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?


Homemade Laundry Detergent

After two years of buying the expensive but non-chemically detergent, I had had enough. I was tired of spending WAY too much money to clean our clothes. So I scoured the internet until I found ingredients for homemade detergent that I agree with.

I’ve used one full batch of this detergent and have started my second batch. It took about four weeks of using this detergent for me to notice a difference, but our clothes are much cleaner than they ever were with store-bought cleaners. Even Danny has noticed the difference!

Homemade Detergent

     1    bar soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap, available here for $4.09 +                                                    shipping)
1/2  c Borax
1/2  c washing soda
     4     gallons of water
Chop the bar of soap into 1″ cubes. Melt the soap in one quart of water over medium heat in a pan. When the soap is melted, dissolve the washing soda and borax in the mixture. Pour into a 5-gallon bucket; add enough water to fill the bucket approximately 3/4 of the way full.

To wash one large load of clothing, use 1/4 cup of detergent. I use 1/3 of a cup in a load of diapers- that’s diapers from two days, about 17 diaper shells and 42 liners.  The soap doesn’t get super sudsy, just enough that I don’t worry that it’s not working. 🙂 Also, Borax, washing soda, and Dr. Bronners Castile Soap are all septic system safe!

I can’t find my pictures (for some reason), but I believe the directions are fairly straight forward.

Cloth Baby Wipes/ Antibacterial Wipes Formula

My cloth baby wipes (and the wipes I use to wash Bonney’s udder, too!) are both soaked in the same water mixture. I did a lot of research into what I should wet my baby wipes with. For a long time, I used a water/lotion/soap combination. It worked well and smelled good, but still wasn’t quite what I wanted. I wanted more of an antibacterial wipe for when we were out and about; something I could clean a high chair in a restaurant, a dropped toy, or dirty hands with.

Continue reading Cloth Baby Wipes/ Antibacterial Wipes Formula