Limiting your water usage is good for both your bank account and the environment. We are all a bit guilty of wasting water around the home every single day. You might leave the water running while brushing your teeth or have a shower that really doesn’t need to be as long as you make it. But, one area that’s often overlooked is when you wash the dishes!
Washing your dishes can use up so much water, but you think that there’s nothing you can do about it. As such, you don’t bother trying to limit your water usage. So, it’s no surprise that you water bill keeps going up and the environment starts to suffer. Obviously, you aren’t soley to blame for the environmental issues! However, if everyone did their part to cut down on water usage, we’d be in a much better place.
With that in mind, here’s how to do it while washing your dishes:
Use a dishwasher
I’ll get this first tip out of the way as it is pretty much the main piece of advice you can follow. If you have a dishwasher, use it!
For years, we were led to believe that dishwashers used up so much extra water, making them worse than hand washing. In actuality, they can be much better at conserving water. This is because they use up the same amount of water every cycle, and many come with eco-friendly settings that ensure the minimal amount of water and electricity are used.
So, if you have a dishwasher, use it every night. That’s right, running it every night is still better in most cases than washing up by hand. Make sure you wipe away any debris or thick stains from the dishes before you put them in. What you shouldn’t do is rinse them off – this just uses up water pointlessly. Get some good dishwasher tablets that destroy grease and grime, leaving you with shiny clean dishes every morning.
Of course, if you don’t have a dishwasher, you can ignore this tip and look at the others!
Opt for good dish soap
Nowadays, you can find loads of non-branded dish soaps in grocery stores and shops. They are very cheap, advertised as a great way to save money when compared to the branded versions. In reality, they actually barely save money because they’re made with worse ingredients. By ‘worse’ I mean the ingredients are mainly water to thin it all out. In turn, the soap barely lasts, so you keep rebuying it while a branded option still has way more in. Additionally, the lack of good quality ingredients means more soap is needed to clean your dishes.
Consequently, you are using more water because the washing process takes a lot longer. Instead, if you opted for a brand like Joy dish soap, everything could be cleaned much faster. The soap acts quickly on grease and stains, meaning you can clean everything in just a few seconds.
This way, you just clean the dishes and rinse them off and the job is done. With bad soap, you have to scrub away for much longer, rinse them off, possibly scrub again as you see some stains still remain, and rinse for a second or third time. Think of how much water this wastes when you could correct the problem by getting better soap.
Yes, branded options are more expensive. Yes, in a lot of cases, not buying brands can save money. But, dish soap is one of the few exceptions when it is better for you to invest in the more expensive products.
Wipe things down first
Before you start using any water, you should get some kitchen roll to wipe down all of the plates and things with food on them. Scrape away any waste into a food bin, then give everything a good wipe. This removes so much grease and debris from your dishes and cutlery, making them way easier for you to clean.
Again, it’s the same as the previous point. You no longer have to keep the water running or use multiple rinses to see the results. All you have to do is give things a very quick clean with your good soap and scrubbing brush. That’s all there is to it, and you save so much water.
Don’t keep the water running
The worst thing you can do is turn the faucet on and let the water run while you wash up. Think about how long it takes you to do all of the washing. Sure, you might argue that five minutes isn’t that long of a timespan. That’s true, in the grand scheme of things anyway. However, five minutes of water running is a big deal.
To put things into perspective, a faucet that runs for a few minutes can use between 3 to 5 gallons of water per minute! Now, one large bottle of water usually contains a liter of water, and there are 4.5 liters per gallon. So, you’re basically using up around 12 bottles of water if your faucet is left running through the entirety of your five-minute washing up cycle.
See, it’s a massive problem! The worst thing is, a lot of this water is wasted while you put things away to dry, scrape food off plates, or scrub the dishes with soap. A much better idea is to fill the basin up with water and use that to soak your dishes and get them wet. Or, dribble a bit of water onto dishes and pans to help clean them, but turn the faucet off. Then, when you have cleaned something, rinse it off with a bit of water. This saves so much when compared to letting the faucet run the whole time.
Ideally, you solve the problem as easily as possible by utilizing a dishwasher. But, if you don’t have one, the other tips in this guide will also help you cut down on your water usage while washing dishes. After this, you can focus on other areas of your home to reduce water waste – such as in the bathroom.