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Casa Verde: Efficient Dishwashing by Hand

I've told you before that using an energy-efficient dishwasher is the best way to go when it comes to getting your dishes clean, but let's be realistic . . . we don't all have one and some of us just can't afford to buy one at the moment. There are some ways you can increase your efficiency at washing dishes by hand so you don't use more than a couple gallons of water, though.
To begin, put a stopper in your drain (not just the strainer). The easiest way to waste water is to leave the faucet running down the drain, so plugging the drains will create a pool of water you can use to soak your dishes. And even if the water is dirty, you can still use it on your thirsty plants. If you have a double sink, wash your dishes in one section filled with a couple gallons of water and then use the other one with hot water for rinsing. If you have a single sink, use some sort of basin or bucket for rinsing your dishes with hot water, so the dishes you're rinsing reuse the same water. But, before you wash, wait until all of your dishes have piled up; it conserves water to wash as many dishes as possible at once.
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