Washing Dishes Conservatively

I had a revelation on Tuesday: I was wasting water when washing dishes. Though, I suppose it wasn’t as much wasting water as using excess electricity to wash my dishes. Water can be neither created nor destroyed. (Remember learning your Laws of Thermodynamics?)  Using “extra” water to wash or rinse my dishes would simply flush the water to the septic system, where it would eventually be released back into the ground as “gray water.” This isn’t about conserving water, it’s about saving money. Anyway…

How are dishes washed?

  1. Partially fill a sink with water.
  2. Add soap.
  3. Wash an item.
  4. Rinse the item in the other side of the sink.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, occasionally steps 1 and 2, until all of the dishes are sparkling clean.

“What’s so wrong with that?” you may ask. Step 4 is what is so wrong. That hot water that I just rinsed my dishes with is gone. I used electricity to heat that water. I paid for the water, only to get rid of it. Hmm. There has to be another way…

…and there is. I now plug that second side of the sink. My rinse water has a new purpose: it becomes my wash water when I need it. I was dishes in the left side of the sink, rinsing in the right, until the wash water is too dirty to clean dishes. I then release the water in the left side and wash dishes in the right. The left side is re-plugged, and rinse water is saved there until needed.

If I have rinse water and no dishes to wash, I can hand-wash a few kitchen towels in the sink. I feel much better knowing that I am saving some money. I may only be saving a penny (I don’t know how much I am saving. I should do the math…) per load of dishes, but I was dishes three times a day. That’s 1,095 times a year, which would save me $10.95!

On a side note, my Method fiasco is ongoing. I still haven’t found a dish soap recipe that I like, so I still want to scratch like a dog with fleas with I wash dishes. I tried a castile soap and water mixture, but it left my dishes greasy.  Without washing soda and borax to hold the two together, they separated. According to a Google search, hard water with straight castile soap creates greasy dishes. We have very hard water, so the castile soap is out… for now. Baking soda and salt didn’t do quite the job I expected, either. I am hopefully going to make homemade soap (lye and all) this week. I will then experiment with it. For now, I have ordered Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap. After reading ingredients on some of the top “natural” and “organic” soaps, it was the soap that I liked the best.

Are you going to try my new dish-washing method? Do you make homemade dish soap?


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