Updated: Apr 17
By now you should know that washing your dishes is more eco-friendly compared to using disposable paper plates (as these require a lot of water to produce). But, is it possible to make your dishwashing routine more eco-friendly? Sure it is! Below you can read some tips to help you along the way.
A dishwasher is about 3.5 times more water-efficient compared to washing dishes by hand. So, if you have the funds and space for a dishwasher, it is definitely a good investment to save water (and time).
You might think that a dishwasher completely fills up to the top with water, or sprays a constant stream of fresh water. But this is not the case. Dishwashers nowadays use lots of pumps, filters, and sprays that reuse water during cleaning. Clean water is only used at the beginning and for the final rinse. During washing, water is filtered and heated for maximum cleaning.
Even though I have a dishwasher, I also do the dishes by hand daily. Pots and pans I wash by hand as it enhances their longevity. Just like for some of the fancy kitchen knives we have. Also, some wooden kitchen supplies are washed by hand.
For choosing your dishwashing soap, you want a biodegradable soap. Most conventional soaps contain lots of chemicals that are washed down the drain where it might affecting our water systems and even marine life. Some of these chemicals are not easily removed when our water is cleaned. So, what are good options for soap? A block of solid dishwashing soap is a great choice. This is a fun DIY when you are confident to work with lye (don’t worry, there will not be any lye left in the end product) or you could opt for this solid soap block. Is solid dishwashing soap not for you? Go for a dishwashing detergent in cardboard. Make sure the box is empty and clean before recycling as only clean products can be recycled.
Nowadays, there are several sustainable options out there as alternatives to the plastic brushes and sponges we used to have. A wooden brush a great for those small glasses in which you can reach to bottom with a sponge. A loofah or a coconut scrub pad is a great compostable sponge. This not only saves you a lot of plastic, but they also last longer compared to their plastic counterpart saving you money in the long run.
Use less water
When I do the dishes by hand, I want to avoid filling the sink completely with water. I do that by using the largest pan I used that day as my sink and I do the dishes in that pan. This saves me lots of water and I find it easier to work with as I rinse next to the pan. Also, collect the cold ‘waste’ water and use the water to water plants.
I hope these tips helped you make your daily dishes more sustainable.