Green Your Life: Doin’ the Dishes

| 2/16/2009 3:33:57 PM

Save water and money when doing dishes by investing in a sink stopper. Photo By steev-o/Courtesy Flickr. 

I recently went to the store to buy a sink stopper so I could stop running the water when I wash my dishes by hand. “How very green of me,” I thought as I paid my $5, excited to try out my newest green product. When I got home, I put the stopper in the sink, turned on the water and watched as…it let all the water run down the drain. Apparently, my sink drain is not what the stopper package would consider “of average size,” and I was left with a device that only delivered on half of its promises; its food-catching skills were exemplary, but I knew I needed to find other ways to green my dishwashing routine.

I don’t particularly love washing dishes, but it a necessary evil. It’s also another area of my life that could use some revision. I have made a few small steps toward a greener dishwashing routine, but on the whole, it still leaves much to be desired. So, here are some tips that I’ve collected (and some that I practice myself) that will make washing dishes less of a drain on the planet.

If washing by hand:

• Don’t leave the water running as you’re washing and rinsing. The best way to accomplish this is by placing a tub of hot water in each side of the sink: one for washing, one for rinsing. The washing tub should have very hot, soapy water in it to ensure that you’re getting your dishes as clean as possible, and that no germs are left behind. As far as I know, the rinsing tub can contain water at any temperature; this tub is just to prevent water waste.

• If, like me, you don’t have two sides to your sink, simply stopper your drain (like I tried to do), fill the sink no more than halfway with hot, soapy water, and dig in. You’ll just have to rinse them after you’re all done.