We are lucky that dishwashing soaps and dishwasher detergents that are less harmful to our waterways are now readily available to us. Dishwasher detergents can be particularly harmful, as the phosphates and chlorine in these products wreak havoc for our wildlife in the water – this includes marine life and marine vegetation. The phosphate levels in dishwasher detergent are much higher than those found in laundry detergents, and the chlorine, when combined with hot water and is airborne as steam, can be taxing to the lungs.
If you are unable to find these items in your local store, Seventh Generation and Ecover are two reliable brands that carry phosphate and chlorine-free dishwasher products. Check online for more information.
Research has shown that dishwashers use less water than hand washing dishes. To maximize a load the following tips may help:
- Fill the dishwasher completely before running through a cycle
- Scrape off food but do not rinse dishes
- Keep the filters and water dispersers clean
- Run the dishwasher on a quick cycle
- Turn off the “heated” dry option if using a full cycle, and open the dishwasher door to let the dishes air dry
When was the last time that you washed the dishes by hand?! Being aware of water conservation by filling the sink for washing and rinsing can be an enjoyable moment in the kitchen, whether spent together with someone else, or alone. Use good hot water for washing and for rinsing. Enjoy the quietude in the home as you are spared from the hum of the dishwasher, and enjoy the meditative moments that the activity offers!