Monday, November 18, 2013

The right way to do dishes

Yes, I know this showcases my insane need to control things - but as far as this house goes there is a wrong and right way to do dishes.  I talk to my children about their responsibility to the Earth and being  a mindful consumer.  Whether or not you believe in global warming, there is nothing wrong with teaching your children to use things responsibly - water included.  I teach my family that being grateful for clean water means using it with respect.

World Vision reports that Nearly 2,000 children under age 5 die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and spread by lack of basic sanitation and hygiene. This is more than HIV and malaria combined.    

When people visit my house and clean the dishes after a meal, I usually grit my teeth and accept that they are trying to help - letting their kindness override the fact that they are running water, running water, running water.  If you care about conservation, or even just your water bill - here's how we do things around here.


Starting with a full sink, the dishes get scrubbed and set aside in the empty sink.  We have a utensil caddy we use to hold all the soapy utensils in the empty sink as well.  We are lucky enough to have a double sink.  If you don't have one, just use the counter for the soapy dishes.  When the sink that was full of dishes is empty, use the scrubby/sponge to clean the sink out.  Cleaning the sink after every round of dishes is important!  Rinse it and put the stopper back in.


All ready for part two.


Start by rinsing utensils and glasses/mugs.  Rinsing with hot water is key to clean dishes, so if your young'uns can't handle it, pick up some rubber gloves.   Once cups and utensils are rinsed, there is enough water in the sink to dip and rinse the plates and bowls.  Leave the rinse water in the sink.

This little man gets 25c for every chore he does around the house.  I'd say this was 25c well earned.

The sink has hot clean water for the next round of dishes to go in and barely any water was used.  



Other ways to teach your children to conserve:
- Use newspaper to clean windows and mirrors.  They will love the black ink that transfers to their hands
- Use cloths instead of paper towel.  We only use paper towel (recycled) for cleaning the toilet and everything else is a cleaning cloth that gets reused again and again
- Remind little ones water isn't for their amusement.  If you have a water lover, fill the bathroom sink once and let them slosh toys around in it.  When it's gone it's gone.  
- When washing hands and brushing teeth, the water only comes on at the beginning and the end - not the whole way through!
- Lights come on when it's dark only.  If someone isn't in the room, the light is off.  Most of my kids freak out when they find someone has left a light on in an unoccupied room. Brainwashed, haha.
- Talk about packaging.  Do we really need cookies that come in a box, and then are packaged again?  I can't believe how many things are individually wrapped, and then boxed/wrapped again.  Just make a batch of granola bars or cookies at home and save all the garbage!  
- Aim for a litterless lunch.  Fruits, veggies and sandwiches don't need packaging if you're sending tupperware.  The prepackaged stuff is usually junk, so try filling lunches with food that doesn't create garbage.  
- Compost.  Whether or not you have a garden to use it on, composting is a great way to eliminate sending things to a landfill.  My kids love collecting worms and putting them in the compost to "live a happy life".  

Taking steps to reduce the size of your environmental footprint isn't as taxing as it may seem.  Start small and slowly add to the positive steps you've taken.  If you already implement a lot of environmentally friendly practices, remember we can always improve.  Garbage and waste may seem like an insurmountable problem, but all we can do is be the change we want to see.  
You could also write a preachy blog about how to do dishes properly.  Haha.

1 comment:

  1. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20559312,00.html Check out this family!
    Great post, also, I know the water runner guest in your house is me....haha, oh man.

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