There are actually “housekeeping classes” - or were back in the days when our mothers (or grandmothers) were young. And that was way before dishwashers were ubiquitous household items.
A lot of the “rules” become easier to understand if you keep a few points in mind:
- “Fresh” dishes will be easier to remove that caked on, dried food.
- Hot water will help in loosening food residue faster, except for very few exceptions.
- All dishwashing liquid will “bind” particles and this get “used up” as you keep washing the dishes. Therefore you should remove as many residues as possible before actually putting an item in the sink - either scrape it off or rinse it off.
So what was your grandma taught?
- Scrape your dishes/pots, pour out whatever is in your glasses and cups.
- Put some hot water in your (clean) sink, add the amount of dishwashing liquid recommended for a full sink. Read the label, depending on the brand and concentration you will probably need between 2ml and 7ml. In a pinch, use “a squirt”.
- Add glasses, start washing. Rinse the clean glasses (just let the water run into the sink) and put them upside down to drain.
- Continue with the plates.
- Silverware is next.
- Pots and pans are last, they are typically the “dirtiest” items.
You may notice that if you have a larger pile of dishes that the foam will collapse and at worst see grease spots floating on the water. Then empty the sink and continue with fresh water and soap. (If you have lots of pots and pans, you can pre-wash them in the “old” water.)
- Drying with a clean(!) dish towel will give you optically better results, especially if you have hard water, which can leave stains. Note that some towels can leave lint, so choose lint-free cotton or, even better, linen.
- Air-drying is less effort, but means you’ll have the dishes stacked up at the sink for a while.
So to sum it up work from delicate to robust, from cleaner to greasier. Replace the water if necessary.