I wash dishes by hand, and in the dishwasher. Here’s what I do to make washing dishes Everyday Sustainable.
I use Ecover products, because their products are natural, biodegradable, and free of petroleum and phosphates. I’ve used them for a while, and am happy with them. Pleasant or no scent, and effective.
- To improve everyday sustainable: I’ll look into bulk and refill options, and also be open to powder dishwashing soap, since their lighter and take less energy to ship.
This is my favorite natural cleaning ingredient. For years, I struggled to clean the splattered oil on my water kettle. I used elbow grease and all kinds of detergents. Then, I discovered that all you have to do is throw some baking soda — dry — onto the kettle. Take a moist (but now wet and dripping) sponge and scrub the baking soda; it should pick up the grease and clean that kettle with hardly any effort. I use it on burned spots on pots and pans, too.
HAND WASH SELECTIVELY AND CAREFULLY
Wash dishes using the least amount of water necessary; letting things soak below as I wash less dirty dishes first. Nevertheless, apparently a good dishwashing machine is more efficient than a human dishwasher, so I tend to wash delicate dishes, pots and wooden items by hand. The rest I stick in the dishwasher.
- To improve everyday sustainable: I’ll try to get in the habit of filling the sink to wash dishes at the same time. This requires some coordination, but really it’s a matter of developing a new habit.
DISHWASHER: AT NIGHT & ALMOST AIR DRY
I think the dishwasher in my apartment is a candidate for energy star upgrade, but since I rent, I can’t change that. However, there are things I do to make it as energy-efficient as possible.
- Only run it when it’s completely full.
- Minimize pre-rinsing, though since it takes several days to fill the washer, things do get dried on.
- Use the “energy saver dry” setting, which is as close as I can get to having it air dry, I think. (I’ll have to research that, actually.)
- Run the machine at night, when energy use/demand/rates are lower.
Helpful info from Treehugger on How To Green Your Dishwasher.