Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Save Money, Save Your Health, Save the Earth

This one's going to be short. . . use your dishwasher instead of hand washing!!! While I shamelessly admit that if the results were reversed I wouldn't STOP using my dishwasher, since I like what this article says, I thought I'd share it. Now, one thing to consider, if you rinse every dish, running water the whole time, that will negate the water savings, and with most newer dishwashers is totally unnecessary, you can scrape any big pieces of food off the plates (into the compost bucket, of course) w/ some of the dirty silverware (or a sponge, I suppose, I tend to use the grab a dirty fork method). And the dishwasher will get the rest off with no problem.

It does help to learn your dishwasher, there are areas of mine that get a more direct spray or something so when I remember to put the dirtiest stuff in those "zones" it works better. And don't overload to the point that some dishes aren't getting any water.

Now, you're saving money with less water, and that's saving the earth too. BUT the phosphates & such in conventional dishwasher detergent isn't doing anything good for the earth. Unfortunately I can't give you a "tried & true" recipe for a homemade dishwasher detergent, it seems to vary depending on your dishwasher, how hard your water is, etc. The most recent suggestions I've seen (that I'll play around with when I use through my current "stash" (I tend to stock up during sales), borax & washing soda (both can be found in the laundry aisle, washing soda comes in what looks like a big baking soda box, but it's not exactly the same as baking soda) but play with the proportions to see what works best for your dishwasher/water. I've also seen the recommendation to add some salt to this mixture, so might try that next time. In the meantime I'll keep using my Ecover brand (which works REALLY well, but doesn't exactly fall into the "save money" category). Trader Joe's generic brand works well too. Seventh Generation I haven't had good luck with, but others swear by it, so again, I'm thinking it depends on the water & such.

Regardless, plain white vinegar makes a wonderfully cheap, ecological, and effective replacement for Jet Dry.

As far as saving your health, well . . . considering how much I struggle to stay on top of the dishes WITH a dishwasher, just think how grouchy I'd be if I had to wash all the dishes by hand :)


Unknown said...

The home we are in now does not have a dishwasher, and I can't wait to get one installed this spring. You can save water by handwashing carefully, but when you've got the kids washing dishes, it just won't work. I'm looking forward to smaller water bill when I get my dishwasher.

I'll keep your dishwasher soap ideas in mind. I make my own laundry detergent, so I don't see why I can't make a dishwasher soap as well!

ADMIN said...

I like to hand wash my dishes in a dishpan, and then empty the dishwater outside in my back yard garden. I hate to waste water!