How To Wash The Dishes With Baby

Once you become a parent and have a baby to care for, entertain, and keep out of trouble it can be quite an adventure to do housework like washing dishes or cleaning the bathroom. Some things can be done while baby is sleeping, or when someone else is around to help watch them, but other times you just have to do some things with baby literally underfoot. This is a step-by-step guide to the process of washing dishes with a baby.

Step 1: Notice that there are dirty dishes piled up from 1 or 2 meals and decide that you really need to wash them before more dishes are made dirty.

Step 2: Empty out the dish drainer. Half way through baby will probably come crawling around your feet begging to be held, so carry him around while you do the second half.

Step 3: Get busy with baby. Play, change diapers, have a meal together, etc. Oops! That meal made more dirty dishes. Now you really need to wash them.

Step 4: Finally, baby seems very busy and engaged with something. Go into the kitchen, empty out the sink, and fill it with warm soapy water. Get a clean dishcloth ready.

Step 5: Uh-oh! Here comes baby crying and tugging on your legs. He wants to be held/played with but you already filled up the sink! Time to get out something new/unusual for him to play with to keep him busy so you can at least wash a few things. You’ll have to get creative since once he’s played with something 2-5 times it is no longer interesting. Some ideas: Random objects from the recycling (no tin cans please). Vacuum cleaner attachments. Clean pots and pans.

Lewis is really interested in the broom. Maybe this will keep him busy.

Lewis is really interested in the broom. Maybe this will keep him busy.

Step 6: Finally get down to business. Wash 5-10 small items, or 3-5 larger items.

Step 7: Hear that familiar whiny baby cry and feel that tug on your pants. Darn, that didn’t last long. Dry your hands off and quickly try to find something else for baby to keep busy with. The dish water isn’t that dirty yet – maybe you can scoop out some bubbles into a bowl and let him play with that.

Step 8: Ok, baby seems busy again. Quick, lets see how many more things we can wash now.

Step 9: You manage to wash 3 more things but here’s baby again and this time he doesn’t seem like he’s willing to be distracted. Wash one more thing while he cries and pulls on your legs. Pick him up and admit that you won’t get to wash anything else right now. At least we made it through a few things!

It's not the full dish strainer you had imagined, but at least it is progress, right?

It’s not the full dish strainer you had imagined, but at least it is progress, right?

Step 10: This dish water is still so clean and bubbly looking. Maybe if we leave it in the sink we’ll make it back over here to finish the job.

Step 11: Get busy taking care of baby again. Play, read some books, crawl under the table, have some milk or a snack, diaper change, etc. etc.

Step 12: Get thirsty from all that playing and go into the kitchen to get some water. Realize that you can’t get any water because the sink is full of now-cold dishwater. Admit defeat and drain the sink. Allow that half-full dish strainer to taunt you for the rest of the day.


…. I wonder why we never seem to catch up with the dirty dishes around here?

6 thoughts on “How To Wash The Dishes With Baby

  1. Clearly you should just wash baby and dishes at the same time. Put baby and dishes into bath tub/sink. Baby shampoo and dish soap are basically the same thing, right?

    • We did before too, but now there are even more dishes and it seems more important to keep up with them since Lewis wants to get into anything that is out in the open. He sees all those interesting objects on the counters and gets mad when I say he can’t play with them because they are dirty. There are also so many toys taking over the rest of the apartment, it would be nice to be able to control the chaos in at least one area!

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