Seven kitchen tools worth using

. . . but only if you wash them up immediately after using.
  1. Microplane grater. I love this for zesting citrus fruit, but it's hand-wash only and dangerously sharp, so if you let the zest dry on, you've got one scary clean-up job. I rinse it thoroughly after use and dry carefully with a towel going the opposite direction that I would use when grating.
  2. Garlic press. It makes quick work of garlic (especially the one I linked to, Zyliss—you don't have to peel the garlic first), but it's awfully hard to clean unless you do it right away. I keep a toothbrush by the kitchen sink for clean-up jobs like this, because otherwise I can never seem to get all the garlic out of the holes.
  3. Knives. I love my knives, especially my huge, sharp chef's knife. The dishwasher dulls the blade, so I wash it by hand. If I let it sit after using instead of washing it up and putting it away immediately, not only is the big, sharp thing scarier to wash, but it's also sitting out where my kids might be able to get it.
  4. Salad spinner. Dried-on lettuce is surprisingly hard to get off! Plus between the bowl and the basket, it takes up a good quarter of the dishwasher. I rinse it out with a little soap after I use it and let it air dry on a towel.
  5. Large mixing bowls. They take up too much dishwasher space—washing them right after use is the best way to go, I think.
  6. Anything made of wood. Wood doesn't go in the dishwasher, and soaking isn't good for it. I have a wood citrus reamer, and I've found it's just not worth my time to use unless I wash it up right away after I use it.
  7. Cast iron. You could let it sit dirty on the stove for two days after using it (ahem, not that I would ever do that . . .), or you could clean it up right away and put it back on the still-hot burner to dry. My cast iron stays in much better shape when I clean it up right away—it doesn't like to sit in a wet sink or be soaked. It is usually much easier to wash when it's still warm.
What would you add to the list?


    1. Colanders! If I strain pasta or rice and let the empty colander sit, I find I can never get the starch off of it properly.

      I use a zester for zesting citrus and I love it. I wouldn't go back to using a microplaner unless I absolutely had to. Plus, it's much easier to clean.

    2. I second the colander, and add the good old box cheese grater to the list.