As promised, here's my no-holds-or-pictures-barred view of how to wash dishes in a water shortage. Read at your own risk!
As Mark pointed out in response to my last post, the best way to save water while washing dishes is to own a dishwasher. However, I don't... as I'm reminded daily when I walk into the kitchen hoping the dishes will have magically washed themselves.
Back in the US, I'd wash dishes with a soapy sponge and a stream of hot water running constantly. To me now, that seems almost like, oh, barbecuing by feeding my grill a constant stream of dollar bills. Here in Israel, I've learned to wash dishes the the minimum of water running. There are some more complicated techniques than this: I've heard of people rotating three bins of water of various degrees of cleanliness, so that they first scrub in water that has been used twice, then rinse in water that has been used once, then rinse in water that was freshly poured that day. Then they throw out the dirtiest bin, shift the other two bins over, and start again the next day. However, this is what I've seen most Israelis do.
STEP 1: Fill a small bowl with warm, soapy water. Our water takes a while to turn warm (our water heater is on the roof), so instead I tend to use hot water from our electric tea kettle. The point of this water is simply to keep your sponge clean and soapy.
STEP 2: Use a sponge and this small amount of warm, sudsy water to soap up all the dishes. (Scrape off any remaining food before you do this step.) Set the soaped dishes on the counter while you're soaping the rest.
STEP 3: Rinse off all your dishes, turning off the stream of water while you put each dish on the drying rack. Bonus points if you can rinse several dishes at once. I usually manage to rinse big clumps of silverware at a time.
STEP 4: Clean off your counter. It gets very soapy.
That's it! Ha, I avoided the Step 2 picture of my dirty dishes. So this post ended up not so graphic after all. (My dirty dishes aren't unusually disgusting-- no mold, I promise-- but still, isn't it gross to see someone else's half-eaten chicken?)
This, btw, is my drying rack:
It slides down (making a sound like fingernails on a chalkboard) as it gets heavier with dishes, and it can be hidden from view behind cabinet doors over my sink. I'm not sure if this is a uniquely Israeli invention, but I know I never saw build-in racks like this in the US, and I've seen them in several apartments here.
Anyone have a different dishwashing technique to share?
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