Hand washing doesn’t actually clean dishes without this 30-second step

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Photo: Getty Images/Petar Chernaev

Hand washing your dishes seems simple enough, right? You take your trusty sponge, add some grease-fighting soap, then go to town on all that leftover red-lentil penne that decided to cling on for dear life. Even if all your plates look nice and shiny afterward though, you might not be getting things as clean as you think.

One big germy mistake most people make while doing their dishes is not taking the time to give everything a solid soak. According to Apartment Therapy, the extra step ensures your plates and bowls are properly sanitized and free of foodborne illness-causing bacteria. You can kill those bad guys by submerging your dishes for 30 seconds in scalding-hot water that’s at least 170°F. (Water steams at 212°F, so H2O straight out of the hot tap should do the trick.)

Think of it as giving your dishes a detoxifying bath. You could even add this essential oil blend that gets dirty dishes extra clean and treat them to the closest experience they’ll ever have to being in a dishwasher. Unless that is, you decide to trade in your (soak), wash, rinse, repeat routine for an automatic option instead.

Uh oh: Dishwashing might be messing with your sex life. Don’t worry, though—here are some foreplay tips for a healthier sex life that can balance it all out.

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