Foam does not clean, soap does

My dad used to say that hardworking people leave the dishes for later. “We lazy ones,” he would say to us four siblings every Sunday, “do them straight away because then it is still easy. You do not need to scrub that much.” With vigour all of us would then roll up our sleeves and get stuck into the pile, while Mom would read a book… for a change. It was a clever bit of child psychology. And it worked. Amused by our own laziness we gleefully washed, rinsed and dried everything up to the last fork.

Dishwashing is a part of every home and it has taught me valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: When something looks like a mountain, start climbing

It has taught me that when something looks like a mountain, the best thing to do is to start climbing. Where do you start climbing? At the bottom. You take that first step and you don’t stop till you are at the top! Well, with dishes of course it goes the other way around: you take the item at the top of the pile and don’t stop till you’re at the bottom. But it is the same principle. Don’t involve your mind too much. Just force your hands to get going.

View from the top of the mountain

Lesson 2: Your sister washes dishes differently – and that’s fine

Forward twenty years and my sister and I find ourselves together in a kitchen, washing dishes again. While we are chatting I see, from the corner of my eye, my sister taking a plate instead of a glass. I am about to open my older-sister mouth to say, “You can’t wash plates before glasses! Pull yourself together!” when it hits me: different people do things differently and in most spheres, it really does not matter. Let another girl wash dishes in another way if she wants to! It really is of no consequence. To be clear: I do NOT believe that everything is relative. I DO believe there are issues in life you need to get right. But dishwashing is certainly, certainly not one of them! So I bit my tongue, carried on chatting and went away feeling like my eyes had been opened.

Scourer? Sponge? Cloth? Each one washes dishes differently.

Lesson 3: Foam is not important for cleaning

I also learned that hot water is more important than foam when cleaning things. Our DISH is low foam because we do not add phosphates or ammonia. These chemicals are added to some soaps to make more suds, because consumers want foam. But they have no other function. And these chemicals cause eutrophication of rivers and lakes and that is bad, so we choose to leave it out.

If you find it hard to believe that foam has nothing to do with how well soap cleans, think about your dishwasher tablets.  Ever thought why you cannot use regular dishwashing soap in your dishwasher? It foams too much. You have to buy special tablets that do not foam, for the dishwasher. And yet the dishes come out clean!

Our DISH does foam. Just not as much as you might be used to. But I am very confident is cleans perfectly well, for two reasons: I have been using it for over a year myself, and we have lab test results saying so. If you crave a lather, feel free to use more soap. But it is not necessary.

Have a lovely Worker’s Day!

(P.S. because our DISH is low foam you can try it in your dishwasher. I find it is not harsh enough to get hard food off dishes every time, but in an emergency it certainly works!)