Washing Dishes with Hand Wash Save Water
When I meet someone who claims to prefer hand washing their dishes rather than putting them in the dishwasher—even if they have a dishwasher—I roll my eyes. Let me tell you why.
If your dishwasher was built in the last ten years or so and has the Energy Star rating on it… Let me tell you a few things. The first thing to consider is that your dishwasher will clean your dishes much more quickly and efficiently than you could if you were to hand-wash them. “Oh, I only have a few plates; I can just quickly hand-wash them and be done with it,” you may say. If you put a half-load of dishes in the machine and run it through, you will save a lot of water compared to handwashing those same plates.
According to the EPA, washing dishes by hand saves 5,000 gallons of water each year (and 230 hours of personal time). A word about using a dishwasher: its wash cycles can reach temperatures hot enough to sanitize. Even if you wear gloves and crank up the heat as high as possible, you won’t be able to achieve a temperature hot enough to sterilize with handwashing something.
Cleaning with Sponges
In the past, you’ve heard me discuss various methods to clean your sponge, and if you look it up online, you’ll find a variety of options that claim to destroy germs that remain in the average sponge, including:
- A sponge can be boiled;
- Place them in the dishwasher.
- Microwave it in a large bowl of water.
But, first, let’s look at the most common method for keeping your toilet clean and sanitary: cleaning it with a cloth or sponge. Well, according to a recent study I’ve come across, these solutions are completely disregarded—all of them! Essentially, you may use a sponge to apply any of these sanitization processes, but you’ll only kill 60% of the germs inside. Consider how a sponge is structured: it’s made up of many tiny holes. It’s very easy for germs to burrow their way into there and never emerge again.
The conclusion of this study was that we need to change our sponges every week (all else being equal). I’m not a waste proponent, and I’m not one for dumping stuff, but after reading this research and learning about how clogged with germs sponges are—and, in some cases, containing harmful types of bacteria like staph, coliform, E. coli, mold, and yeast—you don’t want anything like that hanging out in your kitchen. So let’s summarize: take that sponge and replace it on a weekly basis.
You can’t use a real feather duster to clean. The last time they were relevant was in Beauty and the Beast. Aside from that, feather dusters aren’t the most efficient cleaning method. Feather dusting was still a thing when I first launched my cleaning service in 2006, and I was doing initial research on the best cleaning techniques available (before I knew about microfiber cloths). So, I went to the janitorial supply store and bought a professional ostrich feather duster. While it worked adequately, I noticed that it also produced a lot of dust in the air, implying more work later on as all of that dirt would ultimately settle on the floor. Using something more contemporary like a high-quality microfiber cloth, which captures dust and keeps it inside, is a far better option than using a feather duster. So, if someone says they’re using a feather duster, suggest microfiber instead as a solution.
Unscented vs Fragrance-Free
For those of you who are concerned about odors or fragrances in products, I understand. You may have allergies, get migraines or other types of headaches, or simply not appreciate the fragrance. When the word fragrance-free and unscented appears before a product name, I urge you to remember that they aren’t synonymous—they don’t mean the same thing. Unless otherwise noted, unscented products are those that have been fragranced to conceal the smell of the product’s basic components. Even though you don’t detect anything, keep in mind that the company used chemicals to eliminate any smell. A fragrance-free product, on the other hand, has not had anything added to it. The product may have an odor if it contains the unmasked base ingredients; this is what you’re smelling.
When I was younger, I used to believe that every time I recycled something, I was doing a wonderful thing for the environment. The reality is that things aren’t quite as they appear when it comes to recycling. You don’t have to dispose of an object in order for it to end up in a landfill just because you put it in the recycling bin. There are several serious issues surrounding recycling in the United States at present, particularly throughout parts of China due to recent policy adjustments. At the moment, we have an out-of-control supply of recycled materials with no ultimate use.
As a result, there is a lot of recyclable stuff ending up in landfills these days. This is why so many businesses are searching for alternatives; whether it’s higher-quality reusable packaging (circular economy), or most importantly, reducing, rejecting, and recycling before garbage disposal. The day is approaching when we will be informed that we can no longer recycle things because there will be no more space for them! So, keep in mind that the greatest thing you can do for the environment is to find alternatives to waste rather than recycling.