How to Wash Dishes Without Magic

Of all the things I enjoyed back home, I miss the edible dishes almost more than anything lately, though I believe in any single day I can miss everything but the incessant sexual harassment from the trolls who lived near my home. They really do like to chase after pixies, both trolls and satyrs are particularly fond of pixies, and as we go about unclothed much of the time, we are quite a spectacle to watch. Oh, friends, you should have seen me back when my hair ws a lovely shade of blue and my skin glittered with pollen as I zipped about gathering nectar to sweeten my morning tea with, and how pretty the pink lines in my wings were. You really should have seen me.

But the dishes. They are a good deal of work here in the human realm! They are made of permanent stuff, just as are the clothes, and just like the clothes, they need constant upkeep and washing and storing and using and most of them break when you drop them, which is a great deal of bother because they won’t mend by being pressed together, but require glue and not the kind of glue that is good for other things around the house, but the kind that easily sticks to skin and then you have to walk around with half a dish stuck to your finger until you figure out how to get it off of you, and it still is not stuck to the rest of the dish and so you end up throwing the two pieces away because it is impossible to use the glue without gluing yourself to something, and now I am much better at unsticking myself from things I have been glued to than I am sticking things I have broken back together.

The bright side of this is that I have about half the dishes I started with when Flora brought over the old chipped set of china she “no longer found of value” (thank you, Flora, for thinking so highly of me as to give me your cast off dishes. Although, you may have had a point because I have broken a good deal of them getting used to washing them).

Yes, I drop dishes when I was them. This is because to wash dishes they need soap and water and this makes them ver slippery, and then I get bored and start looking around the kitchen and the dish always slippes from my hands just as I am over the floor and not the sink. It is such a pity, really.*

And as I said, just like clothing, dishes get dirty over and over and must be cleaned every time you wish to use them again. So the duty falls to me to keep them clean and make sure I don’t break so many that I do not have anything to eat with or on.

If only they were edible like the ones we have back home! I never even had to think about washing them. Because the dishes were made of intertwined grasses or petals or sugar and were eaten as part of the meal. I remember one spring festival, my mother (my birth mother, not the one I shared with Flora) came to town and made an entire hive of bees honey spin about us until it turned into saucers and bowls of cream and goblets of mead and we had a feast and then sucked on the dishes all night as we danced and sang. Oh those were the days that made a pixie feel alive and free and fulfilled, all honey and spirits and parties al night.

And here I am now trying to figure out how to wash permanent dishes in water and soap. It seem slime such an easy task, I hesitate to even write about it, and yet it has taken me nearly a month to feel that I might have any kind of advice to give. For such an easy chore, there are so many possibilities to choose from for how to proceed, and of course there are those dishes to try and prevent breaking.

I have heard that the is some kind of dish washing machine that is installed in some houses, but I am afraid of such a divice, and so am not overly bothered with having to use my hands, particularly now that my collection of dishes has dwindled to a manageable number, through no actions other than me being a bit slippery-fingered. The humans call this trait “butter fingered” like your fingers we covered in butter, which is cute, but if my hands were covered in butter I would be licking it off and not bothering with carrying around things just so I could drop them on the floor.


*They really are very ugly dishes. I have chosen some select new dishes for my own use, and by some miracle they remain unchipped and undropped. Maybe dishes are most loyal to those who chose them? Or maybe I am simply vindictive and enjoy tossing a plate to the floor from time to time.

To hand wash dishes:

You will need:

  • Dirty dishes
  • Dish soap – make sure this is actual dish soap, because just as hand soap and dish soap and body soap and face soap does not work in the laundry machines, none but dish soap is suitable for washing dishes. Someone needs to create or conjure a soap that works on everything, from hair to body to floors to laundry. That would be worth just about anything.
  • A sink
  • Hot water
  • Rubber gloves made for washing dishes – these come in different sizes and colors and some of them even have things like feathers on the bits that you first out your hand into and are very cute. Choose whatever you like, but the purpose of these gloves is to protect your hands from getting dry from the soap and you can use much hotter water if you wear gloves between you and the water itself.
  • A drying rack for the dishes – there are many varieties of these, and I really cannot figure out what kind is best or what. It seems like a very personal preference kind of thing.

Start with scraping as much food residues and things from the plates as you can into the garbage. Of course, this would not be necessary if the plates and things could be eaten, but I will stop complaining about that particular point for now.

Then, fill the sink (by stoppering the drain with a plug – don’t try to fill it by running water into it frter than it can escape) with hot water and add enough soap that you get a pleasant amount of bubbles.

If you have a sink that is made like two rooms you are looking down on, then fill one side and leave the other side empty. I like to lay a dish towel or two in the bottom to cussion any breakable things I like and do not wish to accidentally drop and ruin them. It also makes a clean place to set down the cleaned dishes before you rinse them. If you don’t have one of those sinks, but one large basin, then get a large cooking pot or a plastic tub and fill this with water, then use the rest of the sink to set the dishes to be rinsed.

Be careful how much soap you do put in, because the bubbles can get to be quite a lot and when they are so high that they touch the cieling and droop down onto the floor and make everything very slippery, washing dishes is rather impossible and you could end up spending the entire day mopping the kitchen floor (again!) and wiping off the counters over and over and then you will be too tired to do the dishes you needed to and might end up eating noodles from the pan you cooked them in instead of putting them in a bowl.*

So now that you have figured out the proper amount of soap and bubbles, get a dish rag, which is a small towel like thing that can be used for all sorts of wiping and cleaning. It is similar to a “washcloth,” which is used in the washing of skin and bodies, but not in the kitchen. Some people like to use sponges or brushes or all kinds of other tools, but I like the cloths because you can use them to wash the dishes then wipe down the kitchen and then put it in the laundry and get it nice and clean for next time. So I use a dish rag.

Note that if your dishes are particularly dirty or the food is stuck to a plate left out overnight or a pot that has something cooked to the bottom of it, it will probably need to soak in the soapy water before you wash it.

Put on your gloves, and get your dish rag wet with soapy water. Choose several dirty dishes that are not oily and dip them in the sink of water and wash them by rubbing the cloth over the surface until all the food is gone. Set the cleaned dishes aside and keep washing, working from the least the the most oily of the dirty dishes, because oil seems to chase away bubbles somehow.

You will have to rinse the dishes you have cleaned as you go if you have lots of dirty dishes to make room for more. To do this, turn on the water and move the dishes beneath it until all the soap is removed. Then set on the drying rack.

The drying rack is kind of the tricky part. Flora can stack hers admirably high with things, but whenever I try to do this the dishes slide away and break or bounce across the floor, so I try and to keep it simple and straightforward. If you run our of room, you can use a clean towel to dry the dishes or you could spread the clean towel out on the counter and set cleaned dishes down on it to air dry.

And no matter how ugly your donated dishes may be, DO NOT put them in the clothes dryer. The resulting mess is not worth the fun.

When you are done, use the dish rag and the soapy water ( if it is not too dirty) to wipe down the kitchen and anything that is dirty, then put it and the other towels you used aside to launder.


*By the way, I have discovered something called “macaroni and cheese” which is exactly what it is. These are noodles called “macaroni” and they have butter and cheese sauce put over them and it is simply a divine thing to eat while watching the television or evesdropping on the neighbors throwing things at each other. A lot of it sounds like dishes that are breaking. I wonder if they have trouble with family giving them ugly china too, and feel obligated to pare down their collection by throwing them at one another in anger.**


**What on the planet could two people find to argue about that much? I can’t even think of enough to talk about for as long as they can keep on screaming at each other. It is very impressive.

(1,889 words)


One thought on “How to Wash Dishes Without Magic

  1. Pingback: 128% of Scientists are easily misled by cancerous headlines « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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