washing dishes the eco way - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-31-2008, 04:49 AM
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Before someone tells me that dishwashers save water I don't have one. I wash by hand and use Bio-D washing up liquid. What I guess I am really asking is what do people use for scrubbing. I always have a plastic handled brush that you scrub with plus steel wool for tough baked on stuff like tofu marinade. But I throw them out every couple of months because they get manky. We are trying to go plastic free--ok as plastic free as we can--and I don't know what to do. Even things like sponges come in a plastic wrapper and have to be thrown away eventually.

What do others do? Do you just have a cloth that you wash instead of a brush? Has anyone tried micro-fibre cloths for washing up? I love them elsewhere--they really tackle soap scum with just water--maybe just micro-fibre cloths instead of brushes.

Any ideas?

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#2 Old 07-31-2008, 07:26 AM
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My main weapon is soaking/rinsing right away. I use previously collected water that I've transferred to a watering can for ease (from a small bucket in the shower while the water warms up, plus several bigger buckets and one big trash barrel that I've placed under corners of the roof to catch rainwater) and rinse everything right away. I hardly have to scrape anything at all. If there's something really greasy, I wipe it with a "gently used" paper towel or napkin that someone else has invariably used and throw it out. That keeps some of the gunk out of the water supply.

For the sponge, I use stuff that is marketed as "green" without any plastic wrap, maybe with a loofah side to it. Usually has a paper strip around it. Plus a natural bristle/sisal type scrubby thing when I really need it. Also, baking soda really helps to get stuff off.

Seriously, the soaking/rinsing extends the life of sponges & scrubbers several times over. With the excess water I can also be sure to rinse the sponge out really thoroughly after each use, which also extends the use. And I'm careful to wring it out well and let it dry as much as possible in between uses. I hate dirty sponges! And since most of the water collects during heavy rains, I'm actually helping reduce the amount of runoff by keeping the water from just pouring into the street to collect contaminants and overload the sewage system during those storms.
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#3 Old 07-31-2008, 08:39 AM
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^^^ Another vote for soak/rinsing ASAP. It makes things a lot easier.
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#4 Old 07-31-2008, 08:45 AM
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I am another one for soaking the soiled dishes for a bit before tackling them.

Oh, one other thing -- maybe irrelevent to this conversation, but a point I found useful: To disinfect a sponge, place it - wet and wrung out - in the microwave and zap for one minute at full power. Carefully remove from microwave and you now have a germ-free sponge.
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#5 Old 07-31-2008, 02:22 PM
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Have a dog lick the plates off before you wash them.
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#6 Old 07-31-2008, 07:19 PM
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Love the last two suggestions! Of course I'm not above licking the plate myself, but I generally eat alone...
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#7 Old 07-31-2008, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by panthera View Post

Of course I'm not above licking the plate myself...

Me neither, but I need the help of a long nose when it comes to bowls.
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#8 Old 08-01-2008, 06:28 AM
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I know it just sounds so dumb--I just have always washed dishes the way my parents taught me to. They used plastic brushes so i do. The one thing I did change was they rinse under running water and we don't. We have a little pan full of clean water to rinse. We can't catch rain water as we live over offices in the centre of town. But I like the idea of a loofa. and I do try to get to things right away and I do put things on to soak. These are good ideas--except the dog one. i would probably drop dead as I am highly allergic to dog saliva! Thanks!

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#9 Old 08-01-2008, 06:30 AM
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I thought this might interest you:

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