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?

They wipe them off counter-clockwise.

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.

Without rinsing 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?

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.

Well, in my experience, it varies. Some Australians wound rinse, some would drain, but most would use a dishwashing machine.

Well, we are germophobes, but doesn’t leaving the suds on run the risk of giving your next meal a soapy taste?


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.

Well I just grabbed a clean cereal bowl and a plate and licked them and couldn’t taste a hint of soap.

Damn, now I’ll have to wash them.

So it’s not a water-saving measure, it’s that they don’t know how soap works?

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.

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. :frowning:

I think the old British washing up liquid was formulated to not taste soapy.

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.

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?

Slight hijack: what’s best to put vegemite on?

Or else you will be dangled off the bottom of the earth, attached only by your feet.

It’s really not hard to rinse dishes in a one-sink setup.

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.

I never heard this as a rationale.

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.