Consumer Report: how to conserve water if you have to hand wash dishes

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CONSUMER REPORTS –Washing dishes by hand can use a lot of water compared to newer Energy-saving dishwashers. The dishwashers in CR’s tests use about four to six gallons of water to clean a full load. 

If you hand wash dishes with the water running, you can use around 22 gallons!

“As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the cleaning wonders of my dishwasher, but if you still prefer to wash by hand, or you don’t have a dishwasher, the two basin method is optimal,” said  Perry Santanachote of Consumer Reports.

Step one – scrape off any leftover food. Two – fill one side of the sink with hot water and a few squirts of dishwashing liquid.

Fill the other sink with clean, cool water. Hot water is unnecessary. If you have a one-basin sink, use a plastic basin for clean water instead.

Now let’s get to work– – start with the least dirty dishes and work up to heavily soiled pots and pans. If necessary, let them soak, then scrub clean with a sponge.

Never put sharp knives in soapy water where you can’t see them. Dip the scrubbed items in the clean water to remove the suds. If the rinse water gets too sudsy, pour some out and add more clean water.

Put your clean dishes into a drying rack with a drain board. They need space for air to circulate and dry them. To avoid spots, dry glassware and metal items with a lint-free towel.

Some other helpful hand washing tools? A bottle brush, to get your drinking bottles really clean. These little brushes are great for reusable straws. Plain sponges are all you need for regular dishes while a scrubber will take care of caked-on food. 

And dishwasher soap CAN give you “dishpan hands,” so always wear a pair of rubber gloves.

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