Well-Timed Washing: When is the proper time to clean up after a party?

by EPI Staff on November 9, 2009

Q: At a recent dinner party, the hostess left the room to load the dishwasher while a few of us were finishing up dessert.  It made me feel I should hurry up and go.  Is it ever okay to clean up before dinner guests have left?

A: If someone spills wine or some other mishap occurs, a host may want to tidy up immediately.  Otherwise she should resist all cleanup urges until everyone is finished.  She may then start the dishes if one or more of the following are true:  Guests are close friends or family; it’s super casual; or it’s a weeknight gathering.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jay Remer November 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Of course, starting to wash the dishes prior to the conclusion of the meal is very poor etiquette and shows disrespect to your guests. Wait until they leave or as stated in another answer, if the party is informal and tidying up is fairly quick. One tip for any after dinner clean up: Do It! Always make sure the dishes and glasses, linens and cutlery are all cleaned up before you go to bed. I was always taught never to go to bed until the house looks as though there hadn’t been a party at all.


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