I’ve been reconsidering my dish washing routine. Although I have a dishwasher, I use it only about once every two weeks, as I prefer to wash dishes by hand. I know that some argue that dishwashers use less water, but this does not apply to the way I hand wash dishes.
Rather than fill my kitchen sink with water, I use a dish washing tub. This method isn’t very common in Canada, but I grew up using one. A tub is designed to be the size of a dinner plate, so you use a lot less water. I also never use running water to wish dishes, as this wastes a lot of water. I use the tub featured below:
I’ve decided to go back to using a bar of soap to wash dishes with, as I have done in the past. I recently switched to liquid dish soap, as I found two stores in town where I could buy this soap in bulk, using my own container. Although liquid dish soap is certainly more convenient, I did find that I was going through it more quickly than was the case with bar soap. I’m concerned as well that liquid soap requires more water to produce, and is still transported in plastic containers.
So, I’m back to using bar soap. My preferred soap is a 1 kg bar of Savon de Marseille, which I buy from a company in Quebec. This bar lasts a very long time, is much more economical than liquid dish soap, and does not require plastic or as much water. Using bar soap for dishes has recently become more popular mostly, I think, because of the Vegan Dish Washing Block produced by No Tox Life, which is making the rounds in many zero waste communities and shops.
The Dish Washing Block works well, although I find my Savon de Marseille to be more budget friendly, as you get a larger bar of soap for about the same price, and does not leave the same soap residue as the Block. Another household bar soap that I’ve used is made by the Montreal company Faveur.
As you can see from the image on the top of the page, I use a wooden brush that I wet, then swipe along the surface of the soap. It’s then a simple matter of using the brush to clean the dishes. Bar soap can be used as well to clean counters; you simply pass a wet cloth across the soap and wipe the counters. This can leave some soap residue, which is why I prefer to grate a little of the soap and mix it with hot water in a spray bottle. I use this solution to clean all surfaces, including the toilet. For floors, I use a combination of household-cleaning strength vinegar (which I buy in bulk in my own container) combined with water. I sometimes suffer from the magpie effect when new products become available, but I usually find that the old methods often worked better.