We’ve been conducting an experiment in our kitchen the past two months, ever since watching a segment on Sunday Morning about the dishwasher (and ever since receiving that $426 Progress Energy bill. As it turns out, we’ve been washing our dishes completely wrong!
I’d be willing to bet that many of you out there have been doing it wrong, too. 😛 So, unless your dishwasher was built during the Reagan campaign, here are a few tips for saving energy, water, and time in the kitchen.
- Don’t hand wash your dishes. Of course, there are exceptions. ((Like my vintage Pyrex collection.)) But unless a dish specifically states that it’s not dishwasher safe, toss it in the machine. You don’t have to be Al Gore to know that you will waste more water by using a sink full of it, or by letting the water run, to hand wash dishes than you will by loading and running your dishwasher.
- Scrape, don’t rinse! This has been the hardest habit for me to let go of. I’m a rinser. My mom even commented once “You’re the only person I know who puts clean dishes in the dishwasher.” She was on to something. If your dishwasher was made within the past 10 years, odds are it can handle the crap you leave on a plate. ((If it can’t, it’s time for one that can.)) This one change has cut my kitchen cleaning time in half–which is just as important to me as saving energy. It’s been almost two months and I’ve only had to re-wash one dish that was scraped. I still have the urge to rinse, rinse, rinse. But I resist, resist, resist!
- Change your settings. Do you really need to heat dry your dishes? I’m guessing, like most people in America, you set your dishwasher to run at the end of the night and you don’t empty it until three days later the next day. So why do you need to use energy to heat dry the dishes? Just let them dry naturally overnight. Sure, that annoying little reservoir that’s held in the indent of coffee cups will be there, but we do have this amazing invention called a towel.
- Load that baby up! I am the queen of loading the dishwasher. When Chris does the dishes and proclaims he’s done, but can’t fit in the last three glasses, who rearranges everything and makes them fit? It certainly isn’t Zachary. 😉 This is one tip I’ve always followed. The dishwasher uses the same amount of water and energy no matter how many dishes are in it, so why not get the most bang for your buck?
- Know how to load that baby up. If you still have your manual, check out the manufacturer’s recommended loading instructions. Following these guidelines will help you optimize water and energy usage, while still allowing for proper water circulation. If you don’t have the manual, you are obviously online. Let your mouse do the walking.
I can honestly say that following these tips has really reduced the amount of time I spend cleaning the kitchen, meaning I have more quality time to spend in front of the TV. Our Progress Energy bill has gone down too, thank God. For a while there I was concerned that one of the kids was going to have to go on eBay.
This post was generously brought to you by some cool tv stands. I know this has nothing to do with washing dishes, but hey, I did mention TV. 😉