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My apartment didn’t come with a dishwasher. It was something I wanted, but when the availability opened on this place, I had to jump on it. It was a commute to work thing. This was the easiest way to go.

My apartment, however, did come with a water bill. Every single month. I do have to take a shower everyday, but I also have to wash my dishes, silverware, pots, and pans by hand after each meal.

With the holidays approaching faster and faster, it was time to tighten the wallet where I could.

So, I looked into ways to save on things around the house. I can’t get rid of my internet. If I did, then this would be difficult to write right now (haha) and also difficult to have done the research I did. I did cut back on my cable bill which made sense. How often did I watch television versus watching something online? Saving on lights wasn’t too much of an issue. The windows let plenty of daylight in, and because of the open concept I didn’t need many lights on at night.

Next up, is this water issue. Doing Dishes. I didn’t give it too much thought in the days of having a dishwasher, but now that I am the labor, this crosses my mind with every dish. Missing the good ol’ days of my mom yelling at me to rinse the dish before putting it in the dishwasher; my argument back being “that’s what dishwashers are for”. Not the case, but everyone has had to think that at some point.

Anyway, I started to look at my routine. First, I rinse the dish, and then put it back in the sink to wash later. Yeah, I know, that makes no sense. It’s like vacuuming and moving over something that is on the floor and vacuum didn’t catch it, so you try again. This time it doesn’t catch it again, so you pick up the item, examine it, then toss it back on the floor to try again. IT WAS JUST IN YOUR HAND! YOU COULD HAVE THROWN IT AWAY!

THIS MAKES NO SENSE! Why didn’t I just wash the dish? This is why I waste money.

After examining my habits, I turned to the internet, to find some solution, besides just wash the dish while it’s in my hands, and my results were surprisingly easy and made sense. And the best ones all had an eco-friendly staple attached to them. The great thing I learned upon reading about eco-friendly ways of doing stuff is, most natural solutions are relatively inexpensive.

It started with “rain water”. Take a bucket. Put it outside. Wait for it to rain. Let it accumulate. Okay, I can completely understand “it’s inexpensive” side of it, well because IT’S FREE. The problem is I don’t have an outside to put this bucket. I live in a downtown apartment. My outside is everyone in the city’s outside as well. But, I do like the conserve water/bucket thing.

That’s when it hit me. Where do I waste most my water, isn’t always in the kitchen sink, it is also in the shower. I turn the shower faucet on, let it run until it is warm, then turn on the nozzle and take a shower. How much water do I waste when I turn on my shower waiting for it to just warm up? Well, luckily I own a bucket, so it should be easy to find out.

If I plug my sink, and use this water to fill it part way then at least that’s a start. I can then use this water to wash my dishes as much as possible. I just have to make sure my sink is clean.

I took the best ideas I learned and developed the following plan:

FIRST STEP:

A LEMON, SALT, and a CLOTH.

I learned if you cut a lemon into quarters, you can use them like small damp sponges.

  • Wipe down the kitchen sink with one to two lemon wedges. When done with each one, put them aside. You can use them later.
  • Sprinkle some salt on the lemon wedge for a second round of wiping.
  • Then use a cloth to wipe the interior of the sink clean. I took an old towel and cut it into squares and now I have plenty of dish cloths. Beats the cost of paper towels that I just threw away.

Total Cost: $1. I already had the salt and the towel. I just needed a lemon. Salt is cheap, so if needed, this could cost less than 2 dollars.

Bonus: I learned that you take the leftover used lemons, put them down the garbage disposal with a few ice cubes, and you can clean your garbage disposal, all while also sharpening the blades. Who knew?

SECOND STEP:

A LEMON

Instead of rinsing my dirty dishes.

  • Wipe the food debris remaining on the dish into the disposal, using the leftover lemon wedges to clean off the dishes.
  • Add them to the disposal as well, once again with a few ice cubes.

My dishes were now rinsed. The total water I had used to clean these dishes so far is zero.

Total Cost: Free. The lemon used earlier is still being used.

Bonus: Still recycling that lemon.

THIRD STEP:

DO THE DISHES

  • Plug the sink.
  • Place the dishes in the sink.
  • Add the bucket of water.

I let the dishes sit there for a few minutes.

ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR

Instead of dish soap, distilled white vinegar will sanitize the water and the dishes.

  • Use a cloth to wipe the dishes clean.

Total Cost: $2-4 The distilled white vinegar can be found on any cooking aisle. It ranges in brand and size.

THAT’S IT! Let the dishes dry and unplug the sink.

My bill did go down. I mean I can’t retire from the savings, but the funny thing if you compared my bill now to my bill then, then all my ingredients needed to do this actually makes it so the total cost actually is FREE! The lemons and distilled white vinegar pretty much are paid for with the money saved by conserving unused water from my shower.

It sounds like a lot, but once fitted into my routine, it was easy. If you are missing a dishwasher, hopefully this will help you too.

 

 

 

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3806 Porter ST NW, Unit 202 DC, Washington 20016
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