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washing dishes: by hand vs. dishwasher

 
pollinator
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Paul and Kelly talk about saving water and washing dishes by hand in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/435-podcast-077-creating-an-oasis-with-grey-water-2/
 
Mother Tree
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I just found this video on how to modify a spray bottle so it works from any angle - perfect for spraying diluted washing-up liquid direct onto dirty plates!

 
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One of the upsides of doing dishes by hand is that you can catch all that water that comes before it warms up in an old milk jug and use it to water whatever plants need it most, or even just save it in the rain barrels to loose it's chlorine and be there for that one hot dry spell you know is coming.

The other reason I love doing it by hand is it is my alone time in the morning to just have my hands in some warm water and good smelling soap while the coffee gets going. It's a bit like meditation really.

Thank you Paul for the video! For some reason I never really looked at doing the dishes a bit more conservatively like that. I'm down to under a quart each day! Oh, and another thing, I'm using much less soap since it stays in the sink for me. Thank you.
 
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This post is totally old, so its silly to bring it back but...

I have worked in kitchens for years and I. HATE. WASHING. DISHES. I also make lots of dirty dishes...and waste lots of water washing my dishes.

And as a jeweler, my hands are devoid of moisture already. Sitting in water for 20 minutes everyday doesn't help (like I said, i dirty alot of dishes). No, I refuse to wear gloves. I hate rubber gloves.

Dishwashers for lyfe,
 
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Hmmm, I'm about 3 years late to this bit of the party, but I fell compelled to point out that a lot of you are/were confusing anti-bacterial with anti-biotic. While theres a huge problem with the tendency of industrial farmers to drown animals in anti_biotics (and to a lesser extent over prescription in people) forcing evolution of bacteria toward resistance to things like penicillian, the same cannot be said of anti-bacterial soap leading to a resistince to rubbing alchohol. so, while its probably a good idea to expose your self to some ammount of germs, you dont have to wory about washing helping to shepard in new superbugs
 
pollinator
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Logan Simmering : Please correct me if I am wrong , I have been thinking all this time that it was the long acting anti bacterials that were endangering us ! I have not personally
heard or read of any cases of the use of Ethanol, which is not found in Rubbing Alcohol, as promoting resistance in Bacteria ! Mostly rubbing Alcohol is Isopropyl Alcohol and some-
times partially Methanol! The only places I have heard or read of it's use is in Haiti and in the Palestinian 'Border Camps' and now in Syria. I too understand the problems of over
use of antibiotics, and the kinds of anti bacterial soap that leave a residue of long lasting/acting films directly on the skin - but my understanding was the use of anti bacterial soap
was a totally different issue from that of the use of ETOH in 'Hand Cleansers '!

For the Good of the Craft ! Think like Fire, Flo like Gas, Don't be the Marshmallow ! As always, your comments and questions are solicited and are Welcome Big AL !
 
Logan Simmering
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allen lumley wrote:Logan Simmering : Please correct me if I am wrong , I have been thinking all this time that it was the long acting anti bacterials that were endangering us ! I have not personally
heard or read of any cases of the use of Ethanol, which is not found in Rubbing Alcohol, as promoting resistance in Bacteria ! Mostly rubbing Alcohol is Isopropyl Alcohol and some-
times partially Methanol! The only places I have heard or read of it's use is in Haiti and in the Palestinian 'Border Camps' and now in Syria. I too understand the problems of over
use of antibiotics, and the kinds of anti bacterial soap that leave a residue of long lasting/acting films directly on the skin - but my understanding was the use of anti bacterial soap
was a totally different issue from that of the use of ETOH in 'Hand Cleansers '!

For the Good of the Craft ! Think like Fire, Flo like Gas, Don't be the Marshmallow ! As always, your comments and questions are solicited and are Welcome Big AL !



Yeah, I was mixing up hand sanitizers and soap a little, Looking more seriously though, triclosan, the typical active ingredient in anti-bacterial soap, proabably dosn't promote resistance of bactera, though the idea has been floated often including in scinetific publications.

[quote=Antibacterial Cleaning Products
and Drug Resistance] http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/10/pdfs/04-1276.pdf
Currently, no evidence suggests that use of antibacteri-
al soap containing 0.2% triclosan provides a benefit over
plain soap in reducing bacterial counts and rate of infec-
tious symptoms in generally healthy persons in the house-
hold setting (4,5,15). Our 1-year randomized community
intervention study adds to these earlier findings by assess-
ing the potential risks associated with antibacterial product
use in the home. The results from our study do not impli-
cate use of antibacterial cleaning and hygiene products as
an influential factor in carriage of antimicrobial
drug–resistant bacteria on the hands of household mem-
bers. Although we did not observe a significant impact on
antimicrobial drug resistance during the 1-year period, a
longer duration and more extensive use of triclosan might
provide a suitable environment for emergence of antimi-
crobial drug–resistant species in the community setting.
Further surveillance for the effect of long-term use of anti-
bacterial cleaning and hygiene products on antimicrobial
drug resistance in the community is needed


Though, some http://www.tufts.edu/med/apua/practitioners/infection_control_11_3141468025.pdf that it's possible for bacteria to develop resistance, and most studies conclude there is no difference in effectiveness between anti-bacterial soap and the non-antibacterial sort, with other factors like duration of hand washing being far more important (I think that fact can allay fears based on the hygiene hypothesis to some degree as well)

There may be other reasons to avoid its use though

both health

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898873/, which is classified by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen. A study published in 2007 illustrated that, under some circumstances, triclosan triggered the production of chloroform in amounts up to 40% higher than background levels in chlorine-treated tap water.9 But another study published the same year showed no formation of detectable chloroform levels over a range of expected tooth-brushing durations among subjects using toothpaste with triclosan and normal chlorinated tap water.10

Studies also have yielded conflicting findings regarding links between triclosan and adverse health effects in animals. One study, for example, associated exposure to low levels of triclosan with disrupted thyroid hormone–associated gene expression in tadpoles, which encouraged them to prematurely change into frogs,11 while another linked triclosan exposure with reduced sperm production in male rats.12 In contrast, research published in February 2010 showed no effect of triclosan on the normal course of thyroid-mediated metamorphosis in bullfrog tadpoles at environmentally relevant concentrations.13



and http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2011/646750/, this last one actually bolstering the case for resistance to be a concern

Our results indicate that short-term exposure to triclosan has a negative impact on the culturable heterotrophic microbial community in soil. The reduced microbial diversity found in GWT-irrigated soils is likely to be the result of toxic effects of triclosan on specific microbial populations although the exact mechanism responsible for the observed change has not been determined. In addition to the possible direct impacts of triclosan as a biocide, interactions such as sorption, change in pH, and exchange of materials within the soil organic fraction, as well as interactions between microbial populations may have contributed to the observed inhibition and should be further explored. The similarity of diversity seen in the culturable heterotrophic community in the GWT-irrigated soils to diversity of the triclosan-resistant microbial groups may reflect a convergence of microbial population structures in response to the toxicity of triclosan. This reduced diversity may be associated with impairment or loss of microbially mediated processes essential to soil fertility.







So, in conclusion, the science of anti-bacterial soaps is in heavy flux, with lots of conflicting reports, but I'm much more concerned about it then I was half an hour ago.



 
Posts: 219
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I don't use any were close to as much water as my dish washer or as much electricity . plus I get them clean were the dish washer won't .
 
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1. Hand washing preferred. If a dishwasher is available I will use it as the drying rack. Also, unless I need something immediately, or need more space, everything air dries. Why get a towel all wet and take time to do it if it happens all by itself?

2. I DESPISE SPONGES!!! They just get nasty too quickly and can never truly be cleaned. Yes, they can be "sanitized" in a microwave, but I don't use one of those either. So I use wash cloths. Generally I use a new one for each meal's washing, but at least a new one each day. (I actually hate mops, too, of any kind. If my floor needs cleaning I'll get down on hands and knees with rags and a bucket of water - OR use the last of the dish water if it isn't really gross.)

3. I use only Dawn dish soap. I've never found anything else (except Costco Kirkland brand) that works as well. Cheaper stuff? You use 3x as much, so not really cheaper. More expensive stuff? You use 3x as much, so definitely not cheaper. More eco-friendly stuff? Doesn't work well so you use 3x as much again. Dawn is used to help de-grease birds and other creatures after an oil spill, so...

Something to think about when using a dishwasher: Dishwashers are supposed to clean your dishes without any pre-washing! Obviously you scrape off big chunks and bones, but sauces and small bits of food? Leave them be. The dishwasher detergent is designed to act on the food stuffs. If you've rinsed everything off, then it goes to work on the dishes themselves, which is a leading cause of etched/cloudy glassware.
 
Lynn Jacobs
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While doing the dishes I thought of some more points.

4. I have always washed the silverware and glasses first. They are usually least dirty (covered in food and/or grease) and by washing first they get tehh hottest, freshest dish water, which I think is important because those are the items that go into our mouths.

5. Having everyone wash their own dishes can work, but I think it uses far more soap and water, and definitely takes more time overall, IMO. Also, the stacking/placing of washed dishes into the drainer isn't as efficient as it could be. (And I'm all about efficiency ) I think having everyone pitch in to help is a wonderful idea, but with a crowd I would prefer to have 2 or 3 volunteers after each meal to assist with cleanup. Yes, each person should scrape their plate and stack it nicely beside the sink with silverware in a separate pile, but let one person handle the washing while another (others) puts away the food stuff and washes table and sweeps floor.

Too many cleaners in the kitchen is just as bad as too many cooks in the kitchen.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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For drying stuff, my other half made me one of these. All the drips go right back into the kitchen sink, no towels involved, and the plates are right there where you need them with no bending or struggling with doors.

 
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I know this is an old thread, but my two cents:
This is the first time I have had a dishwasher. I was highly skeptical, having been firmly in the 'dishwashers are a greenwash' camp. The house we bought had a brand new (well, less than a year-old) dishwasher in, and when we read the manual I was shocked to discover that the 'eco wash' only uses about 2 gallons of water. Then we have our interesting hot water arrangement - like the kitchen, all done by previous, not-eco-conscious owners and not what we'd have done. We have oil-fired central heating (used extremely sparingly) which is not properly hooked up to the hot water, so the hot water is heated with an electric imersion heater. This is also new and actually very efficient, for what it is. But because we do not bathe daily, we don't actually use the heater that often. If we turn the heater on for a few hours it heats the hot water tank very hot, and if the water isn't used then it stays hot for up to a week (super insulated). As you use the hot water, the tank refills with cold, so chills the remaining water unless you turn the heater on again.
We don't have full baths every day, the washing machine is cold-fill only, so we actually only heat the water a couple of times a week. Combined with the long pipe run to the kitchen, this means that to use hot water to wash dishes by hand actually ends up using a LOT more water and energy to heat it, than using the dishwasher.

All of that, combined further with 2 small kids and lots of visitors, means that we:

run the dishwasher every 2-3 days with plates, glasses, and cutlery

wash pots, knives, and our numerous wooden dishes by hand in a dishpan, if it's just a few things to wash up then I won't run the water to warm for minutes, wasting it - I just boil a little bit in the kettle (bottle gas in the summer, woodstove in the winter)


Like everything else, this is a complicated issue!
 
jimmy gallop
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Mrs. EdJacobs wrote:1. Hand washing preferred. If a dishwasher is available I will use it as the drying rack. Also, unless I need something immediately, or need more space, everything air dries. Why get a towel all wet and take time to do it if it happens all by itself?

2. I DESPISE SPONGES!!! They just get nasty too quickly and can never truly be cleaned. Yes, they can be "sanitized" in a microwave, but I don't use one of those either. So I use wash cloths. Generally I use a new one for each meal's washing, but at least a new one each day. (I actually hate mops, too, of any kind. If my floor needs cleaning I'll get down on hands and knees with rags and a bucket of water - OR use the last of the dish water if it isn't really gross.


I mop with a clean terri cloth towel I have just for that, just wet it like you want and put foot on each side go to it . A lot easier on my back




3. I use only Dawn dish soap. I've never found anything else (except Costco Kirkland brand) that works as well. Cheaper stuff? You use 3x as much, so not really cheaper. More expensive stuff? You use 3x as much, so definitely not cheaper. More eco-friendly stuff? Doesn't work well so you use 3x as much again. Dawn is used to help de-grease birds and other creatures after an oil spill, so...

Something to think about when using a dishwasher: Dishwashers are supposed to clean your dishes without any pre-washing! Obviously you scrape off big chunks and bones, but sauces and small bits of food? Leave them be. The dishwasher detergent is designed to act on the food stuffs. If you've rinsed everything off, then it goes to work on the dishes themselves, which is a leading cause of etched/cloudy glassware.

 
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I've never owned a dish washer but have seen plenty of them in action....you can have 'em. First, the wasted time and water to rinse the dishes BEFORE the actual washing? ReallY? They have every great technology known to man but a person has to pre-wash dishes before machine washing them? It makes no practical sense to me at all. Then, I've seen the dishes that come out of those machines and I'd not eat off one...the food residue left on the silverware and pans is gross.

We've always washed dishes in bleach water and so the issue of germs is a moot point, be they in the sponge, rag or on the dishes. The time it takes to do the dishes,one would have them done before the machine got up to a dull roar. Air dry vs. wasting electricity to dry dishes? That's a no brainer...that's the same as comparing machine clothes dryers to a clothesline. No contest.

They claim they use less water but if you add in the pre-rinse, the actual wash and the having to wash the dirty dishes left behind after the machine is done, it just all dissolves into the ridiculous, as do the claims that they make life easier and save time. Some advancements are not advancements at all, just clever marketing ploys that fool people into thinking that they have progressed past an outdated method of doing something...but when it comes to doing dishes, they get cleaner, use less energy, time and effort simply by doing it by hand. And the knowledge that they are indeed clean..well..that's priceless.

From where I'm sitting that Emperor isn't wearing a stitch of clothes...
 
S Carreg
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But definitely not all dishwashers require that. We scrape off large bits of food into the chicken bowl, just as we do before hand-washing, and that's it. No pre-rinsing or anything. The 'eco-wash' cycle take 45 minutes, uses 2 gallons of water, less water and energy than I'd need to wash in hot water by hand, and all the dishes are perfectly clean - even the ones coated in lard, non-rinsed smoothie cups coated in semi-dried yogurt, the whole lot. Only thing that hasn't gotten cleaned is stuff coated in beeswax, as that needs to be boiled (my partner didn't realize)
 
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Hi!, Paul, I wash dishes the very same way you do! until now, I believed that I might just be the only one in the world who washes that way...lol.
 
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This is sorta related as it is part of many "normal" folks dishwashing routine.
I saw this on the side of a garbage disposal unit on the construction site at work today. Talk about a load of greenwashed hooey. This triggered a lunchtime rant that my coworkers had to endure.
20150521_090236.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20150521_090236.jpg]
 
gardener
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Saw this because our two counter top dishwashers died. Looking to see if there's a better alternative. Got a few dry tracks. Put in sink. Filled with dishes. Sprayed with hit water. Sprinkled with baking soda. Squirted with vinegar water. Let set. Rinsed. 21/22 dishes done. With caked on oils, results are poorer, but then, they wouldn't come off in the dishwasher anyway.
 
Amit Enventres
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Pics.
IMG_20160124_215525925.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20160124_215525925.jpg]
IMG_20160124_220150821.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20160124_220150821.jpg]
 
Amit Enventres
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Upon further inspection, the next morning, it seems where the dusting of baking powder hit, oil residue was gone, but there was some oil residue on the bottom of the plates. I was also missing the sparkle I am used to seeing. Therefore, I will be trying to add a surfactant (i.e. soap) into the vinegar mixture to see if I can further attack the oils.

Dishwashers generally take the time to scrape/rinse, load and unload, wash the clingy debris, + repairs.
Hand washing is the whole dishwashing and putting away process, but minimal repairs.

Plus:
Dishwashers take up space other than the all-so-useful sink. They have significantly more space than the average dish rack.
Dishwashers require minimal skill compared to the elaborate techniques and hand-eye coordination (while holding a slipper object) required for hand washing.

My goal is to get hand wash=dishwasher in convenience.

If I can load dish racks, place them in the sink, dedicate about 5 minutes to washing, and then hang the rack in/on a shelf to dry, that reduces the process to approximately the conveniences I expect from a dishwasher.


 
Amit Enventres
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More experimentation on just about every dish I could get my hands on has led me to the following conclusions:
-do not spray vinegar with hot water. It vaporizes to your respiratory track.
-similarly, do not mix vinegar, baking soda, soap, and warm water - again, vapor to your respiratory track.
-baking soda let set for a while is a good sponge of oil, but will leave hard-water marks, so use selectively.
-I think a more directed spray would be better than a "mist".

The order I settled on so far is:
Hot rinse, short rest (like 3 minutes)
baking soda sprinkle, long rest (like 15 minutes)
Hot rinse
vinegar + soap spray, short rest
cold water rinse
hot water rinse
----
Total hands-on time, about 8 minutes. I owe the length partly to my awkward sink sprayer. The dish rack held about 4/5 of the mini-dishwasher I used prior. About 80% of the dishes were clean...not lustery, but clean.
I only had to touch the dishes to rotate or dump the cups and bowls, which is important since my hand dry out like crazy with soap. Because they were already in a dish rack, they only had to be loaded for washing and not also for drying (just like you'd expect for a dishwasher)

Given the dishwasher would require 1 prewash and loading, I'm guesstimating this takes 8 minutes more of my time per load than a dishwasher, when the dishwasher is working properly, and quite a bit shorter when the dishwasher fails.

Suggestions/comments...let me know.

I'd still like to get the time down further, but I think this a good start.

And of course, dish racks and spray bottle: $20, dishwasher: $300... etc. etc. w/electricity and water use.
 
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Its horses for courses really, some people really like the ease of a dishwasher and if you have a large family I completely understand that. I used to work in a big cafe/restaurant and we had an industrial dishwasher; everytime I opened that thing up there was still food encrusted on the plates and forks, often meaning I needed to use two or three cycles for a satisfactory wash; and cleaning out the thing was indescribably horrible. I'd therefore much prefer some hot suddy water and alot of elbow grease.
 
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I'm still wondering what people who hand wash do about all the rage that builds up. I have to make sure I wash dishes a few hours before bedtime so I can cool down enough to sleep.

And washing by hand is bad for your back, at least if you are taller than the average woman. This is because countertops are set at a height that is appropriate for the average woman, and are too low for a typical adult male. Being bent over like that is stressful on your back.

And are there techniques for dealing with the insanely retarded designs most sinks and faucets use? I'm longing for a farmers sink that is deep enough that when washing something I can have the entire item under the top of the sink so that splashing can be minimized. Also, I saw in a restaurant once a stainless steel sink where the sink was integrated into the countertop and backsplash so that any water splashed drains back into the sink - how in the hell is that not the way that every sink is designed? And when are faucet designers going to realize that there should be two controls, totally separated; one for controlling the temperature and one for controlling the flow amount, where changing one of them doesn't change the other. It is maddening that making the water warmer makes it flow faster, for example.

And how do you have the water hot enough to do a good job cleaning and sanitizing without getting severe burns on your hands?

To me, handwashing is acceptable only when there is no other choice. If it is at all possible then using a machine is the way to go.
 
M D Scott
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Its never actually bothered me, I can find it quite therapeutic in fact! Ironing is my bugbear.
 
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Most dish washers are actually just dish rinsers. The exception to this are the industrial ones found infomercial kitchens.
The ancient one in my church kitchen cleans all but the toughest stains in less than 4 minuets.
I will never install a dishwasher in my own home or business that can't live up to that standard.
Otoh, washing dishes by hand and cleaning my kitchen soothes me when every other part of life is out of control. Having one place where effort in means order out is sublime....
 
pollinator
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I thought people stopped ironing in the 50s.
I have seen far too many dishwashers that don't work well. If your car quits or starts running funny, most people will have it fixed. When dishwashers malfunction, many choose to ignore it. Dishes are run through, then those with baked on crap are hand washed or run through again. It's a perfect example of that saying about crazy. They do the same thing, and hope for a different result.

The combination of hand pre wash, shitty dishwasher wash and post wash is time consuming and a waste of energy.
 
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I had a lot to say on this and I needed it to be at the top of a new thread, so ....

https://permies.com/t/56138/energy/washing-dishes-hand-dishwasher-water#469655

 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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