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Guide To Eco Friendly Dishwashing

31 Day Zero Waste Challenge

Last Updated on August 23, 2022

Challenge yourself to change the way you think about eco friendly dishwashing! It’s entirely possible to wash dishes without wasting as much water and using zero waste dish soap.

We will dive into washing dishes with eco friendly dish soap as well as discuss which is better, handwashing or using a dishwasher. Eco friendly dishwashing is possible and should be something you make a priority.

eco friendly dishwashing tips

eco friendly dishwashing

You know, when you switch to a zero waste lifestyle, you use all real stuff – like what we talked about in day 6 of the zero waste challenge.

This can mean a lot of dishes. But, when it comes to washing dishes, can you make that zero waste or more eco-friendly?

You sure can! And, today, I’m challenging you to begin washing your dishes the zero waste way!

It’s day twenty of the zero waste challenge! We’re basically a third of the way through, and we’ll be transitioning to some more advanced stuff next week.

The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

The second phase of the challenge is focused on lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.

Today we’re talking about another lifestyle change – washing dishes!

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

The biggest problems when it comes to washing dishes are wasting water, sponges being nasty, and, of course, washing dishes with disposable products instead of eco friendly dish soap and products.

A lot of people ask me if it’s more eco-friendly to toss a plate than it is to actually wash one.

But, that fails to account for the water used in manufacturing the paper products.

Paper products are notoriously thirsty, so it’s always better to spend time washing dishes and reusing them over and over again.

the solution:

Let’s get straight into all of the solutions to turn washing dishes into a green, clean machine!

And, don’t forget to check out day 9 of the zero waste challenge: zero waste cleaning! I share all of my favorite zero waste cleaning recipes.

zero waste dish soap:

When choosing a zero waste dish soap, you want to make sure that you’re opting for a biodegradable soap!

The problem with conventional soaps is they can contain toxic chemicals that can harm our health and marine life.

When our water is treated, it’s difficult to remove all of the toxins, so by opting for a biodegradable eco friendly dish soap, you won’t have to worry about it.

what ingredients should I avoid when buying eco friendly dish soap?

The ingredients that I would actively avoid would be fragrance, colorant, chlorine, formaldehyde, and ammonia.

When our dishes are washed (especially in a dishwasher!), these ingredients can linger on our dishes.

For instance, Cascade, the most popular brand of dishwashing detergent, contains bleach.

I personally really wouldn’t want that hanging around on my dishes or drinking glasses….

best zero waste dish soap options

You can, of course, go the DIY route with ingredients that are easy to find in bulk.

Both of my recipes for hand washing dishes and dishwasher powder can be found in my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste!

The hand washing recipe is one of my particular faves!

You can also buy it in bulk from your local co-op or health food store or check out Fillaree or try to opt for dishwashing detergent that comes in a cardboard box like 7th Gen, Ecover, or Ecos.

zero waste dish soap

frequently asked questions

how do you recycle a dishwashing detergent box?

When it comes to recycling the box, make sure you break the box down.

Remove the metal spigot if it has one, and then tap any excess powder out. You want to make sure the box is completely clean and then recycle it.

what kind of sponges do I need?

There are so many options to replace sponges these days. The main thing I look for is compostability; as a bonus, many of the scrub brushes last on average an entire year.

This adds up to massive savings! I’ve listed a few of my favorites below, as well as some new ones to me.

Several of the links are affiliate links for more information; please see my disclosure policy. My favorites are listed in bold.

does an eco friendly dishwasher save water?

YES! Using an eco friendly dishwasher will help you save water. You may not realize it, but when it comes to saving water, running a full energy eco friendly dishwasher is more environmentally friendly than washing by hand. You can read more in this Guardian Article.

The average faucet flows at 2.2 gallons of water a minute, and on average, energy star rated washing machines use 3-5 gallons of water total to wash an entire load of dishes.

But, I have lived without a dishwasher for the majority of my life, so understand that’s not an option for everyone.

My recommendation is to put a little bit of water in the base of the sink and to get everything super soapy.

Then, after everything has been prepped, just use running water to rinse. And, don’t turn the faucet on full blast! Just use enough to rinse the dishes clean.

take the challenge:

I challenge you to use up all of your current dishwashing materials and then switch over to eco friendly dishwashing scrubbers and biodegradable dish soap.

Switch to machine dishwashing if you have one and haven’t been using it, or start turning the faucet off while you’re hand washing. This will save water and, of course, factor into day 11 to conserve resources as well.

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!?

Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook which is all about individual ways to fight climate change.

You don’t want to miss it.

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  1. Hello, thanks for the tips.

    I just wanted to say that none of the dish soaps comes in cardboard; inside them are plastic, it is just a cover.