- Wash in hot water, but rinse in cold. That way, the hot water heater doesn't work as hard.
- Use a smaller container in your sink to fill with washing water if you have a large sink. That way, you can get depth in the water, but you don’t use as much. I have a very large plastic popcorn bowl that someone gave me that I’ve been putting in the sink. A large soup pot would work, too. You can buy dish tubs at the store, but chances are you already have something that will work.
- In the not-buying-more-stuff category, instead of buying a dish rack to dry the dishes on, I place a dishtowel on the counter and then place my cooling racks on top of them. I put glasses on top of the cooking racks so they can drain and air can get up underneath them.
- Use eco-friendly dish detergent. You don’t need a lot. Forget those old TV commercials that said you need a sink full of suds.
- Do not allow the water to run in between rinsing dishes. Turn it off and turn it back on.
- Work from cleanest to dirtiest dishes. If you start with a greasy pan, you’ll have to dump the water and add more.
- Work with a partner. The dinner dishes were always my husband’s job (hence his desire to get a new dishwasher sooner rather than later). Since we’ve been doing them by hand, I’ve joined him in the kitchen and I dry the dishes. It’s actually a nice 20 minutes that we’re spending together that we hadn’t been before. I kind of like it.
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