Christmas dinner is the biggest meal of the year, so it stands to reason that it also results in the biggest washing-up job. Get clever with your dishwasher this year to avoid having to scrub and scrape your way through stacks of washing up.
As is often the case, planning is key - the best dishwashing strategy can be summarised in three key steps.
Step one: prepare as much food as you can in advance to reduce the amount of washing up you'll need to do on Christmas Day itself.
Step two: before you sit down to eat your Christmas feast, stick your dirtiest cooking dishes on an intensive wash (as long as they're dishwasher-safe). This should get roasting trays and pans off the to-do list.
Step three: use a delicate wash after dinner to clean your posh dinner plates, cutlery and glassware. Depending on your dishwasher, you may be able to add champagne flutes into this wash, too.
Read on for the most efficient way to stack so that you can squeeze everything in and still get it clean, plus our top Christmas dishwashing tips.
For your first wash we recommend going for an intensive program. This washes at a higher temperature and water pressure, allowing the dishwasher to really clean the grimiest pans and trays, as long as you follow these rules:
If your dishwasher is on the noisy side, and you need to eat in the kitchen while it's going, hopefully all your cracker pulling and Christmas fun will drown out the din of the wash cycle.
If not, it might be time to invest in a quieter dishwasher. We check noise levels for every dishwasher we review.
With Christmas dinner come and gone, you'll have stacks of dinnerware to deal with - from plates and cutlery to gravy jugs and glasses. Many champagne flutes and wine glasses are dishwasher-safe these days, too.
Prepare vegetables on Christmas Eve and parboil the spuds for your roast potatoes. You can even get them crisped up early on Christmas morning, avoiding the need to clean a crusty pan later in the day, if you follow our .
Run your first dishwasher load of the day as soon as you're done with breakfast, so it will be empty of any breakfast plates and ready to take a full load of cooking pans and trays.
If you have a delay timer, set it so your dishwasher finishes your pre-dinner wash just before you plate up. That way your plates will be pristine and hot, straight out of the dishwasher, so your Christmas dinner stays warm for longer.
Wash champagne flutes in the top rack, using a gentle program. You might worry that this will cause them to go cloudy over time, but modern dishwashers and detergents prevent this from happening, even in hard-water areas. Just make sure your salt and rinse aid are topped up beforehand.
As your flutes will come out dry, you won't have to worry about carefully drying them with a tea towel once you've had a few sherries, or leaving them precariously drying on your drainer.
If your dishwasher doesn't have a delicate or glassware program, we'd recommend washing crystal and delicate china by hand.
Most dishwashers now have a quick rinse at the start of each program. This means you often only need to knock off lumps of leftover food before loading. Pre-rinsing could waste water unnecessarily.
The exception to this rule is if you've left your dishes sitting around all day before washing. If so, do give them a rinse before putting them in the dishwasher for the best chance of getting everything clean.