Washing the Dishes - an opportunity to save water
Washing the dishes, especially by hand, is usually an area of daily life where the average American wastes lots of water. I've been to the homes of many a friend who simply run the water in the sink, full blast, while doing dishes.
I know people who run water in the sink while they're clearing the table, gathering up dishes, and wiping down the counter top. What's that all about? How does that help do the dishes and clean up the kitchen?
A friend of mine once commented about how his family did the dishes. He said, "We always just ran a full stream of hot water in the sink. We didn't know any better. I suppose you don't do it that way." Yep, I don't, and neither should you.
Anyway, we don't have to be wasteful with water, or the energy we use to heat it. We can conserve water and still get our work done in the kitchen. Let's see how a little planning and change of habits can lead to saving water and ultimately contribute to saving money.
First, when we are washing the dishes by hand, we can use cold water. The only advantage of warm or hot water is a little comfort for the individual washing dishes and the ability to loosen up grease. Other than that, cold water does just fine for most of what we need to wash. Besides, it'll encourage you to use it less just to keep your hands out of the chilling stream.
Second, if we run the water when we need to, instead of constantly, we'll be having the water do work for us instead of simply running it down the drain.
Third, we need to learn how to regulate the water flow to match what we're trying to get done. That's what the handle is for on the faucet. It's not an isolation valve, it's a throttling or regulating valve, so let's use it to our advantage.
Fourth, we can use aerators and spray nozzles to increase the effectiveness of the water we use. Water that's aerated promotes a more even cascade of limited water across a surface, and that limited water flow does a better job of rinsing (for a given amount of water used) than a full stream. The effectiveness of rinsing is increased even more when we opt to use a spray instead of a stream.
Fifth, washing the dishes in a batch process, instead of one dish at a time, is another approach that can help save water. Soap up a few, then rinse a few. That's a much more conservative way of using water than washing and rinsing one at a time. This approach also encourages turning on and off the water instead of letting it run.
Sixth, using a dishwasher in a non-traditional way can also be a water saver. We can wash by hand and rinse using the dishwasher, and that can give us effective cleaning coupled with the most efficient use of water.
The challenge we all face is changing our mindset of waste and shifting over to a mindset of frugality where we make the most of our resources, save money, and still effectively do what we need to do.
It's your money, so it's up to you. Washing the dishes is one area where we can make improvements in the cost-efficiency of our daily activities. And, being more cost-efficient is part of frugal living, not because our approach to washing the dishes will be such a big money saver, but because it's a recurring task that either adds up to larger savings or it contributes to unnecessary waste.
Done with Washing the Dishes, take me back to Save Water