Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Kitchen Clean-up

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Which came first... the chicken or the egg? I'm pretty sure it was the chicken, but when it comes to the smartest, most eco-friendly way to clean the kitchen - I'm stumped. Dishwasher vs. hand washing. Dish scrubby vs. dish rag (never sponge. never.). Dishcloth vs. paper towels. I mean, which is the lesser of the environmental evils - water consumption or waste?

handwash or machine (source unknown)
Seriously, it's mind boggling isn't it? And I didn't even get into detergents, soaps, chemicals, etc. My head just might explode. Not really, but it is a lot to think about isn't it? Especially when we want to leave a better world to our kiddos. Which side of the fence do you sit on? xo


  1. When our dishwasher became inoperable beyond repair, I decided to handwash and see how things went. I have a family of three children. Never will I return to the dishwasher! I had become conditioned into thinking I would not cope without one, but realised that I was handwashing a sinkful anyway, as well as loading the dishwasher. Now my dishes are always stocked in the cupboard and airdry in the rack overnight. The bonus was, after I removed the old unit, I painted the space and inserted a basket shelving system (Antonius from IKEA) and made a curtain to cover the area. The baskets are full of my stockpile supermarket specials! Life after the dishwasher is definitley a good one! cheers Judith

    1. Judith! Wow. thanks so much for sharing. very cool and inspiring. I too do a load in the sink while washing a load in the machine. Why do we do that? Hmmm... xo

  2. we want to be "green", but also save green...but for us saving money comes first. so we use a dishcloth and un-paper towels (bought them on etsy. they fit on a paper towel holder and snap together, but are cloth and can be washed and re-used one bazillion times). i never can decide about hand washing vs. dishwasher though! so for now we use the dishwasher but hand wash those things like wood cutting boards and good knives and all. would love to know the final verdict on this one!

  3. I make my own laundry soap.. I prefer sponges But they are constantly washed and I prefer the DW nice hot water and then they dry with out setting out on the counter to dry. I do hand wash pans and sharp knives.... I cut up old bath towels for cleaning and also use dol towels for waxing the car. Make more sense to use a towel for cleaning up a mess and washing it then wasting money on paper towels. I have a bucket next to the washing machine with the word RAGS........

  4. Hello Brooke,

    I just found your site and like your ideas. I'm hooked :-)
    Since I'm a "greenie" myself, from what I read the dishwasher is the better choice, economically and enviromentally speaking (even the old one's), if you load them properly (not let them run half full) and if (this pretty much defines the break even) you don't prewash your dishes. Toss any leftovers and crumbs and let your machine do the rest. We wash our wodden cutting boards, our good knives by hand and if a pan gets sticky, we let it sit overnight with baking soda and as little water as necessary.
    I've also switched to economical soaps and detergents, because we have allergies (but they're cheaper also). Sorry, if I don't give any names, I do not live in the States, so I guess, it wouldn't hep. Maybe soap nuts are an alternative, if nobody in your household is sensitive to nuts.
    I prefer paper towels, because the downside of eco-friendly detergent is, that it won't get out all the staines and whites will become gray pretty soon.
    For cleaning I use microfiber cloths for pretty much everything (I read those new-ish microfiber fabrics are made out of recycled plastic bottles, so I'm alright with buying them). They do a pretty good job already and do not need alot of chemicals - and they're washable of course.

    There is a lady on youtube, her channel is called "Clean My Space" and she only uses a handful of simple items (i.e. baking soda, white vinegar, dish washing soap etc.) to clean up the whole house in a eco-friendly way. Here is a video of how to make your own cleaning products:

    Enjoy! :-)


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