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Stop Everything. Some People Don’t Rinse the Soap Off Their Dishes!?

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For years I ignored it. It just couldn’t be. In the staff room, after lunch, those soapy dishes left in the drying rack… I mean, surely, someone was going to come along and rinse them, right? The soapy residue taste when I ate a friend’s house… well, I must have been imagining it.

When I moved to Australia seven years ago, everything was new anyways, so what was a little soap on the dishes?

When you witness something that’s borderline sketchy…. what do you do?

I dared not speak up.

What if I offended? What if I looked stupid? What if I wrongly accused people of not washing soap of the dishes, when in fact they were?!

I kept my mouth shut for years.

I had good faith that those soapy dishes, left dripping in the dish rack, were secretely rinsing themselves.

Until… one day, amongst a group of good friends, I finally built up the nerve to ask.

Nell…” I said.

Yes…” She replied.

Do you… Do you not rinse the soap off your dishes?” I asked

Nooowrrr…” (That’s “No” in Australian) She answered.

I put my hands to my temples and furrowed my brows.

Are you serious!?” I blurted out!

Well… Are you suppoooosed to rinse them?” She said.

We took a poll. Almost everyone in the room did NOT rinse the soap off their dishes when hand washing. If they did, it was selected rinsing. They might rinse a mug, but not their pots. They might dump a jug of fresh water over all the soapy dishes in the dish rack, *if* they felt like it, to get the extra soap off.

It was a riot. We were cracking up. They couldn’t believe I wasted the time and energy to rinse. I couldn’t believe they left soap on their dishes.

So, what happens to the soap?” I asked.

It just evaporates. You can’t taste it.” They all said.

Yeah right.

I taste it.

But, at least now, I accept it… it’s sort of like going over to my Jewish grandmother’s house and knowing that there won’t be any salt in the food.

A few soapy bubbles in my cuppa? No problemo.

Soapy taste in the chopped fruit bowl at playgroup? Well, honey, that’s just the way it is.

Sometimes my friends know I’m coming over and they rinse for me! It’s very considerate of them… although I can’t help but feel sorry that when I’m not there, they’re eating soapy residue.

I took a poll on my Facebook page, with ‘likers‘ from all over the world, and I had, by far, the most comments on any post I’ve made in YEARS! Some people, on either side of the argument, seemed outright offended!

Disgusting! Outrageous! Whaddyamean ya don’t wash the soap off!

Waste of time! Waste of water!


It seemed that mostly the North Americans were the ones rinsing their dishes. Many Australians and Europeans (not all) don’t rinse the soap and saw rinsing as, not only as a waste of time, but as a waste of water as well.

I understand. I really do. Running water and water abundance is not something that everyone in the world gets to enjoy. In the desert, water is so scarce that they clean their dishes with sand. It just so happens, that growing up on the east coast of America, no one ever seemed to be concerned with water conservation, we had plenty of it (or so I was raised to believe to way).

I know it’s not the most important topic in the world… but we’ve all had to wash dishes at some point in our life, how funny that there’s no one way to do it. And, I do understand that the people reading this post who own dishwashers, are thinking that hand washing dishes, in the first place, is the most ridiculous thing of all.




10 Responses »

  1. Maybe they think it’s penance for swearing? Yuck my mom always used way too much soap and my waterbottle always tasted I use fresh lemon rindes to wipe dishes whenever possible and I’ve really reduced the amount of soap I use..a little dab will do ya!

  2. I’m Aussie and have always grown up with washing the soap off…because yuk why would you want to leave soap on your dishes. Have found so many people who don’t rinse the dishes and think you are strange for doing so. I’ve never gotten that as REALLY its like washing your hair and then not rinsing. Its only half clean.

  3. I always rinse the soap of the dishes

  4. As the job of soap is to attract both water and grease, if you don’t wash off the soap then you are leaving the grease on the dishes.

  5. Well, a dishwasher has a rinse cycle………so I’d say that’s evidence that your supposes to rinse your dishes. I wonder of they dont rinse off after a shower? :0

  6. Found your post after having a little argue about this with my friends. I moved to NZ a year ago and it’s crazy…. To me it looks lazy and just yuck. Imagine seeing that at a restaurant. Soap does NOT evaporate. Water does, so the bubbles go away but the soap remains. Everyone disagreed and was certain that the soap would drip or evaporate off then you’re left with a squeaky clean dish.

    It does taste like soap. I think people are just used to it. I hope I never am.


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