Dish Liquid etc.

I’ve been writing a lot of rambling, “big tangled ball of yarn” -type posts lately about the less tangible aspects of low-footprint living, so today I thought I’d throw in a tidier, more nuts-and-bolts post.

A DEEP GREEN reader and friend asked her Facebook community to share tips for replacing bottled dish detergent, throwaway sponges, and plastic scrub brushes. (Great question, and thanks Laura for tagging me!)

My response:

I just use regular dish liquid, but I dilute the heck out of the dish liquid. Even a small bottle lasts a year or two. And, this is big: When it’s just me, not cooking for anyone else, I find i can get away with just rinsing with water the one bowl & spoon I use, and the one pot I use. So that little bottle of dish liquid goes a loooooooong way!

A friend who was a frequent house-guest (pre-Covid) is a “water washer” in the same way. Single, eats with mainly just one pot and bowl and spoon, rarely even needs to use detergent on them.

Re the bottles themselves: Ideally the bottles get recycled (they are #1 PET), but I have rarely had to put one in the bin, as I seem to always find reuses for the few plastic squirt-bottles that get used up.

I use just cut-up old towels as the washing “sponge.”

I do have a plastic scrub brush (bought new in its package at a yard sale, 50 cents); it should last years as I don’t need to use it often.

Note: Because of how I stretch it, I’m probably a year or more away from using up the dish liquid in my house (some of which was left by previous residents). However, once I’m ready to buy more, it’s good to know there are plastic-free options out there. One is Etée concentrated dish liquid, which comes in compostable tubes and is made with 100% plant-based ingredients. (Thanks to another friend of Laura’s for suggesting this in response to her post. Social media at its best!)

If you want to read more practical tips like this, from people all over the world, covering every possible aspect of daily life, I highly recommend joining the Zero Waste, Zero Judgment group on Facebook. It’s a treasure trove, which is why I mention it often here.