The day after I fire the kiln I get the glorious honor of washing the smoke and bits off of the work. Oh joy.
I do find it better to do the task the day after the firing and not wait until the last minute. First, last minute doesn't work that well for raku because the smoky aroma (I'm being PC using "aroma") is usually pretty strong and can waft through the booth in a not good way if the piece is not washed (and dried)...so last minute can not be the night before a show. Last minute in the case of raku is a couple weeks before the event. BUT, more importantly (sort of) is that I find that if I wait, I seriously dread the job more...or at least for more days. So, while I'm not really a finisher but a great starter...this is one of those jobs that is better finished sooner than later...like today in the case of the recent firing.
The good news is that as I'm washing I get a very good perspective on each piece. I have a unique opportunity to evaluate pieces within their firing context and before I forget what I might have applied to them.