How to Hand Wash Dishes (the Eco-Friendly Way!)


Our guide on how to hand wash dishes is here to help you minimize your carbon footprint and maximize your cleaning power, one dish at a time!

In a world where we are constantly striving to lessen our carbon footprint, it’s important to consider how even the smallest actions and routines can be made more sustainable. We’re here today with a new How-To to help you make your dish washing more green! According to Gregory Keoleian, Ph.D., professor of sustainable systems at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, it takes quite a bit of energy just to heat water, so washing the dishes can rapidly increase your individual carbon footprint if you aren’t careful! While many households rely on dishwashers, hand washing dishes is a common practice for those who without access to a machine or prefer a more hands-on approach. This guide will show you all the tips and tricks you need to learn how to hand wash dishes the eco-friendly way!

How to Hand Wash Dishes

Washing dishes by hand is fairly simple: you just need water, cleaning supplies, and your dishes! However, depending on what supplies you choose, the process can be quite a bit different. Traditional liquid laundry soaps come in plastic containers that are both messy and unsustainable. We recommend opting for a more sustainable solution, like our Power Dish Spray or Dishwasher Detergent Pods (yes, you can use them without a dishwasher–and we’ll show you how).

How to Hand Wash Dishes with Power Dish Spray

  1. Scrape any loose food or scraps off of the dish and into the trash or compost. This will create a clean dirty slate for the dish spray!
  2. Spray Power Dish Spray directly on to the dirty dishes.
  3. Allow the soap to sit for a few seconds. The cleaning technology will cut through grease, oils, and stuck on food, eliminating the need for scrubbing.
  4. Wipe off soap and rinse under running water, then let dry! For extra eco-friendly points, use cold water to save energy heating water.

How to Hand Wash Dishes with Dishwasher Detergent Pods

  1. When washing dishes by hand, fill up the sink with warm water and let your dishes soak for a bit before washing. This eliminates the need for a long running stream of water when washing, and will preserve your brushes as well if they aren’t scrubbing as hard on the surface.
  2. Dissolve a Dishwasher Detergent Pod to create warm soapy water for washing your dishes. We recommend using gloves, as the PH level can irritate sensitive skin.
  3. Wash your least dirty dishes first, ending with the greasier pots and pans, so you don’t have to keep refreshing the water.
  4. The second side of the sink can be filled with cold water for rinsing. Some folks will add one cup of white vinegar for sanitizing purposes.

Consider Your Cleaning Accessories

Looking for eco friendly brush options? Look for dish-washing brushes made from sustainably-harvested wood, and the bristles from plants. Make sure the dish-washing brush you use can be composted at the end of its life. A compostable Swedish Dish Cloth is a great tool that can be used for both washing and drying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions about how to hand wash dishes? We have answers!

What is the most hygienic way to wash dishes?

The most hygienic way to wash dishes is by using hot water and soap. The soap will break down oil, grease, and food particles, while the heat from the water will help kill bacteria and other harmful germs. Be sure to use a clean Swedish Dish Cloth or rag when drying to prevent cross contamination.

Is it OK to wash dishes by hand?

Absolutely! Dishwashing by hand allows for greater control over your dishes, and can be an eco-friendly option, especially if you only have a few dishes and not a full load.

What is the fastest way to wash dishes by hand?

Washing dishes by hand is a quick and easy process when you keep on top of it. If you’ve skipped a few days and allowed dishes to pile up in your sink, it may be a bit more overwhelming. Don’t worry, things happen! If you’re faced with a full sink situation, we recommend grouping dishes by type. Washing plates, then glasses, then silverware together will help streamline the process. Placing the dishes in warm soapy water or spraying Power Dish Spray on them will help the actual washing process go much more quickly, as the enzymes in the products will begin breaking down oil, grease, and food particles immediately upon contact.