General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Is it really necessary to wash dishes in hot water, or will cold water get them just as clean?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (25804 points ) February 3rd, 2012

I don’t have a dishwasher. I get to hand wash all my dishes. Does water temperature really matter?

I can’t possibly get the water hot enough to actually kill any little nasty things that might be on the dishes. Isn’t the soap supposed to take care of that?

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18 Answers

auhsojsa's avatar

Cold water is fine as long as their is a bleaching agent in your soap. But I’m fine with using Dawn just cause it’s soluble. The trouble is, it’s hard to get the grease off, so a lot of scrubbing must be done. Any soap will wash the bacteria away.

Smashley's avatar

Your not disinfecting with soap, you’re just cleaning off food matter with the soap aiding the process by cutting the oils. The hotter the water, the better the soap performs and the more oil and food you will take off.

Coloma's avatar

Yes. Hot water and soap are what kill germs and bacteria. Also, cold water will not effectively clean greasy dishes or pots and pans. You can soak the dishes in hot soapy water first if you are not up to tackling the job in the moment, but, very warm/hot water is vital to proper cleansing.

SpatzieLover's avatar

We use super hot water to sanitize our dishes.

If your water heater doesn’t get the water hot enough, put a kettle on and add the hot water to your dish pan.

jerv's avatar

Hot water not only kills germs, but also melts grease. As someone who has had to wash many a piece of cookware covered in bacon grease, hot water is the only way to go. And for bacon grease, the hotter the better.

Coloma's avatar

@SpatzieLover Haha..I ALMOST suggested the tea kettle boiling water myslef..I shoulda known you’d be thinking the same thoghts. ;-)

marinelife's avatar

Cold water will not remove grease.

Coloma's avatar

This is one of the reasons I have always hated cooking while camping. I can live on fruit and cheese and pop tarts for a few days. No disgusting egg pans being washed in a bucket. lol

SpatzieLover's avatar

@jerv‘s example reminds me of another thing we’ve always done:

Add soap & water to the pan or baking dish that is greasy or has baked on grime, set it on the stove top on low heat while washing/cleaning something else, to allow the soap and heat to do the hard work for me prior to scrubbing.

john65pennington's avatar

Warm water, wear gloves, use a detergent that contains bleach and rinse in cold water.

Bacteria is abundant in dirty dishes and I would take no chances in acquiring them.

Nullo's avatar

If you’re feeling an exotic DIY mood coming on, you could build an ultraviolet sanitizer. Won’t help the grease problem any, but ought to do a number on the micro-denizens on the plates.

jerv's avatar

@SpatzieLover Try washing a shitload of full-sheet pans covered in bacon grease and you find quicker ways. I forget how many are needed to cook enough bacon to feed the entire crew of an aircraft carrier, but it’s enough. However, with that sprayer turned up to near-boiling, you can clean a sheet in under thirty seconds. Handy when you have a few tall stacks and no stove you can use.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I’ll bet that ships’ boilers make the best hot water tanks.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

If your food has any fat or oil, you need some heat to melt it. The heat of the water isn’t meant to kill germs, only to melt butter and beef fat and be a comfortable temperature for your hands. If you cook fat free (for instance boiled spinach with just lemon juice on it), you can safely wash your dishes and utensils with cold water and dish detergent, but I sure don’t like to in the winter, my hands get stiff.

jrpowell's avatar

A few germs aren’t going to kill you. As long as you aren’t eating crusty week old food I wouldn’t worry.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, it does matter.

sydsydrox's avatar

I use warm-hot water because it gets all of the little chunks off :) but cold water works just the same.

Aster's avatar

The thought of washing dishes in cold water makes me squirm. Run hot water over a plate and watch food flow right off. Now do the same with cold water. You can rub off all the remaining food on the plate but it will never have that squeaky clean, shiny look. So something is remaining on those plates.

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