7 Hand Dishwashing Tips for Conserving Water and Saving Money
How to Save Water When You Wash Dishes by Hand
There are many reasons to be frugal with water when washing dishes. Maybe you're an RVer with limited tank space for wastewater. Maybe you live in a drought area. For others, it is the concern for the environment or a desire to save on their water bill.
Here are tips that you can adapt to your own situation. Wash your dishes in a minimum amount of water with the ideas you'll find here. You may not need to make major changes, just small adjustments to your dish washing routine.
The ideas below are for hand washing dishes, not for washing them in a dishwashing machine.
Tip #1: Hot Water Works Best
Don't run the water down the drain while waiting for it to get hot. Here are frugal ways to make use of that:
- Capture the cold water in a pitcher, tea kettle, plant watering pot, or pet's drinking bowl. Once the water is hot, direct it into your basin or container where you are washing.
- An alternate way is to run a little water into your washing container, then place that into the microwave for a few minutes to heat. (don't do this with a metal container, of course)
Tip #2: Don't Fill the Sink With Water
Tip #3: Start With a Small Bowl or Basin and a Bit of Detergent
Tip #4: Put in the Sink Stopper to Catch the Overflow as You Wash and Rinse
Start with the small items as the bowl begins to fill. I get about an inch of water, turn off the water, wash a few small things, then turn the water back on to rinse them. Doing that will gradually fill the bowl. I do this off and on again pattern numerous times.
As the bowl fills and overflows, capture the water in the sink. Repeat the wiping of the dishes with the dishcloth and the rinsing in an off.
Slowly, the depth of my water grows as I wash more and bigger items. This way my rinse water isn't wasted down the drain as it serves a dual purpose of rinsing and then becomes wash water for the larger mixing bowls, cassarole dishes, and cooking pots.
Tip #5: Scrape, Wipe, or Soak the Dirtiest Items First
You can buy a special utensil for scraping out the food residue before washing or just use a spatula. One person said she used a defunct credit card for this.
You can also use the paper napkins from dinner to wipe out the oily residue or save a lightly used paper towel for wiping out the pots.
Tip #6: Wash the Cleanest Items First, Then the Dirtiest Ones Last
This is the best order to use (from the cleanest to the dirtiest)
- Drinking glasses
- Casserole Dishes and Dirty Pots
(If you aren't going to wash the dishes right away, at least scrape and rinse them so they will be easier to clean later)
Tip #7: Make a Game Out of Saving Water
Other Frugal, Water-Saving Tips
- I live off the grid and carry water, so I hand wash in one pan and rinse in another..not a lot of waste, there, and I only heat what I will use. I've done that for a long time. Australia is an arid continent and water is precious (and expensive). After our 13 year drought, I'm always nervy turning on a tap.
- The leftover gray water can be used to wash off shoes, picnic benches, and other RV site stuff too so that you're not bringing more grunge inside.
- If I'm not washing the dishes right away, I rinse them off, so will be easier later.
I'm pretty thrifty with water when we are in our RV. I put dish detergent and water in a cup or bowl and then wash the rest of the dishes in that. Have the sink stopper in and as you rinse each item, gradually you end up with about 2 inches of water in the sink. (only 2 of us, so not that many dishes)
© 2017 Virginia Allain