10 Easy tips to avoid washing-up

Washing up tips

Washing-up is one of those never-ending little jobs with a despairingly short-lived reward.  In short, we all want to avoid washing-up.

You can bet your life that as soon as you’ve washed the last cup, emptied the sink and wiped the surfaces, another dirty utensil will appear from nowhere keenly awaiting it’s turn in the soap studs.

This would be particularly true in the life of a single mum, where quite possibly the ratio of people in your house (you and your children) far outweighs the number of people doing the washing-up (you).

Of course there are obvious ways for you to win the washing-up war.  You may have a dishwasher, but even then there’s a certain amount of hand-washing.  Or you may enlist the help of your children if they are old enough (and can do it properly, without you having to do it all again).  Plus, you can make washing-up easier and faster by being organised and following the basic rules that we all know, such as soaking pots and pans.

However below is list of ideas that you may not have considered.  They are handy little tips that actually prevent the need for some of the washing-up in the first place.  So if you’re starting to feel as if you’re surgically attached to your kitchen sink, please read on.



Children are always thirsty.  Many like to take small sips of drink throughout the day.  Don’t allow them to keep using new glasses that need washing-up every time.  Give them a cup or a water bottle to be used and refilled all day.  If your children have friends over, ask them to do the same.


Use snap-lock bags instead of plastic containers for inside packed lunch boxes.  If you are trying to keep lunches healthy and avoid packaged cakes and potato chips, just pop your home-baked goodies or healthy snack in a snap-lock bag.  Depending on what goes in it, some bags can be re-used a few times to save money. Avoid washing-up all those pesky plastic containers.


Line oven trays with grease proof paper or foil before putting in/on the ingredients.  It will stop them sticking, and when you’ve finished simply throw-away the paper and put the dish back in the cupboard.


If your children’s friends come for dinner use throw away plates and bowls.  They are cheap to purchase.  The children won’t mind (it’s like a party).  Just chuck them out when they’ve finished.


Use digital scales when you’re measuring ingredients.  Simply put your bowl on the scales and measure out the first ingredient.  Then return the display to zero and add the next ingredient.  There’s no need to keep using clean bowls each time to measure something. Avoid washing-up a zillion measuring bowls.


Use foil trays for baking dishes like cottage pie and lasagne.  Grab a pack of cheap ones from any dollar shop.  Simply cook, eat and then throw out the tray.  These are particularly good if you’re planning on freezing the dish too.


Clean your blender easily by popping in some warm water and a very small drop of washing-up liquid, put on the lid and turn on for 30 seconds.  Then just rinse under a running tap.


Limit the amount of pans you use when cooking by boiling ingredients together when possible.  For example, pasta and vegetables.


If you’re trying a new dish, make sure you read the recipe before you start.  This way you can be prepared and make sure that you use the right bowls/dishes, and as few as possible.


Consider one of these handy Dishmatic brushes.  You simply fill the handle with washing-up liquid, which is sparingly dispensed onto the sponge.  It will help keep the washing-up under control by cleaning single items as you go.

The line - Shona

Note:  Some of these handy tips do have a cost involved and some are not particularly environmentally friendly if done on a daily basis.  However, as a single mum, it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a break every now and then.  Use your common sense and find a balance that works for you.

I hope that these ideas were useful.  Even if you decide to try just one which saves you from the monotony of washing-up then it will have been worth the read.

There is no doubt that you may have some really cool tips of your own.  We would love to hear them at Beanstalk.  Please feel free to share them in this blog.  Comments, advice and the odd funny story are always welcome.

Lucy Good

Lucy Good

Lucy, founder of Beanstalk, sits at the centre of the think-tank of modern-day single motherhood. Her mission is to help single mums navigate the maze of separation and divorce, and to confidently rebuild and embrace their new path in life.

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