Greening Our Habits: Making the Dishwasher Eco-Friendlier

Greening Our Habits: Making the Dishwasher Eco-Friendlier

Amber Byfield
Sep 5, 2008

9-05-08_dishwasher.jpgAround our house, we have a new motto about habits: If you can't beat 'em, green 'em. We're working on our dishwasher habit right now, and we could use some tips. Jump below to find out why.

We can dirty up a full dishwasher's worth of dishes in no timeā€”not because there's an army to feed (there are only two of us), but because one of us (that'd be me) doesn't know yet how to put together an efficiently-prepared meal. I've been combating this deficiency by watching lots of cooking shows.

In the meantime, we're running the dishwasher about two times a week. It's not one of those super-efficient European ones that we've touted here on Re-Nest, but it does sport the Energy Star label. And we've come up with a few more ways to lessen its footprint.

First, we use a more-planet-friendly-than-not detergent. We like Seventh Generation Free & Clear dishwasher detergent (the powdered kind, even though there are two ingredients that the company has recently found are not natural. We're hoping they replace the petroleum-based polymer soon, but we may try to find a truly all-natural detergent before then.

Second, we run it on the shortest wash possible. No more "heavy pots and pans" cycle or pre-rinse. And finally, we let the dishes air dry.

We're planning on moving more toward a two-sink hand wash system and using the dishwasher once a week or less, as soon as I learn how to dirty less than twelve dishes to cook a meal. Any tips?

What do you do to lesson the ecological impact of washing dishes?

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