After reading: Do the dishes: Why you should keep up with the washing up - ABC News

And especially:

"You will end up with a lovely bacteria soup, then you will stick your hand in the sink to pull the plug out and do the dishes, and if you don't wash your hands properly you are going to cross-contaminate the kitchen."

I started wondering if it's okay if I leave a plate unwashed in the sink (the sink itself, not filled with water or anything like that, as described/hinted at in the quote), before leaving/rushing for work; in order to save time and wash it later with some next plate, when I return back from work (can be a bit late sometimes).

I usually always clean/wash things that have stains right away, but I only eat oats and milk for breakfast, which perhaps might make this seem like a non-issue; though I've honestly had this on my mind, for way too long at this point. Hopefully it is indeed a non-issue, but I'd love to hear what people think...

EDIT: Basically my primary concern is the bacteria spread on the plate/invisible bacteria becoming harder to wash off, in regards to my prior use case...

  • "my primary concern is the bacteria spread on the plate/invisible bacteria becoming harder to wash off". Soap, hot water and a scrub brush are quite effective.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 2:34

1 Answer 1


That quote sounds like they're assuming you fill the sink with water and leave dirty dishes sitting in the water. That seems gross. And of course you should wash your hands after doing the dishes, regardless of whether you washed your dishes immediately or let them soak first.

I frequently leave dishes to soak and wash them later, but I don't fill the sink. Just fill the dish with water and let it sit in the sink. When you come back to wash it, dump out the soaking water, and wash as normal with soap and hot water.

Some dishes work best if you rinse them right away, then let them soak after rinsing. Oats tend to dry on rock-hard, so be sure to wipe off any smears that are above the water level before leaving it to soak.

  • Thank you for your reply! Should've definitely among other things, made the fact that I always leave the plate in an empty sink, before getting to washing it later... Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 19:05
  • 2
    @ValeriLagunov Honestly, I think the author is being snobbish and judgmental about people who don't wash their dishes immediately, without really having much factual basis. They make a few reasonable points, like that you should be sure to avoid splashing the dish-soaking water all over your kitchen. But if you wash your dishes in soap and hot water after soaking them, they should be fine.
    – csk
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 17:20
  • @csk : they might also assume that people are like some of my past roommates -- leave stuff in the sink until I finally got around to doing the washing up on Saturday. Luckily, they didn't tend to leave it in water, as yes, after 3 or 4 days, you get this interesting layer of slime (biofilm) on things.
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 17:57

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