Zero Waste Dishwashing


I have a dishwasher for the first time in my adult life, and it's amazing. I'm at the age where I'm too old for Pokemon Go but not too old for Snapchat, so naturally stuff like this excites me. 
Not only does the dishwasher sanitize and use less water, it's the best drying rack for limonade bottles. I can actually relax during dinner parties instead of scrubbing plates to clear sink space. At first I didn't mind not having a dishwasher, because it was just me, or the two of us, and it's hard to make enough dishes for a full load. After several years, however, washing up became mind numbingly boring, like watching Taylor Swift pretend to be guileless again.


I still have to wash some dishes by hand- things I need to use immediately, delicate glasses and utensils. I try not to put dishes off, cleaning while I cook, and I collect and reuse dishwater when possible (I like using extra water from my tea kettle to sanitize things). When handwashing, I typically don't soak dishes first. Scrub directly with soap and rinse with a thin stream of water to save resources.


Zero Waste Dishwashing
THe METHOD

I've been using the same Redecker beech wood and plant bristle brush for years now, replacing only the head and saving the handle. I prefer brushes to sponges because they dry quickly, make cleaning pans easier, and seem to last longer (you could also use a natural sponge, if preferred, or knitted hemp cloth). Simply wet the bristles and apply directly to a bar of soap. Aleppo is nice because it's palm oil free, cleans oily items perfectly, and is easy to buy unpackaged in Paris, but you can use any pure, food-safe soap. To sanitize the brush, boil the head with a little vinegar. I put dishes either in the dishwasher or on a dish towel so they drain. If I'm running out of time, I use a clean cotton dish towel to hand-dry (mine are secondhand), otherwise I air dry and put them away immediately. I dry the sink immediately every time, and clean it out with Aleppo soap or vinegar a few times a week.

The brush easily removes burned or baked on food debris. For stubborn cases, try deglazing with vinegar while the pan's still hot or using a pot brush. I personally use baking soda to scour on rare occasions, but I'm trying to reduce my baking soda usage because it's a non-renewable resource and I don't recycle it. It helps that I don't cook cheese or meat at home anymore. I can typically reuse cooking oil and any wet food can be scraped into compost before washing.

Because water is so hard here, vinegar is necessary in the sel detachant and rinse agent compartments of the dishwasher (when handwashing and drying I don't need it). If your rinse compartment doesn't dispense enough product, fill a small bowl on the top rack 1/4 of the way with vinegar. We buy cheap dishwasher tablets in bulk here, but to make some dishwashing detergent yourself, use 1.5 cups each baking and washing soda, 1/4 cup Epsom salts, and two tablespoons citric acid. Mix well and store in a glass container for powder, or pat into molds and wait a half hour for tablets. I don't rinse the dishes before putting them in the automatic washer and they still come out completely clean. To clean the dishwasher I was told to run an empty cycle with vinegar, but I haven't needed to do that yet.
Paris to Go

16 comments:

  1. Is this picture your new kitchen? Looks fantastic! Just a question though: how do you care for wooden utensils and cutting boards? Do you put them in the dishwasher along with the rest?

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    1. Hi, no, I wash my wooden and bamboo cutting boards by hand. The oil based soap has enough in it to condition the cutting boards nicely, I find. You can also condition wood with olive oil and deodorize with lemons.

      http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-oil-and-maintain-a-wooden-cutting-board-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195642

      I recommend using candelilla wax instead of beeswax to protect and seal boards.

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    2. Peroxide is also a very effective way to naturally disinfect your cutting boards. Not sure if it's available in bulk or wether you can get a refill of it, but it will come handy in so many other ways from stain removing to mouth washing.

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  2. Hi Ariana,
    I love your new kitchen, seems like a 180 degree change compared to the previous one.
    I'm in the middle of planning how to reduce the size of mine, to generate extra dining space (Little Miss Mischief is getting bigger, so any space that canbe gained is pure gold). This will mean getting a smaller sink.
    Can you comment on having a single bowl sink, please? Is it a big issue when you've had a two bowl sink with a drainer previously?

    Also, a word of caution about vinegar in the rinse aid. I was over the moon coming across this solution, but then I read some more and it can damage the rubber seal in the dishwasher. I am currently using 2tbs citric acid diluted in 2 glasses of water. I suppose it should be safer, since the Lemishine is mainly citric acid.

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    1. Hi Magdalena! Citric acid is a great idea. I'd heard that about vinegar also from my friend Astrid so I'll try that! Thank you! As for the sink I haven't noticed the difference. I like having the wide basin to work around with and since I don't soak dishes it hasn't been an issue.

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  3. I am so shallow to this conversation, but I have to ask - are they windows in front of your sink, or storage cabinets?
    And on the topic of citric acid, I realise that you use water cleansing for your hair only, but I've found some powdered citric acid dissolved in warm-enough water is an amazing rinse for hair. The shine and silkiness I've gotten out of it is just incredible (and smells better than the vinegar alternative).

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    1. Hi lol don't worry they are windows into the bathroom, frosted glass so you can't see :) That is a great tip about the citric acid. And here I thought you could only use them for wine slushies !!

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    2. Thank you C Bryan for sharing! I'll try citric acid for hair rinse.

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  4. Can you comment on food safe soap options in the US? I have switched over to bars of soap for hand washing and in the shower to lower waste, but I wish I could get a gorgeous bar of soap like that...any ideas? THANKS! Love the new kitchen.

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    1. Dr. Bronner's is perfect for washing dishes and practically everything else :) Usually farmer's markets or Whole Foods will have cold pressed, small batch soaps that are pure and safe for dishes. And thank you!!

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  5. That Taylor Swift comment! So true.

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    1. Haha yea she's really showing her true colors now! I like her but I don't trust her lol

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  6. Found an easy recipe for using left over lemons to make a zero waste dishwasher gel I thought you might be interested in! http://www.mannsmooring.com/?p=939

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