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CHALLENGE DAY 19

Today’s challenge is about your dishwasher!*

When was the last time you really thought about how your dishes are cleaned by that machine?  It’s not a riveting topic, but have you found yourself mumbling as you unload your dishwasher something like “THAT didn’t come clean” and fling it in the sink for further scrubbing?

HOW we load our dishwasher makes a big difference in how many dishes we can fit in there and how clean they come out upon unloading.  I jam pack my dishwasher and 95% of the time the dishes come out sparkling clean.  My secret?  I read my dishwasher user manual.  Also, you can help your machine do its very best job when you be sure to rinse off STARCH (rice, bread, pasta, etc.), EGG and BIG CHUNKS.  There is no need to obsessively rinse the dishes as that just wastes water and energy.  A quick scrape of the plate or bowl ought to do it.

Which dish-washing detergent you use can make a difference as well.  I recommend using PODS because they are measured doses and therefore less wasteful.

Here are some eco-friendly brands I’ve personally tested that work well:

Trader Joe’s PODS (not the other powder in the green box**)

Ecover Pods

Seventh Generation Pods

Nice! Dishwasher Packs

My favorite web site for evaluating products is ewg.org.  Here are their “A” rated products:

EWG.org’s Web Site for Dishwashing Detergent

Also, doing a regular quick scrub of the filter helps keep trapped bits from clogging up the drain and helps the dishes get cleaner more efficiently.  This is not something you have to do each load (like removing lint from your dryer), but a once monthly clean-up helps.

How you load your dishwasher will depend on your machine; but, generally speaking, drinking glasses, plastic containers and smaller, loose items (like lids, knives, long spoons, etc). do best on the top rack.  Then, plates, bowls, casserole dishes and cutlery do better on the bottom.  Because they get sprayed from both sides, they come cleaner down there.

Rather than just run it, run the hot water in the kitchen sink and turn on the garbage disposal (if you have one) to clear it.  Then, once hot, turn the water and disposer off and then start the dishwasher. This helps use less electricity as the machine doesn’t have to do the initial heating.  (a little trick a plumber taught me after replacing our garbage disposal).  This also clears the line so you don’t end up with gunk in the washer while it’s working on cleaning the dishes.

*If you hand wash dishes

or have already read your dishwasher’s user manual,

this challenge does not apply to you.

Feel free to do one of the Optional Challenges!


For more reading on this, you can read my blog post on the topic here: https://sustainablethree.com/2018/02/15/to-dishwasher-or-not/

Also, it’s a good idea to make sure you are using a high-efficiency dishwasher for energy savings!

Find out if your dishwasher is energy efficient

**Despite their “Next to Godliness” labeling, many of Trader Joe’s cleaning products actually get “D’s” and “F’s” on EWG.org’s web site:

Not so “Godly” Trader Joe’s Cleaners

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CHALLENGE DAY 13

Turn off the Tap!

Thousands of gallons of water are wasted each year because people leave the tap running while doing water-related activities.

The average American household uses 400 gallons of water per day!

Today’s challenge is to turn off the tap while you…

  • Brush your teeth
  • Wash your hands (similar to the combat shower – turn the tap on, get hands wet, turn the tap off, soap up (lathering to the “A,B,C song” if that’s the way you roll), turn the tap back on, rinse, turn the tap off)
  • Washing dishes
  • While shaving
  • While shaving legs in the shower
  • Any time you are not actively using the water

It’s that simple.

Here are some water saving resources:

See Rob’s blog about water-saving sprinklers

https://www.care2.com/greenliving/20-ways-to-conserve-water-at-home.html

https://www.wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve

https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/45-ways-to-conserve-water-in-the-home-and-yard/

https://www.care2.com/greenliving/20-ways-to-conserve-water-at-home.html

And a bunch more resources here:

More resources to help save water…

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CHALLENGE DAY 8

Try a “Combat Shower”!

Showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).

Today’s challenge is to start taking “Combat Showers” when you shower.  Here’s how….

Combat Shower Directions

Get in

Turn on the water

Get wet

Turn off the water

Get soapy – head to toe

Turn on the water

Get rinsed

Turn off the water

Get out

 

“That is all [for today]…DISMISSED!”

Turning off the water while you get soapy (and shave) saves thousands of gallons a year!

If it takes a while for hot water to reach the tap, you can collect the water in a bucket in the shower and then pour it on plants adding to your water saving.

For a more detailed description, look here:

How to Take a Navy Shower

Here are some more ways you can save water in the shower:

Use Water Saving Shower Heads

Calculate Your Water Usage!

 

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