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  #1  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:33 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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How do Australians wash dishes?

Trying to confirm/refute something told to me:

When Australians wash dishes, they don't rinse off the dish soap, but immediately use a drying towel.

Follow-up questions:

1. If true, is it some sort of water-saving procedure?

2. If true, do Australians know that you have to wash off the suds?
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:48 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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They wipe them off counter-clockwise.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:49 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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It's not just Australians it's most non Americans. But they don't get immediately dried with a towel they are put in a rack and drained.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:52 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Without rinsing off the suds?
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:53 PM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Trying to confirm/refute something told to me:



2. If true, do Australians know that you have to wash off the suds?
Or what, the suds police are going to come and arrest you for incorrect drying?

The aliens from Omega 5 will blast you with their zappers until you comply?

Or you will be nagged until you turn into a germophobic american?
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:55 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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What suds? We use hardly any detergent, maybe a teaspoonful for a sinkful of water. It's not like there is an inches thick layer of foam on top of the water.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:56 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Well, in my experience, it varies. Some Australians wound rinse, some would drain, but most would use a dishwashing machine.
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:57 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Well, we are germophobes, but doesn't leaving the suds on run the risk of giving your next meal a soapy taste?
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:58 PM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is online now
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Wha...?

In times gone by, building standards did not make it mandatory to have two sinks in the kitchen, so there was typically only one, which meant that dishes were washed in hot water and suds, then air-dried on a rack or towel-dried and put away. I grew up with this arrangement, and it didn't kill me.

Now, I imagine dishwashers are pretty much the rule, but in any event, nowadays kitchens are built with two sinks anyway (which I imagine is a result of building standards changes). I guess this has been the norm in kitchens built since about the 70s. While I don't check out everyone's practices at dishwashing by hand, I guess most people do what the technology allows them now to do, which is rinse after washing.

In older urban houses or out bush (where there tend to be lots of older houses) I imagine that there are still quite a few one-sink kitchens where people don't bother to rinse. Ain't gonna kill them any more than it killed me. I've never noticed any particularly adverse taste effects from residue on plates or cutlery.
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2010, 08:59 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Well I just grabbed a clean cereal bowl and a plate and licked them and couldn't taste a hint of soap.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:00 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Damn, now I'll have to wash them.
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:02 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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So it's not a water-saving measure, it's that they don't know how soap works?
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:07 PM
Caught@Work Caught@Work is online now
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Dude, are you trying to be insulting?
We're not a freaken' backwater you know.
I think we know how soap works, and washing, and drying and we still seem to be alive regardless of what you think of our level of intelligence.
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  #14  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:07 PM
Hippy Hollow Hippy Hollow is offline
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I remember seeing this done in (mild green) Fairy Liquid commercials in the UK as a kid. My British great-aunt did this as well. Sometimes you could see flecks of the old food on the plate.

I think the old British washing up liquid was formulated to not taste soapy.
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  #15  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:22 PM
Thylacine Thylacine is offline
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I rinse glasses but I wash them whilst the (single) sink is filling so rinse them under the running tap. Everything else goes straight from sink to drying rack where they take care of themselves before eventually getting put away dry. If you use too much detergent things can taste soapy but you don't need very much at all to get clean dishes.
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  #16  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:37 PM
Waffle Decider Waffle Decider is offline
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Originally Posted by Hippy Hollow View Post
I remember seeing this done in (mild green) Fairy Liquid commercials in the UK as a kid. My British great-aunt did this as well. Sometimes you could see flecks of the old food on the plate.

I think the old British washing up liquid was formulated to not taste soapy.
I'm guessing part of the reason might be that some older British households do not have mixer faucet, which makes it more inconvenient to rinse off the dishes. Is this the case in Australia as well?
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:41 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Slight hijack: what's best to put vegemite on?
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:48 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bengangmo View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Trying to confirm/refute something told to me:



2. If true, do Australians know that you have to wash off the suds?
Or what, the suds police are going to come and arrest you for incorrect drying?

The aliens from Omega 5 will blast you with their zappers until you comply?

Or you will be nagged until you turn into a germophobic american?
Or else you will be dangled off the bottom of the earth, attached only by your feet.
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  #19  
Old 10-03-2010, 09:51 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Originally Posted by Noel Prosequi View Post
Wha...?

In times gone by, building standards did not make it mandatory to have two sinks in the kitchen, so there was typically only one, which meant that dishes were washed in hot water and suds, then air-dried on a rack or towel-dried and put away. I grew up with this arrangement, and it didn't kill me.

Now, I imagine dishwashers are pretty much the rule, but in any event, nowadays kitchens are built with two sinks anyway (which I imagine is a result of building standards changes). I guess this has been the norm in kitchens built since about the 70s. While I don't check out everyone's practices at dishwashing by hand, I guess most people do what the technology allows them now to do, which is rinse after washing.

In older urban houses or out bush (where there tend to be lots of older houses) I imagine that there are still quite a few one-sink kitchens where people don't bother to rinse. Ain't gonna kill them any more than it killed me. I've never noticed any particularly adverse taste effects from residue on plates or cutlery.
It's really not hard to rinse dishes in a one-sink setup.
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  #20  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:14 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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When I lived in New Zealand in the early 1980s, I was surprised to find that this was the norm, at least among my circle of friends. The dishes were washed in soapy water, then immediately dried with a dish towel, rather than being rinsed in clean water and then air dried.

I also found this odd at the time, but I never noticed a problem with a soap residue on the dishes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal
1. If true, is it some sort of water-saving procedure?
I never heard this as a rationale.

Quote:
2. If true, do Australians know that you have to wash off the suds?
You don't really have to if you dry them off with a dish towel. The soap is in the water, so if you get rid of the water you get rid of the soap.
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  #21  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:17 PM
NetTrekker NetTrekker is offline
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Related issue: With a double sink, my mom would use one side for washing in soapy water and the other filled with just water for rinsing. But once you start rinsing, you leave some soap in the rinse water which defeats the purpose, right? I imagined everything being put away with a thin soap film on it and some soap being ingested with the next usage. Eventually I decided it's better to leave the rinsing side empty and just lay the soapy dishes in there after washing, then rinse them under running tap water when finished washing. Maybe a little more water usage but no soap on my dishes.

Last edited by NetTrekker; 10-03-2010 at 10:18 PM..
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  #22  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:21 PM
cuberdon cuberdon is offline
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Slight hijack: what's best to put vegemite on?
Toasted white bread with lots of butter. And then use only a very thin smear of vegemite.

I thought it was pretty tasty though one of the waiters confessed to loathing the stuff.
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  #23  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:23 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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People don't rinse dishes because it isn't necessary. It's possible that if you use a heavy concentration of detergent and have very sensitive taste you can taste soap off unrinsed dishes, but for most people this isn't really a problem. It's also possible that if you share what appears to be a common American belief about this you will think you can taste soap if you know or believe that the dishes have not been rinsed. But, beyond that, this belief is on a par with the belief that you mustn't swim for an hour after eating, or two hours after a full meal, in case you get stomach cramps and drown; it was an article of faith when I was a child, and my mother still insists on it, but there is no foundation for it.
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  #24  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:27 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
You don't really have to if you dry them off with a dish towel. The soap is in the water, so if you get rid of the water you get rid of the soap.
Sure you do. Bubbles lift dirt, that's how soap works. So, bubbles become dirty. If you wipe off the bubbles, the dirt stays in the towel and/or gets rubbed into whatever you're trying to wash. Soap is not a disinfectant. So, if you rubbed liquid soap into an open wound, it's still dirty until you rinse the soap out. Soap that doesn't bubble doesn't clean.

Last edited by Superhal; 10-03-2010 at 10:29 PM..
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  #25  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:33 PM
J.D.G J.D.G is offline
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My two AUD cents

Superhal! As an Australian I feel I have some valid opinions to make to this most important of philosophical debates.

First; Noel Prosequi is right. Most Australian houses don’t have two sinks fitted as standard. In my experience if you have two steel sinks then you generally also have a large plasma TV, 2-3 kids, a Labrador, and live in a large, new “Mc-Mansion” in our new middle to outer suburbs with an equally large Mc-Mortgage. I have never lived in any of these types of houses and hence have always used a one-sink-with-suds-and-drained-on-a-rack method for washing the dishes. I have never ever been able to tell the difference between dishes that were air dried or towel dried with or without rinsing the suds off before hand. And I usually get a wee bit ticked off with anybody who throws a tantrum with me for not washing the suds off claiming that I will spoil their food. As one of our wonderful comedians who makes a living out of impersonating Mark “Chopper” Reid would say; Harden the f*** up Australia

(apologies for the French)

Second; the best way to have vegemite is to spread it onto a slice of bread, place vertical strips of cheese on it and then cook it under a grill for about 2-3 minutes. Mmmm, yummy. Mother always called it “Tiger Toast” but I have heard it called “Little Soldiers”. Quite good. Enjoy
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  #26  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:40 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
Sure you do. Bubbles lift dirt, that's how soap works. So, bubbles become dirty. If you wipe off the bubbles, the dirt stays in the towel and/or gets rubbed into whatever you're trying to wash.
Nope. If you are actually getting the dishes dry with the dishtowel, you are removing the water and the soap from the surface of the dish. So if the dishes are dry, they have neither water, nor soap, nor dirt on them. But in any case, the small amount of residue remaining is usually negligible.
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  #27  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:42 PM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Originally Posted by J.D.G View Post
Most Australian houses don’t have two sinks fitted as standard.
Neither do most American houses. I have never in my life seen a kitchen with two sinks. Seriously, why do you think there needs to be two sinks in order to rinse off soapy dishes?
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  #28  
Old 10-03-2010, 10:49 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.D.G View Post
Most Australian houses don’t have two sinks fitted as standard.
Neither do most American houses. I have never in my life seen a kitchen with two sinks. Seriously, why do you think there needs to be two sinks in order to rinse off soapy dishes?
It's pretty common in the US to have a double sink. Not universal, but common.

Having said that, I have a single sink, put in on purpose, and it's not big deal to rinse the dishes. I never fill up the sink in the first place-- I either use the biggest pot or bowl as the main washing pot or I just put a little dish washing liquid directly on each dish.
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  #29  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:04 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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I have a single sink. I wash them with a pad, then rinse them under the faucet.

The dipping method should only be used for double sinks.

Last edited by Superhal; 10-03-2010 at 11:05 PM..
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  #30  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:11 PM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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My wife had a question: after you soap up in the shower, do you immediately towel off and dry?
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  #31  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:21 PM
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ummm dishwasher most of the time, but if it was a very dirty wash I would rinse them after suds but normally don't.
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  #32  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:27 PM
Renee Renee is offline
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Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.D.G View Post
Most Australian houses don’t have two sinks fitted as standard.
Neither do most American houses. I have never in my life seen a kitchen with two sinks. Seriously, why do you think there needs to be two sinks in order to rinse off soapy dishes?
I think he's talking about a double-bowl sink, which is pretty standard in the US, although I don't think that has anything to do with building codes. Two separate sinks are also becoming more common, but the wouldn't be used together in a dishwashing situation, because one would be a prep sink or bar sink and wouldn't likely be near the clean-up sink.


We have a single-bowl sink in our US house, but the only time I ever wash anything by hand is when I have a pot too big to fit in the dishwasher. In that case, I squirt a bit of soap in it and scrub, then rinse before drying.
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  #33  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:37 PM
Thylacine Thylacine is offline
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I have come across soapy tasting glasses at work but figured that was someone who had grown up with a dishwasher and didn't realise how concentrated most dishwashing liquids are these days. If my dishes tasted soapy or of last night's curry I would rinse them, they don't. I do not understand why you care if some of us do stuff differently. If it didn't work for us we wouldn't do it.

Certainly I am unlikely to do anything under a running tap without a plug in the sink and a use for the water. We are now encouraged to keep our household water usage under 155 litres per person per day. We are usually well under that target despite a garden to water. However, this was how I learned to wash dishes when those in metropolitan areas didn't really need to think about water usage.
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  #34  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:51 PM
Grateful-UnDead Grateful-UnDead is offline
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No! No! No! You have it all wrong!

Australians are very practical and economical people; the whole dish washing thing is just one manifestation of this.

They don't rinse their dishes because they like to keep a soap residue on their plates. This is an effective and economical way to have it absorbed into their food and ingested with their meal.

When the soap passes through, it cleans everything out, and their insides are squeaky, lemon fresh clean. None of that colonic irrigation stuff in Australia!

Remember they also have a unique and very creative way of getting rid of toxic waste: they smear it on toast and feed it to their kids. (See above!!!!)
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  #35  
Old 10-03-2010, 11:56 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
My wife had a question: after you soap up in the shower, do you immediately towel off and dry?

I have a question for your wife. If she has a bath does she then have a shower to rinse off?
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  #36  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:03 AM
Superhal Superhal is offline
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
My wife had a question: after you soap up in the shower, do you immediately towel off and dry?

I have a question for your wife. If she has a bath does she then have a shower to rinse off?
In my wife's culture, she washes before entering the bathtub. The tub is only for soaking, not washing.

Does this mean Aussies don't rinse off lather?

Last edited by Superhal; 10-04-2010 at 12:04 AM..
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  #37  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:07 AM
penultima thule penultima thule is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superhal View Post
My wife had a question: after you soap up in the shower, do you immediately towel off and dry?
No. I've found that towelling works best after you get out of the shower.

Following don't ask's lead I licked my towel and it doesn't taste of soap
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  #38  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:17 AM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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No wonder Australians have a reputation for bad-tasting food. Yes, you really can taste the soap when dishes aren't rinsed off, and I know this from experience. Maybe all you folks who grew up in non-rinsing households just got so used to a little soap flavor that you don't even notice any more, but to those of us who grew up with rinsed dishes, it tastes terrible.
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  #39  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:27 AM
penultima thule penultima thule is offline
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Fom the land that brought us spray-on cheese!

Maybe we use a lot less detergent.
Maybe the plates have less deep fried foods on them
Maybe we use a lot hotter water.
Maybe the detergent has a quite a nice lemon flavour
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  #40  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:41 AM
Eliahna Eliahna is online now
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No, we don't rinse them after we wash them, and I don't imagine we'll take up rinsing dishes in this water-saving age.

Quote:
My wife had a question: after you soap up in the shower, do you immediately towel off and dry?
What a moronic question. If I apply dish-washing liquid directly to the dish then I rinse it off before drying it, in the same way that I rinse soap off after directly applying it to my body. As don't ask points out, we don't shower after bathing to wash off soap residue that was in the water.

Quote:
My British great-aunt did this as well. Sometimes you could see flecks of the old food on the plate.
Not washing the plates properly has nothing to do with not rinsing the plates. If the water is too dirty, you change it. Your great-aunt's lax dish-washing skills are unrelated to whether or not she rinsed.

Americans who believe that unrinsed dishes cause diarrhea, a note for you: Don't ever laugh at South Koreans and their fear of fan death.
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  #41  
Old 10-04-2010, 12:55 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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No wonder Australians have a reputation for bad-tasting food.
We do? Since when? I'm not the nationalistic sort that thinks the sun shines out of our collective arse and I can think of things for which, rightly or wrongly, we have a poor reputation. However, I have just never heard this particular complaint.

Last edited by Princhester; 10-04-2010 at 12:56 AM..
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  #42  
Old 10-04-2010, 01:11 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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I just assumed it involved something venomous.
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  #43  
Old 10-04-2010, 01:13 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
It's not just Australians it's most non Americans. But they don't get immediately dried with a towel they are put in a rack and drained.
It's certainly not the way it's done in Spain, Costa Rica, France or Italy - or at least, by the Spaniards, Ticos, Frenchpeople and Italians I've seen wash dishes by hand.

The only person I've known to do that was British.

Last edited by Nava; 10-04-2010 at 01:17 AM..
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  #44  
Old 10-04-2010, 01:24 AM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Cazzle View Post
points out, we don't shower after bathing to wash off soap residue that was in the water.
In the rare instance that I draw a bath, I rinse off with a shower.

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Originally Posted by Cazzle View Post
If the water is too dirty, you change it.
It's dirty the second you stick a dish in it. rinsing involves holding it under running water, preferably, scolding hot.

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Originally Posted by Cazzle View Post
Americans who believe that unrinsed dishes cause diarrhea, a note for you: Don't ever laugh at South Koreans and their fear of fan death.
Noted, not sure what it means, but noted. If our cousins down under do not succumb to the ravages of a few soap molecules then maybe they're drinking enough Foster's to dilute the little buggers. Sounds like a plan anyway.

Last edited by Magiver; 10-04-2010 at 01:24 AM..
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  #45  
Old 10-04-2010, 01:26 AM
bardos bardos is offline
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I found the same in at least one household I stayed in the Netherlands, just placing the soapy dishes in a rack to drip dry.

If you leave dishes in this manner, no one can convince me that you are not ingesting soap suds at some later date.

BTW, so what are the contents of dishwashing soap/washing up liquid?

Last edited by bardos; 10-04-2010 at 01:27 AM..
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  #46  
Old 10-04-2010, 02:09 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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The business end of washing-up liquid is one or more surfactants – compounds which lower the surface tension of the water, enabling it to mix more easily with the grease, etc, on your crockery and cutlery, so making it easier to lift the grease from the surface to which it would otherwise cling. Surfactants also enable the water to mix more readily with the air; hence the foam.

Surfactants are also found in shampoos, toothpaste, laxatives, spermicide and many other household preparations, some intended for internal use. There is nothing inherently dangerous in ingesting surfactants as such. Admittedly you get them in heavier concentrations in washing up-liquid than in preparations intended for internal use; on the other hand, the washing-up liquid is heavily diluted in the washing-up water. In so far as unrinsed plates dry by draining or by absorption (i.e. towelling) rather than by evaporation, the surfactant – which of course is well-mixed with the water – drains or is absorbed too.

I struggle to imagine that the quantities of surfactant that you would ingest by not rinsing your washed plates in fresh water and leaving them to dry by evaporation could possibly threaten you any harm; you will taste the stuff in much lower quantities than would harm you. If you can’t taste the stuff then, barring a rare allergy or something of the kind, you don’t have a problem.

If you can taste soapiness on food eaten from your dried but unrinsed crockery, you can either start rinsing, or start reducing the concentration of washing-up liquid you are using. If your dried-by-evaporation but unrinsed crockery looks “streaky”, and this bothers you, you have the same two options. Considerations of time, convenience, economy and care for the environment suggest that you should try using less washing-up liquid first.
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  #47  
Old 10-04-2010, 03:16 AM
J.D.G J.D.G is offline
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Originally Posted by Princhester View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
No wonder Australians have a reputation for bad-tasting food.
We do? Since when? I'm not the nationalistic sort that thinks the sun shines out of our collective arse and I can think of things for which, rightly or wrongly, we have a poor reputation. However, I have just never heard this particular complaint.
To Right! There’s plenty I can feel ashamed about or know that we, as Australians, are infamous for. But our cooking and culinary skills are not one of them.

We need to get together for a “snag” my friend.
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  #48  
Old 10-04-2010, 03:19 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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I'm just surprised that filling the entire sink with water seems to be the default dishwashing method everywhere in the world (except here).
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  #49  
Old 10-04-2010, 03:24 AM
J.D.G J.D.G is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
On the shower and bath front I’m appalled at the notion of showering AND bathing (or vice versa). We have very fragile water supplies at best here and in Melbourne residents are encouraged to have 3 MINUTE showers. Something which every Melbournian hates and every foreigner just gives a quizzical, jaw-dropped look to when told that that is the rule. I once had a friend who said that she took a shower, bath, then shower every timed she cleaned herself. Her logic was you needed to get most of the dirt off in the shower, have the bath to deep clean and then have the final shower to get the last of it and the soap off. Needless to say when she said this in a region where the reserves were at 8%, she was publicly lynched soon after.

There’s just not a lot of water to go around here (certainly in the south). So you need to utilise as little as possible for the greater good. So that means not rinsing your dishes. Taking only a bath or a shower and making sure the latter is quick. Oh, and always using “half-flush” whenever possible. If you can taste the soap after draining or towelling, you must be using too much.

Learn from us for water will become even more scarce in the future for everyone.
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Old 10-04-2010, 03:25 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Actually, I suspect that in both Australia and the US (and many other places) the default method is placing the dishes in a dishwasher and turning it on. I think the discussion is really about how Australians and other wash dishes when they wash them by hand.
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