I have two words for you: cold water.
I’m serious. The sooner you get stuff into cold water, the better. The cold water turns that floury sticky gluey crusty stuff into something watery and easy to clean off in no time. Of course, try to get as much stuff into the compost bin as possible. You don’t really want a lot of that stuff going down your drain.
I usually keep a bowl or glass filled with cold water in the sink, so I can toss stuff in there as I go. Then clean up is a breeze.
But now let’s talk about the proofing towel.
This is a moderate mess. After I am done proofing my dough, often the towel I use is coated with floury crust. I take it outside and shake out all the loose flour into the compost bin, and I shake it like a maniac (no, I don’t have a picture of that). But I am still left with crusty stuff. What I have been doing is letting it dry really well, then scraping off the crust by hand. Tedious at best. So I talked to my friend Sarah, you know, my Buy Nothing friend that got this whole thing started, and she says she has three towels that she uses on a rotation, and that she just puts them in the wash! Well, I had a bad experience one time doing that. So now here is what works for me.
After shaking the towel out, I just put it in a bowl of cold water, crusty stuff and all… the bowl I use to make the bread in the first place. It’s in there anyway. And just rinse a couple of times with cold water, rubbing the fabric together if necessary. All the stuff comes right off. If you think I am silly for telling you this, and of course everyone already knows this, then well, you are one step ahead of me. Or maybe two. I just didn’t know. Now my towel has no crusty stuff, and I can throw it in the wash.
So that’s it! Those are my tips. The other idea is that you can have your kids do the clean up for you, and then you don’t have to worry about it at all. Good luck with that.