By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Which do you think is greener — washing your dishes by hand or with an automatic dishwasher?
I was surprised to learn from my online research that it is marginally better for your purse and the environment to wash your dishes with an automatic dishwasher than it is to wash them by hand.
I said “marginally” because there are a lot of variable factors involved in the final tallies, like whether or not you fill the dishwasher to capacity every load, how you heat your water, whether or not you rinse your dishes first, what kind of soap you use, how new and efficient the appliance is, how new and efficient you are;> etc. etc.
Given that I don’t have a dishwasher appliance in my home, I have to wash dishes the old fashioned way. It says “Chief, Cook and Bottle Washer” on my business card, by the way. Of course if I had the option, I would choose to use an automatic dishwasher in my quest to live a greener life but hand-washing dishes has its benefits too.
In defense of hand washing dishes
Communication — Back in the days when I was living in my first apartment on Piccadilly Street, one my friends mentioned a study that she had read that talked about washing dishes. She said that the study concluded that if two people, like say a mother and a daughter or a husband and a wife, were having a hard time getting along or if there was a difficult subject that needed discussing, washing dishes together was a good way to get the conversation going. Sometimes it’s hard to look someone square in the eye and tell them what you really think and feel. If you’re busy doing a mindless task and so is the other person and are not posed in a confrontational stance and neither is the other person, and you’re working to achieve a common goal like cleaning the kitchen, it sets the stage for lots of deep and interesting talks.
You’re soaking in it — Remember good ol’ Madge, the manicurist, from the Palmolive commercial? (I believe that’s an almost empty bottle of Palmolive on the window sill in the above picture). Washing dishes by hand is a great home spa trick. It’s like a bubble bath for your hands! If you don’t have the time or money to go and get your nails done on a regular basis, try adding a little home spa treatment into your daily routine. Think of washing dishes as “me time.” Let your mind wander as you go about your tasks. Appreciate the quiet time. Play with the soapy water. Afterwards, grab yourself a cup of tea and give yourself a manicure — more on that at a later post.
Aromatherapy — I can’t say I’m entirely convinced about this one but I did buy my latest bottle of Dawn botanicals dishwashing liquid because it said “soothing relaxant” on the label and because the colour was purple.
One more chance to wash your hands — There has been a lot of talk about washing your hands often to reduce your chances of catching the flu and getting sick. I think I have managed to dodge the H1N1 Swine Flu bullet this year because I hand wash my dishes and therefore wash my hands daily. Something to think about.
Sense of Accomplishment — After a little elbow grease, it’s a nice feeling to see a clean and tidy kitchen. There is a rich reward in getting the job done with your own two hands.
Over to you — Do you wash your dishes by hand or appliance? Which do you think is better? Feel free to comment.