View Full Version : Most water-efficient way to do dishes by hand?
08-16-2007, 09:29 PM
Hi all: We've been trying to cut down on our expenses around the house to save money (money's been tight) and thought about our electricity and water bills. We turned up the thermostat 2 degrees to see if that will help. Also, we realized we were wasting too much water by our method of dishwashing. So, does anyone have a water-efficient way of doing dishes they would like to share? Thanks a bunch!!
08-16-2007, 10:59 PM
This is how I did it growing up as a child. You need a square dishpan for your sink and a drainer with draining board.
We scraped our dishes first into a pail and composted the garbage. It kept the water cleaner.
Fill the first bowl of your sink with hot soapy water. The second bowl has the dishpan filled with hot clean water. The drainer drains into the sink on the dishpan side. If you need to pour something down the sink later, it is available and won't foul your water.
Wash glasses 1st, silverware 2nd, plates 3rd, bowls 4th, then everything else, leaving the dirtiest stuff last. We usually air dried everything in the drainer.
My mom was a nurse during WWII and was very serious about hygiene. I don't know what others do/did but that is how it was done in her house for over 50 years.
Karin and Katie 10/24/02
08-17-2007, 01:37 AM
Choosing the time to turn on the dishwasher, washing machine/dryer also helps. I don't know if it's universal, in my neck of wood the peak time is M-F 1pm to 7pm, half peak 10 am-1pm and 7pm-9pm. So I usually turn on the machines at time other than those. Saturday and Sunday is low except for 5pm-8pm.
ETA: oops, I didn't read your post carefully, I thought you were asking how to reduce water/electricity bills in general. Here, we figure it's cheaper to use the dishwasher than wash by hand, so that's what we do. I usually clean dirty plates with used paper napkins before putting them into the machine so when they come out they come out clean, no residue, etc.
08-17-2007, 07:34 AM
Thanks for the tips! We'll hafta give that a try - anyone else with any tips?
08-17-2007, 04:58 PM
We don't do the soak method, so I don't know how ours compares in terms of water usage. But, here's what we do. Scrape off as much as you can in the trash. Quickly rinse off remaining stuff using as little time and water pressure as possible, and suds up a sponge. Turn off the water, and start scrubbing down everything and stacking the scrubbed stuff in a separate section of the sink. When we're done, turn on the water (again at the lowest pressue possible) and rinse the suds off. We airdry everything in a rack next to the sink...
Like I said, not sure if our method uses more or less water than filling two containers with water (one sudsy and the other clean). It's just the way we do it...
08-17-2007, 09:25 PM
I have heard that dishwashers actually use less water than washing by hand, but maybe that's only true if you're not being very water-conscience when hand washing?
08-18-2007, 08:15 PM
Ok, I looked up which way uses less water, and the answer is - it depends. According to http://extension.usu.edu/files/natrpubs/nrwq03.pdf a standard dishwasher uses 15 gallons. So can you wash as many dishes as your dishwasher using less? Do you run water while washing by hand? Do you run your dishwasher when it isn't full? Here is a great article that talks about the differences.: http://www.mtprog.com/ApprovedBriefingNotes/PDF/MTP_BNW16_2007July19.pdf
Karin and Katie 10/24/02
08-18-2007, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the tips and the articles! They make a lot of sense!
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