Skip to Content

7 Tips for Creating Fewer Dirty Dishes

Do you dread facing the mountain of dirty dishes in your kitchen sink at the end of the day? You’re not alone! For many moms, washing dishes is a dreaded chore. And one that never seems to be done.

There is always someone in the house eating and adding another dish to the pile. If this sounds like your struggle, you’re going to want to read this post! Check out these tips for creating fewer dirty dishes!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.

dirty dishes

Wash Fewer Dirty Dishes Every Night with these Tips!

If you want to make washing dishes easier, the real trick is to have less dishes to wash.  Here are some simple and practical tips to reduce the amount of dishes in your sink.

1. Label Dishes for Each Person

One of the easiest ways to create fewer dirty dishes is to reuse dishes as much as possible. If you’re tired of your kids grabbing a new cup every time they take a sip of water, it’s time to start assigning cups for the day.

There are a few easy ways to do this. Every family member can use their own special water bottle or cup and keep it on the counter or in the refrigerator all day. Or if you have nothing but matching cups, put a piece of masking tape or a sticker with initials on each cup indicating who will be using it for the day.

My kids are young and still use sippy cups, so I use colors. My oldest always has a yellow lid on her cup and my youngest has a red lid.

If you’re working on having your kids learn to do their own dishes and you really want to cut down the number of dishes you do at the end of the day, consider labeling bowls and plates as well as cups.

Let each of your kids know they are responsible for washing their own labeled bowls and plates after each meal so that it’s ready for the next one. This is an easy way to cut down on dirty dishes and teach personal responsibility. Check out this post on making this work for your family.

2. Cook One Pot Meals to Reduce Dirty Dishes

One pot meal recipes are easy to search for online and a great way to cut down on the number of dishes you create when you cook.

Often you can also turn your regular recipes into one pot meals with a little creativity. For example, instead of mixing casserole ingredients in a bowl and pouring into the oven dish, mix everything directly into your casserole dish.

You may have to stir a little more carefully with the low sides, but it will create fewer dishes.

fewer dirty dishes

3. Wash Small Stuff as You Go

Washing as you go may not necessarily cut down on your total number of dishes in a day but it does make the dirty dish pile in the sink less daunting.

Things like measuring cups, mixing bowls, and whisks can be washed immediately after use and put away in seconds, rather than tossing them in the sink.

Another easy way to keep your dirty dish pile from growing is to rinse dishes and load them in the dishwasher immediately after use. Make each family member responsible for their own dishes. Bypass the sink entirely with as many dishes as you can and put everything straight into the dishwasher.

4. Hide What You Don’t Need

Never put out more dishes at a meal than you absolutely need. If you set the table with a knife, spoon, and fork every night when in reality everyone will just use their fork, you’re creating unnecessary work for yourself.

If you don’t typically set the table but often your kids grab more silverware than they need, start setting the table before the meal (or have your kids do it). But use only exactly what is needed for the meal being served.

The minute a dish hits the table it eventually ends up in your sink, even if no one uses it. Try to keep these unused dishes to a minimum by keeping everything out of sight that isn’t necessary for the meal being served.


5. Serve Finger Foods

Even when you only use the silverware you need for a meal, it can end up creating a dish pile. Consider serving more finger foods. Often finger foods are very kids friendly.

And they can cut down on more than silverware. Often a plate isn’t needed for small snacks or finger foods you can pick up off of a serving platter and eat.

Try serving nachos for dinner. Everyone taking chips from one bowl and dipping from one large platter. No need for individual plates!

I love serving a few different finger food appetizers for dinner. And letting everyone eat off of communal plates. You’d be amazed at how much finger foods cut down on dirty dishes.

6. Rinse & Reuse

During the cooking process, there are often a number of bowls, measuring cups and utensils involved. Consider how often you pull out a new utensil or measuring cup when you could simply rinse and reuse one you’ve already dirtied.

If you use your ½ teaspoon measuring spoon for one ingredient and then need a whole teaspoon of something else, you can just rinse and reuse the ½ teaspoon twice.

Whisks, spatulas, and pancake turners are all things you can often rinse and reuse when they are involved in cooking the same meal, rather than dirty a new utensil.

7. Serve Everything on One Plate

If your family dinner typically involves extra dishes like a bread plate or separate bowl for a salad, consider whether you can serve the entire meal on one larger plate.

Can the salad fit on the main plate if you slide the entree over? Can the bread be served on a corner of the dinner plate or placed to the side on a napkin?

Often you’ll find you can serve the same amount food, including sides and even dessert on one plate with some creative placement. And this will seriously help with creating fewer dirty dishes.

A few simple changes to your cooking and serving routines and you’ll be creating fewer dirty dishes in no time!

7 Tips for Creating Fewer Dirty Dishes


Share and join us on social media!