Confession time: I never really did a lot of housework. I did not have chores when I was a kid. I think my parents were so charmed that I had my nose buried in books most of the time (I read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina when I was 12. I did not understand it.), that they did not want to distract me. Or maybe it was the fact that I was an only child. Whatever the reason, I never really had to help out around the house unless I wanted to.

Now that I’m out of the house and away from our helpers, I’ve been trying to get the hang of things, chores-related. Surprisingly, I genuinely enjoy it. It is amazingly tiring though. The things that need to be done never seem to end. For example, the minute the mountain of laundry disappears in hypnotic whirl of the machine, another one needs to be tackled. Unless you’re planning on laundering naked, the washing cycle never ends.

Among all the chores, my favorite is washing the dishes for some reason. I live in a country where dishwashers are for the obscenely rich. I don’t even know anyone who owns one around here. We do things here de kamay (by hand). Some tricks for washing the dishes, by the uninitiated.

1. Take the time to scrape away the bits of food left behind on the plates and utensils. It’s really gross to have to pick up the soggy, soapy food remnants that gather on the sink.

2. Rinse everything before soaping up. This enables you to use less soap and makes cleaning faster. Also, there is less grease to deal with. I find that sometimes, the grease can overwhelm the sponge and the grease just ends up just being spread around the plates. The sponge gets mucky and you have to take the time to wash it before using it to clean the dishes.

3. There is a sequence to dishwashing, I think. What I do is that I soap up in the order of least dirty (drinking glasses) to dirtiest (pots and pans). That way, the dirt does not get spread around. After I soap everything up, I rinse and I rinse from biggest items to smallest. The reason for this is that I can stack the dishes properly as I finish.

Borrowed tip:

My mom adds a little bit of fresh calamansi to the the dishwashing soap. It helps get out the oily or fishy smell that can sometimes stick to the dishes even after washing.