Reduce Dishwashing Water Use with Three Sinks or Tubs

Dishwashers use from 9 to 16 gallons of (very) hot water. You can wash your dishes using three sinks/tubs and 3 to 5 gallons of water.

Put a gallon or two of warm to hot water and dishsoap in one sink or dish tub. Let all the non-greasy dishes soak a minute, like glasses and silver. Put another gallon of warm to cool water in another sink or tub and also a third tub.


Wash the first "load" and put aside. Put the next batch of dishes, plates and bowls into soapy water. Rinse the glasses, etc. in the first rinse tub and then the second. Continue to wash the rest of your dishes and pots that way. You can add white vinegar to the first rinse for more cleaning and disinfecting power.

Avoid having super greasy dishes by taking care of your health (eat less greasy food). Also, if you've washed dirty dishes in warm to hot water, you don't need hot water to rinse. If you towel dry your dishes, you remove any last bits of clinging stuff. We use our dishwasher as a dish drainer to save counter space. And I simply got rid of many of our extra dishes and glasses so I didn't find a big pile at the sink at the end of the day. Now we quickly rinse and reuse our drinking glass.

This three-sink method is what must be used by commercial enterprises, and it's how I learned to do dishes when I lived in Alaska and didn't have running water. When you haul your water in from the well by hand, you learn to conserve!


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