For this one, you’ll need to head to the kitchen and get ready to tackle what may be your least favorite chore: dishwashing. With these smart techniques, you’ll save water and energy, which in turn save you money. And that can make even the most unpleasant chore a little more bearable.
No matter if your dishwasher is a human being or a machine, we’ve got tips to make dishwashing more efficient. But you should know, dishwashers are nearly always more efficient than you, so if possible use the machine. A recent study by the University of Bonn in Germany found that dishwashers use half the energy, one-sixth the water, and less soap than hand-washing. (I won’t hold it against you if your only dishwasher is yourself, though. After all, I’m in the same boat.)
- Employ the two-tub method. Use one section of your sink to soak your dishes and the other to rinse your dishes. This will cut down on the amount of running water.
- Use a green dishwashing liquid. My favorites: Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap ($3.99 for a 16-ounce container) and Method’s Dish Soap ($4 for a 25-ounce container).
- Use your pots and pans economically. Why use two pots to make spaghetti (one for the noodles and one for the sauce) when you can get away with one? Simply pour the sauce over the hot noodles to warm it up. You’ll not only save energy and water, but you’ll also save time.
Using a dishwasher:
- Run your dishwasher only when full. It uses the same amount of water and energy no matter if it’s half or completely full. Milk it for all it’s worth by stuffing it with dishes before flipping the switch.
- Avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold, and pre-rinse settings, which all scarf energy and water. Instead, use the energy-saving cycle and let your dishes air-dry. (Your dishwasher will consume 15 to 50 percent less energy.)
- If your dishwasher was manufactured before 1994, ENERGY STAR® recommends replacing it with an ENERGY STAR® model. You’ll save more than $30 a year in energy costs. Need help choosing a model? Check out our Dishwasher Buying Guide.
Until next time,
The Home Know-It-All