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I’m probably not the first person to confess to thinking amorously of my dishwasher. It’s just such a noble appliance. The scrubbing. The sudsing. The rinsing. Just open the door, and slide out beautiful, sparkling clean dishes. A puff of steam– magic!– and all the gunk is gone. Were I a government policy-maker, I would declare a National Dishwasher Day. My love is deep.

Because of my devotion, I’ve compiled a list of tips to maximize dishwasher efficiency, ways to ensure those dishes always slide out sparkling.

dishwasher tips

1. Fill ‘er Up I can’t claim the high ground in this department. It’s my husband who turns filling the dishwasher into a crusty game of Tetris, stacking and maneuvering to fit in as much stuff as possible. The man is gifted. An average-sized dishwasher was designed to hold at least eight place-settings’ worth of dishes, so keep that in mind when you load it.

2. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Or just employ the dog. When it comes to money, energy, time, and resources, a dishwasher trumps hand-washing in every case except one: pre-rinsing. If you’re pre-rinsing the dishes, you’re canceling out the water saving properties of your washer. A thorough scraping over the compost pail, or enlistment of the family dog, is a much more eco-friendly way to remove cursory crud.

3. Skip the dry cycle. In most modern dishwashers, the dry cycle is a completely unnecessary step. When the dishes are done washing, they’re super-heated and steamy. Drop open the dishwasher door, and all that steam just evaporates. It’s when the door is left closed that the steam cools, condenses, and makes puddles– which is where the dry cycle comes in. Sticking around till the end of the wash cycle and simply throwing open the door when it’s time is a much greener way to go. And think about it: all that steam will add some welcome humidity to the dry winter air, and your houseplants will love it.

4. Get self-reliant and make your own detergent. That’s right, make your own detergent. Several months ago we made a video that shows you how. The best part? It’s totally easy, cheap, and 100% phosphate-free. If you can make Kool-Aid, you can make your own dishwasher detergent.

5. Rinse with vinegar. Use a rinse aid? Ditch it in favor of plain white vinegar. Keep a gallon jug under the sink for an oh-so-thrifty and sustainable alternative.

When it’s time to buy, here’s some pointers:

Energy Star all the way. Energy Star dishwashers are super high-tech, in some cases using less water per load of dishes than the average toilet uses per flush. Is that not cool? If you dishwasher is older than 1994, it’s definitely, definitely time for a new one.

Pick a dishwasher that heats its own water. That way, the dishwasher will only heat the water it uses for the wash load. Pretty neat.

For a terrific eco-friendly, long-lasting alternative to a basic dishwashing sponge, check out our very own Skoy Cloth eco-washer.

With these dishwasher tips, you should be on your way to saving tons of water, energy, money and resources in next to no time!

Related Articles:

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Save Water With a Dual-flush Adapter

Home Water Conservation

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