Step 1: Dishsoap and Sponges
What is the point of dishwashing?
To remove food, scum, scents, flavors, grease, oil, etc. from your dishes.
What is the best tool to use?
Use a sponge that has a scrubby side on it. This way you can soak up soapy water to scrub away at your dishes with. Using a plain sponge with no scrub is pointless - it won't scrub the food or grease off of your dishes!
How do I get rid of the "germs?"
Washing your dishes will help get rid of most of them, and the rest tend to die once the dishes dry off (bacteria can't live without water!). However, if you're concerned, you could always rinse your dishes with a 1/20 bleach dilution, or add a tiny bit of bleach to your dishsoap.
Step 2: Soak Your Dishes and Silverware
Step 3: Two Methods for Soaping
If you don't have as many dishes, or if you're feeling lazy, squirt a little soap onto one side of your sponge (the scrubby side) and run a little of hot water onto it.
Step 4: Scrub Those Dishes!
Make sure you wash the outside and bottoms of your dishes, especially the ones you stack. Nobody wants a cup with grimy fingerprints / lip prints on the outside, and if you leave food on the bottom of your bowls or plates, it will transfer onto the top of the bowl or plate underneath it!
When washing silverware, don't just wash the end of it - wash the entire length of it. This way, no matter how you leave them to dry, the entire thing will stay clean and germ-free-ish.
Step 5: Rinse and Stack
When stacking your dishes to dry, make sure you stack them upside-down, so that water can run off of them and not collect inside.
Step 6: Care for Your Sponge: Important!
Sponges are a haven for all sorts of bacteria. They LOVE growing in there! It's important to make sure your sponge is bacteria-free if you are cleaning things like cutting boards and countertops (not to mention anything else).
How to keep your sponge clean:
1. After doing the dishes, rinse your sponge thoroughly in hot, and then cold, water, squeeze out as much water as possible, and set it outside of the sink (near your soap bottle, perhaps).
2. Never leave your sponge in the sink or in water.
How to clean your sponge once it's filthy:
1. Saturate it with cold water and then microwave it for 1 minute. DO NOT TOUCH! It will be EXTREMELY hot!
2. Soak in a bowl of 1/10 bleach to water solution for 10-20 minutes.
3. Soak in a bowl of 1/5 vinegar to water solution for 10-20 minutes.