad - and let them sit neatly (ish) piled up in the sink until I either feel like washing them or need the dishes, or more likely the sink space… Pots and pans are a little less obliging, but I also rinse those out and if there’s no room in the sink, put them back on the stove stop to await washing, when I need either the pans or a free burner on the stove… I don’t enjoy  washing dishes in a “therapeutic” or any other sense, but it is  the household chore I find least onerous, and I don’t really mind  standing over even a sinkful of them until they’re done.

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When I graduated from college my first job was near my parent’s house. I rented the basement (I kid you not). I was working long hours trying to make a good impression so when I got home from work my parents were usually eating (my father taught at a local college at night and time was constrained). The meant I had to clean up all my mother’s dishes and the my own after cooking my dinner.

I’ve been a confirmed clean as you go person ever since.

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I have trouble enjoying my food if the kitchen’s a wreck, so I definitely clean as I go. The apartment I live in now (for 15+ years - this is not new news) is my first with a dishwasher, and it’s changed the way I cook, in that I’m less reluctant to use yet another knife, or whisk, or spoon, 'cause I know I can just throw it in. This has made me better at cooking. And I’ve still retained my neatness.


We bought a dishwasher when we moved into this house some 30+ years back. We only did that because the previous owners had had one and there was an otherwise unused space. We did include one when we remodelled a few years back, really without thinking. There are only two of us, so it can take a while to fill it ready for washing but it’s a useful place to store dirty crockery, cutlery and pans. I am otherwise a very messy cook; my partner much less so.

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When younger I was in the second camp (pile up), since I’m the one to cook, and H the one to wash, and he has the tendency to pile up, and usually at least a day, meaning less space in sink and work surface. I adopt the first camp now and wash the dishes myself instead. The cooking is much more efficient, than the need to stop and wash this pot or move the piles all the time.

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When cooking or baking I keep things mostly clean and organized. BUT, I am done after serving dinner. I will put food away and dishes next to or in the sink but I can’t make myself clean the kitchen at night. And I don’t mind waking up to a mess, I find it relaxing.


Rinse and wipe dry the dishes and cooking utensils and place in dishwasher … No piles …

And / or my dearest pitches in or I pitch in if he is cooking.

The dishwasher saves us both alot of labor and it is more hygenic.


I’m with @Elsieb I clean as I go, But when the meal is over, I just put away leftovers, condiments, etc, rinse the dishes, stack the by the sink and clean up in the morning. It’s become kind of a routine . . . I bring in the paper, put on the coffee and tackle the dishes in between each section of the paper.

Growing up (family of 6), we didn’t have a dishwasher; although dad said he had 4 dishwashers. That changed in my teens when the kitchen was remodeled and my sisters and I were thrilled since we weren’t released for the evening until the kitchen was clean.

When I moved to my new house about 10 years ago I initially used the dishwasher. But it’s just mom and me and we would run out of glasses before the dishwasher was full enough to run. (Yes, I insist the washer be full before running it.)

I occasionally host holiday meals, but when I do I use my china and silver. So no dishwasher use.

I sometimes have family or friends over for a less formal meal (well, not so much now) which is how I know my dishwasher still works.

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My ex-wife was a pile person and I’m clean-as-you-go. She initially suggested one cook and one clean. That lasted a week. I did most of the dishes as I cooked and I did all the dishes when she cooked. So we switched to the cook cleans.

My wife now is a pile person and I’ve given up on small stuff so I accept that I just do all the dishes.

What defines “full enough” for you? Automatic dishwashers are much more efficient than hand washing by a factor (depending on who you believe and how old your dishwasher is) of three to five. Google “efficiency dishwasher vs hand washing.” That means you can run the dishwasher only a quarter full and still feel good about yourself.

My threshold is that if there is not enough room to hold the next meal’s dishes I run it. My wife fills it to the brim and stacks dishes on the counter while the dishwasher runs so we can empty the dishwasher and then load the dishes from the counter. sigh Regardless, with two people eating three meals per day we run the dishwasher every other day. That’s just dishes and glasses and flatware. No cookware other than slow cooker crockware once in a while.

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“Full enough”. Okay, this sounds excessive, but it’s smart: We have a longtime friend whose kitchen remodeling specced a dishwasher on either side of the sink. On the doors there are magnets holding signs – one says “clean” and the other “dirty”. The family never puts anything much away – just moves magnets and dishes left to right and right to left as the days pass. No big sacrifice in storage space, when you think about it.


I’ve seen dual dishwashers in homes where there is a lot of entertaining. The concept of never putting anything away is intriguing. I don’t think my wife would go for it.

Mom and I have a system. When she cooks, I clean. When I cook, I clean. Seems to work well for one of us.


Does she also tell you what to cook?

Nah, we usually agree on what to make ahead of time. If we decide on something like quesadillas or a stir fry, I’m the cook. If it’s chicken piccata or a marinated london broil it’s her. Basically I do the more “ethnic” dishes while she handles American and Italian (for an Irish American woman she’s a superb Italian cook; even my Italian American bil craves her manicotti and stuffed shells :wink:

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My wife’s family is 100% Italian. I’m Russian-German-English. Favorite lasagna in the family? Mine. grin

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Similar in this house. If it’s a Western European dish, it’ll probably be Mrs H cooking it. If it’s from elsewhere, it’s probably me

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Def a clean as I go. I leave the garbage can to-my right when I’m at the sink or counter cutting/prep produce because everyone in my family does it.

I wipe down the frig shelves before food shopping.


Mostly a piler. I clean as I go in terms of keeping my work area clean and moving dishes to the sink, but I find it more efficient to wash several things at once than one by one.

At home, things can pile up a bit too long but I’m trying to be better about that. It helps that I’ve been cooking more.


Such a tough question. I say: In my mind, I am a clean as I go, but in other people’s mind, I am probably a pile up. How is that?


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