Dear Home Ec 101,
Hi. I have a dilemma with my dishes. Whenever I cook or use a strong smelling condiment, my dishes always pick up the smell I can never get the odor out. A small dab of bleach in the water was suggested but after trying this my stepson told me the dishes just smell like bleach plus the food smell. I have heavy duty cleaning gloves so I tried washing in very hot water with soap but that didn’t work at all. I tried baking soda but with no luck. Please help! I am tired of smelling peanut butter, cooking oil, and dinner every time I get a glass of juice or water!
What are they feeding you?
Oh smelly dish, it’s not your fault.
Well, it might actually have been the reader’s fault, but here are a few suggestions she can use to eliminate the odor on her dinnerware. I asked our reader what kind of dishes were causing the problem and called World Kitchen, LLC where I was assisted by the ever lovely Melissa who had several suggestions. Funnily enough they were consistent with Ivy and I’s usual advice for dealing with many household odor problems: vinegar and water or Bar Keepers Friend.
Fill your sink with hot water and vinegar. Next allow your dishes to soak briefly, scrub well, rinse thoroughly, and dry immediately. If the food odors remain, try wetting the dishes and briefly scrubbing with Bar Keepers Friend, then rinsing thoroughly.
If you have stoneware, it is important to never allow the dishes to soak for long. There is a porous portion on the bottom of some pieces that can absorb water which may allow bacteria to grow. While this is not our reader’s issue, it is an important one to note. In these cases use a paste of Bar Keeper’s Friend or Zud on the porous ring, scrub, rinse well, and allow the dishes to dry thoroughly.
For those of you whose dishes aren’t stinky, here are a few tips to keep them food odor free. Before hand washing, be sure as much food as possible has been scraped from the dishes. The more food that comes in contact with the dishwater the faster the soap will break down. Without soap, oils that carry odor can cling to the dishware. Wash your dishes in this order: glasses, silverware, dishes, cookware. Experiment with the amount of soap used until you find the amount that is frugal yet effective. Too little soap may cause dishes to need a second wash, eliminating any savings.
Finally, harsh detergents may etch glassware. This can cause tiny scratches that may get filled with mineral deposits. Etching can cause glassware and some dishware to retain an odor. The folks at World Kitchen, LLC advise against using both gel and powder pack formulas.
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