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Can you wash dishes without soap?

Karen Briggs


Joined: Sep 01, 2012
Posts: 24
Early this morning my husband and I got to talking about greywater and the amount of water we use to wash dishes. This got us thinking about how we wash dishes and what we use to wash dishes.

I mentioned that you could probably "wash" the dishes with an abrasive brush or give them a sand bath, and then rinse them off well. But I wonder if that would get rid of the stuff that might turn into mold, mildew, germs, etc. I am thinking that there still remains some food in the teeny-tiny pores of the dish.

Why do we use soap to wash dishes? Some thoughts
  • degrease.
  • disinfect
  • get rid of grim, food, etc.


  • Would soaking them in scalding hot water, letting them sit in the water until it cools enough for you to grab the plates out of the pan, rinsing them and letting them air dry get them clean enough? I don't think this would get the dishes clean.

    Would something less toxic work just as effectively as soap? Like washing with baking soda & water and then rinsing with vinegar & water?

    please share your thoughts and/or experience.


    knowledge is an important part of wisdom. I am here to learn.
    Kris Minto


    Joined: Sep 17, 2012
    Posts: 126
    Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
        
        2
    My wife makes all of our soap (bars and liquid) for various applications and also tried doing one load of laundry using Soapwort (Saponaria) and it seems to have worked well. We are planning on trying it again to confirm our first findings. I think you will have to use some type of soap to insure you do not have bacteria that gets left behind especially when you are working with meat.

    Kris
    Anna Carter


    Joined: Feb 11, 2011
    Posts: 66
    Location: Lacey, Wa
    Baking soda works, but you might have to adjust for the pH. I for quite some time used plain old baking soda. As long as you don't leave food sticking to them, there won't be anything to mold.


    I'm a young and I'm not going to contort myself to fit in with our very ill society. I am a citizen of the world, not a mindless consumer. If you want to follow along with my journal, here's my blog: Life Happened Today
    Daniel Camoles


    Joined: Oct 07, 2012
    Posts: 8
    The older method was sand with ashes. You can also make soap with ashes plus some vegetable oil or animal grease.
    Allan Babb


    Joined: Mar 18, 2012
    Posts: 61
    Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
    Degrease - this is dishwashing liquid's primary function. This is why animal rescue organizations use it to rescue oil-soaked animals. I don't really know of a substitute for greasy pots, pans and dishes.
    Disinfect - this is a relatively new function. 10-20 years ago everyone went into an antibacterial frenzy, and now here we are.
    Get rid of grime, food, etc. - you can do that with water, soaking and a good brush. Rinsing your dishes straight away helps too.

    So the short answer is yes, you can wash dishes without soap, unless they're greasy/oily. But I don't think that a pure soap would be a problem to a grey water system outside of ducks sinking. We found out that soapy dishwater is good at killing soft bodied insects because people used to toss old dishwater onto their plants(the original grey water reclamation).

    USDA Hardiness Zone 9a
    Subtropical/temperate, Average annual rainfall of 61.94", hot and humid!
    leila hamaya


    Joined: Jun 30, 2012
    Posts: 564
    Location: northern northern california
        
      24
    yes you can and i do often. the key ime is super hot (boiling) water, and a good scrubber.
    actually boiling hot water does more for the dishes than the soap, i think.

    i tend to only use a few drops of dish soap, if i use it at all, and sometimes then pour the soapy water on trees, the kale, or anything else that attracts insects.
    Ken Peavey
    steward

    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 2092
    Location: FL
        
      49
    Soap is a surfactant. It disrupts the surface tension of water, both at the top surface where the bubbles form, and where the water meets the plate. This lowered surface tension allows debris to enter solution more readily-this gets gunk off the plate and into the water. Soap also serves as an emulsifier and dispersant-it breaks up grease, keeps it in solution and prevents it from separating into its own layer.

    The purpose of cleaning dishes is to remove debris, sugars, salt, oils, protiens and fats which would otherwise serve as a medium for bacterial growth. Soaking will do a fair job of softening most material to a point it can be removed with a piece of cloth or brush. The warmer the water, the faster and more effective the soaking process will be. If debris is covered with fat, the fat will serve as a barrier preventing the water access to debris underneath. Depending on the particular type of fat, saturated or unsaturated, higher temperatures will be needed to melt it. Somewhere around 120 degrees will melt most fats and oils that would be typically encountered in most food environments, but 120 is mighty hot for a dishpan. If you can melt the fat, all you need to do is move it out the door. For this all you need is water flow. Out with the old, in with the new. Rinsing in a hot sink will work fine if the volume of fat is low relative to the amount of water in the rinse sink. For a really greasy meal, exchanging the water continuously may be needed lest the grease form a layer on the surface, recoating your dishes when removed from the sink. A good steady stream of wicked hot water will do the job.

    There are wooden spoons, stainless steel utensils, cast iron skillets, aluminum sauce pans, copper sautes, ceramic cups, and tupperware to consider. Plastics don't take the heat well and can deform permanently. Heavy metal cookware will absorb the heat, cooling the water to the point the fats won't melt. Cast iron left to soak will tend to rust. Aluminum and copper can discolor. Soap, even in small amounts, can make life easy. If you choose not to use soap, there will be some items which will be difficult to clean and require considerably more water for the process.

    Cleaning without soap is possible, but to get the same results, considerably more water will probably be needed, and much of it hot. Solar energy can easily get the water hot, and in no small amount. Pumping water may be a concern. A little bit of soap at the right stage of the process can save water and energy. Precleaning the dishes is a step that can save water, energy and soap-removing the majority of the debris before you get down and dirty. Get all the gunk off the plates, the glasses are rinsed out, get the mashed potatoes out of the serving bowl, scrub down the skillet. This will remove most of the material, but the oils and grease will remain. A pan of soapy water will then make quick work of the job, and less soap will be required. Run the glassware through first as they usually have little fat. Plates/bowls/easily cleaned items next. Pots vnd pans go through last as they usually have the worst mess and will make a terrible mess of the dishwater.




    Seed the Mind, Harvest Ideas.
    http://farmwhisperer.com
    Elizabeth Martin


    Joined: Dec 03, 2011
    Posts: 14
    Location: Central Texas
        
        1
    My dogs and cats pre-lick, so that takes care of most of the grease and food particles. I do use soap thereafter, though. I like to keep a small bowl of slightly soapy water and vinegar to dip my rag/sponge into instead of a sink full of soapy water. Hopefully I'm saving water, but my method means you've got to deal with doggie/kitty germs too.

    Perhaps using a baking soda and vinegar solution with, or without a couple drops of soap would be a good substitute. Besides being a degreaser, vinegar is also a great disinfectant, but from what I recall, the the vinegar water solution needs to remain on the surface for a bit in order to do the job, which is why I put vinegar in my rinse water.

    I was taught in a food handler course that the germs get captured in the bubbles, then wash off in the rinse. Sounded like a dumbed down way to explain surface tension.
    Izzy Vale


    Joined: Oct 15, 2012
    Posts: 12
    The main thing I would think to remember is to use REAL soap, and not detergent. Also oil is broken down by hot water, and salt as well. Vinegar is a good natural cleaner, as well as cloves being very good at killing germs. When I camp, The easy way to clean your dishes is ash, and leaves. If it is a cast iron pot, you can just throw it in the fire, and fish it out the next day. Too much vinegar is not good in a grey water system, though, and neither is too much salt. Real soap has animal fat in it and is not harmful to plants. In fact using soapy water to spray aphids is very effective and safe. Using detergent will kill your plants. Vinegar is something people used down here to kill Bermuda grass (cover it with black plastic in July and it cooks it). Salt can make the soil unproductive. Soap from animals (or Castile... plant oil soap) should be safe as long as it is soap and not detergent. Of course the dyes, fragrances and other stuff can be problematic, so find soap without all that (or make your own castile soap). I suggest looking at a number of the herbs you can use, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, (the full list is much to extensive to post those are common ones you probably already have). We also have Soaproot a specific Yucca plant that grows here.
    Peter DeJay


    Joined: Aug 10, 2011
    Posts: 103
    Location: Southern Oregon
    I agree that it is probably possible to not use soap, but you will use more water, and energy to heat that water. Part of that depends on your diet. Being an ovo-lacto vegetarian household, we don't have oily, greasy, fleshy pots and plates to clean up, which is where the soap really comes into play, as was mentioned. I like to stack soak my dishes for 5 or 10 minutes which actually does most of the work, and then give a quick wipe with a lightly soaped sponge. If something is clingy, like peanut butter, I will wipe it with my fingers after it soaks as to keep the sponge clean and longer lasting.

    The soap we use is actually all plant based ingredients, the main one being "anionic coconut kernel based surfactant". It foams enough for my liking without being excessively slick. It's called "Ultra Dishmate" from the brand "Earth Friendly Products".

    However, I think it would be the actual oil, grease, minute solids and other "stuff" that would be taxing on the greywater system as far as bacteria growth and clogging. I don't think the soap is harmful to soil and plants, as long as it is naturally derived, non-petrochemical and phosphate-free. While my kitchen isn't set up for greywater, I would do a grease/particle trap and/or sand filter. Simple enough devices that would help with soap as well I believe.
    Tys Sniffen


    Joined: Nov 05, 2012
    Posts: 28
    Location: Northern California
        
        1
    Gotta chime in here, even though I may be repeating a bit:

    I say with all respect and kindness, "who cares?" Soap is not your problem in a grey water system, harsh chemicals are. So unless you're using a *bleach based* soap, don't worry about it.

    I totally agree that you'll use more water and energy trying to come up with non-soap ways to get things clean. Just get a relatively 'eco-friendly' soap, don't use too much of it, and you'll be fine.

    (everyone who has questions about our 7 years of grey water watering always asks about the soap, and fixates on finding some perfect ecological answer. yes, there are better soaps than others out there [http://www.bio-pac.com/oasis-biocompatible-cleaners/ being the one we use] but don't worry about it.

    If you're using a machine dishwater (and, really, is anyone on this forum?) the only time you'll have to think about your chemicals in your grey water system is if you add bleach or some sort of product to your laundry.

    wash your dishes! water your plants! enjoy!
    Tys
    R Scott


    Joined: Apr 13, 2012
    Posts: 2224
    Location: Kansas Zone 6a
        
      27
    HEY. We still use a machine. It uses WAY less water and energy (heating water) than handwashing for us. We use a mix of baking soda and borax in the soap dispenser and vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser.


    "You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
    "Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
    Robert Harsell


    Joined: Nov 16, 2012
    Posts: 18
    Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
    I lived on an island in the Florida Keys, Sawyer Key. I dove for fish every day, usually mangrove snappers. I cooked them over coals and put them on my plate... I had only one. The next morning I took my plate out to the flats where there was sand, miami oolite to be more correct, which is limestone rather than silicon. A little salt water, a little miami oolite, and a little finger motion kept my plate clean.

    Presently, up north in Virginia, I never use soap. My dog licks all plates and cookware. This takes care of grease and anything that isn't stuck. Then I use a stainless steel pot scrubber, the kind you find hanging on the racks in supermarket aisles, the pads made out of curled strands of the stainless. This is about a two second procedure. Then a few passes with a paper towel or a rag if you prefer.

    I don't have many plates. It's probably a different matter if one has a dishwasher full of items. However, just consider one plate, even if it's greasy. I've cleaned plates with a few drops of water and a small sprinkling of baking soda. Use your fingertip to work the baking soda into the plate. Go over the entire plate. The action of your finger, the abrasive quality of the baking soda, and the grease removal ability of the baking soda does and excellent job. Wipe with a rag. Then rinse the plate with a tiny amount of water, perhaps a couple tablespoons, that has a few drops of vinegar. The vinegar neutralizes the film of baking soda that will remain and your plate will be absolutely clean, using minimal water, baking soda, and vinegar.

    Baking soda + grease seems to produce a soap-like effect.
    Robert Harsell


    Joined: Nov 16, 2012
    Posts: 18
    Location: Greenville, Augusta County, Virginia
    R Scott wrote:HEY. We still use a machine. It uses WAY less water and energy (heating water) than handwashing for us. We use a mix of baking soda and borax in the soap dispenser and vinegar in the rinse agent dispenser.




    I haven't tried borax, but I am a believer in baking soda with a vinegar rinse.

    Also, a 50/50 mix of baking soda and corn starch makes excellent deodorant.
    Jeanine Gurley
    steward

    Joined: May 23, 2011
    Posts: 1391
    Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
        
        9
    Boiling water - I think this has already been mentioned.

    Certain things I don't ever want soap to touch - cast iron, wooden utensils, and bread or cake pans.

    In the really olden days we were taught a certain order to wash dishes. Glasses first, then utensils, then dishes, then pots and pans. This helped prevent residue on glasses and silverware. The rest are pretty effectively cleaned and sanitized with scalding water.

    The 'cooker' that was used (can't remember the name now) for military in Ireland has just enough water to cook, make a cup of tea, and scald your eating utensils. All very effective.


    1. my projects
    Bob smithie


    Joined: Mar 11, 2013
    Posts: 18
    Location: socal
    Tys Sniffen wrote:
    If you're using a machine dishwater (and, really, is anyone on this forum?)

    wash your dishes! water your plants! enjoy!
    Tys


    I am. Had to pick on you Tys Dishes are just too big a water use to let it go. I modified the dishwasher soap though. I didn't want the salts. And really salt buildup is the biggest concern of grey water use. Modify any salt based detergent to carbon based. Sodium dodecylsulfate is really not bad. Minimal sodium, 12 atoms of carbon, and sulfate all of which your plants need.




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    Morgan Morrigan


    Joined: Oct 16, 2011
    Posts: 1400
    Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
    won't washing with ammonia diss=assemble greases? we use it for cleaning oven grills and baked on stuff.

    think that if mixed with vinegar rinse to neutralize it, it should make fertilizer ?


    Get involved -Take away the standing of corporations MovetoAmmend.org
    Kota Dubois


    Joined: Oct 13, 2011
    Posts: 171
        
        3
    Alcohols also make very good degreasers. Back when I was in art school we wanted to use less turpentine and varsol for cleaning printing plates of ink. A few drops of cheap vegetable oil and a rag got rid of the ink and a little rubbing alcohol cut the oil and perfectly prepared the plate for the next ink application. Believe me just the tiniest oil residue would be visible as the ink wouldn't stick.


    We cannot change the waves of expansion and contraction, as their scale is beyond human control, but we can learn to surf. Nicole Foss @ The Automatic Earth
    Bob smithie


    Joined: Mar 11, 2013
    Posts: 18
    Location: socal
    I think small amounts of either ammonia or alcohol would not harm a gray water system in the least. Ammonia would just be a plant nutrient, and alcohol particularly ethanol such as vodka would rapidly breakdown.

    It probably also depends on the volume of water you have going through the system. If your dish water and shower water are all mixing you could use larger amounts of soap, ammonia, or alcohol to wash your dishes. We need people to pick 1 or the other and do careful determinations of the water flow and amounts they are using. Water companies and pesticide companies and other toxin producers may disagree but I thought those were good comments !


    Izzy Vale


    Joined: Oct 15, 2012
    Posts: 12
    Definitely want to avoid dishsoap made with Borax/Washing Soda/Baking Soda/ Salt.... As it has been mentioned salt buildup in soil will make your ground very unproductive. Another thought is Lye. Lye is made from ash, and seems to be incredibly powerful. I am not sure quite how you would work out using it in a situation washing dishes by hand... maybe the people with dishwashing machines (which can conserve more water than handwashing) can try it out.
    http://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/make-lye.html
    audrey ellen cook


    Joined: Mar 27, 2013
    Posts: 1

    I do not have a greywater system and am new to this site but I had to chime in and offer something for consideration. I use a paste made from mustard powder and water. Mustard powder has antibacterial properties and will also act as a fertilizer and pest repellent so I think it would be great for greywater systems! It's the best degreaser I have ever used for dishes. Scrape/wipe debris, then I put the paste onto a scrubby sponge and rub all the dishes with it, then rinse them all at once. It's great for deodorizing too, I love it for water bottles etc, put some in with warm water and swish, or rub hands with the paste to deodorize after handling garlic, peppers, etc. If you have a particularly greasy pan, sprinkle the powder on and let it sit while you do the other dishes. You can use it to clean wool and silk too. I sprinkled some on an oil spill on my car upholstery and them vacuumed it up, worked better than baking soda!
    Jay Green


    Joined: Feb 03, 2012
    Posts: 587
        
        8
    My grandmother washed all her dishes with lye soap and then gave the dishwater to the pigs and chickens. The soap helped keep them worm free and the water was recycled into something good for the soil. Might be time to consider re-using your water in just such a manner to bring all things into a healthy balance.
    Izzy Vale


    Joined: Oct 15, 2012
    Posts: 12
    Jay Green wrote:My grandmother washed all her dishes with lye soap and then gave the dishwater to the pigs and chickens. The soap helped keep them worm free and the water was recycled into something good for the soil. Might be time to consider re-using your water in just such a manner to bring all things into a healthy balance.


    I did a bit of research, and found a few reuses that could be beneficial for Permies:

    /* Anhydrous sodium hydroxide can be used as a catalyst for preparing biodiesel because it is cheaper than any other alkalines
    http://sodium-hydroxide.com
    http://sodium-hydroxide.com/making-biodiesel-with-lye-12-foolproof-guidelines-to-follow/ */

    /* Food uses

    Lye is used to cure types of food, such as lutefisk, green olives, canned mandarin oranges, hominy, lye rolls, century eggs, and pretzels. It is also used as a tenderizer in the crust of baked Cantonese moon cakes, and in lye-water "zongzi" (glutenous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves), in chewy southern Chinese noodles popular in Hong Kong and southern China, and in Japanese ramen. In the United States, food-grade lye must meet the requirements outlined in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC),[1] as prescribed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[2] Lower grades of lye are commonly used as drain openers and oven cleaners and should not be used for food preparation.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lye */

    /* recycling Paper
    1. Paper industry: Lye finds the greatest usage in the pulp and paper industry worldwide. It is used in the de-inking of waste paper and water treatment during pulp and paper manufacturing process. It is also a raw material in the pulp bleaching process. Many manufacturers produce and supply lye only as an essential ingredient for this industry.

    http://sodium-hydroxide.com/its-lye-all-over-9-common-and-less-known-industrial-uses-of-lye/
    */


    I think water drained from dish cleaning could easily be used in paper making... since it de-inks paper, and bleaches it. But, using it as a catalyst for making bio-diesel is probably one of the more intriguing ones.... Washing dishes to make car fuel. Of course you'd need some used oil from somewhere. Oh, and of course Ramen noodles... who doesn't like Ramen from time to time?
    Jay Green


    Joined: Feb 03, 2012
    Posts: 587
        
        8
    Interesting information! Good to know indeed!

    As a side note...the true symbiosis comes in when one uses the hog lard to make their lye soap...and the recycle is complete.
    Peter Ellis


    Joined: Apr 04, 2013
    Posts: 511
    Location: Central New Jersey
        
        8
    Jay Green wrote:Interesting information! Good to know indeed!

    As a side note...the true symbiosis comes in when one uses the hog lard to make their lye soap...and the recycle is complete.


    I like the closed circle

    Couple of thoughts. Plants need phosphate, so "phosphate free" isn't particularly positive when talking about a small grey water system. It's a problem when loads of it wash into streams and promote plant growth way beyond what the system can properly support.

    I'm curious about the perceived toxicity of dish detergent - that's a question to the OP - what is the toxic aspect of your dish soap that concerns you and has you looking for something less toxic.

    The issue of salt build up with baking soda is one that had not registered for me and I will have to try and keep in mind - concerns me more than phosphates.

    Lye - rather than using it directly on your dishes, I would really recommend using it to make basic soap and then use that on your dishes. Lye is a genuinely caustic base and you don't want to go splashing it around, not to mention what it might do to some of your kitchen equipment. Not everything reacts well to strong base, but using the lye to make soap yields something meant for the cleaning process and itself quite harmless - yet still effective against stuff like Norwalk Virus.

    John Seay


    Joined: Mar 31, 2012
    Posts: 23
    Yes you can.

    I haven't used soap in close to six years.

    No soap on my dishes.
    No soap on my clothes.
    No soap on me.

    Everyone is always amazed when I tell them this. All I use is water. Clean your dishes as soon as you're done with them and there is no soaking or hard scrubbing. I shower maybe once a week. I do laundry almost never.

    People realize I'm not that clean; but they also don't believe how "dirty" I am.
    Suki Leith


    Joined: Jul 27, 2012
    Posts: 99
    Location: Oakland, CA
        
        6
    I don't know anything about this, but I did see a solar dishwasher one time, for the summer or those in hot climates. Basically, it was a tub you set out in the sun and let the dishes soak for about an hour. Soaking dishes or clothing ahead of time makes the unwanted stuff agitate right off and the sun heats the water.

    Also, I wondered about maybe a pass with some citrus peels to break down some of the fats...
    Lucy Elder


    Joined: Jul 15, 2013
    Posts: 20


    Thabks for the tip about baking soda. Do you mix it with water or just use it like grit in tiny quantities?









    Anna Carter wrote:Baking soda works, but you might have to adjust for the pH. I for quite some time used plain old baking soda. As long as you don't leave food sticking to them, there won't be anything to mold.
    Lucy Elder


    Joined: Jul 15, 2013
    Posts: 20
    Allan Babb wrote:Degrease - this is dishwashing liquid's primary function. This is why animal rescue organizations use it to rescue oil-soaked animals. I don't really know of a substitute for greasy pots, pans and dishes.
    Disinfect - this is a relatively new function. 10-20 years ago everyone went into an antibacterial frenzy, and now here we are.
    Get rid of grime, food, etc. - you can do that with water, soaking and a good brush. Rinsing your dishes straight away helps too.

    So the short answer is yes, you can wash dishes without soap, unless they're greasy/oily. But I don't think that a pure soap would be a problem to a grey water system outside of ducks sinking. We found out that soapy dishwater is good at killing soft bodied insects because people used to toss old dishwater onto their plants(the original grey water reclamation).


    here in rural BG some fold still use sand and ashes (work as well as wire wool in my experience). If yuo do use dish wash liquid, maybe just cut back a lot and use more elbow grease? (I did this and it save money too). The waste has helped reduce greenfly on my roses. (Fling is at them quite hard)
    Lucas Harrison-Zdenek


    Joined: Feb 12, 2013
    Posts: 68
    Location: Southeast Michigan, Zone 6a
        
        8
    I can't really speak too much for the science of all this, but we have switched to cast iron only for our kitchen and I never use soap on my cast. I sometimes need to get the water REALLY hot if the food has been there for a bit, but usually as long as I rinse them quickly with hot water, no "germs" or mold build up. Plus the iron is good as a supplement when you use metal utensils to get your food out of the pan. We have skillets and dutch ovens that we use to cook with. I even have a cast pizza tray. I use stones for cookies and I don't use soap on those either. My wife and I, as well as our two kids, are very healthy and have never gotten any kind of food-bourne illness, so I think it must be pretty safe as long as you get the food off the dishes completely.

    We still have all glassware for our plates, bowls and cups, which we run through the dishwasher with an alternative soap powder and white vinegar as a rinse agent. But one day when we build our permaculture farm we will have to meet this challenge head on because there will be no more automatic washer!
    Dale Hodgins
    pollinator

    Joined: Jul 28, 2011
    Posts: 3622
    Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
        
      49
    As a male, I let dishes pile up for several days before doing anything. The most efficient method that I ever devised was to stack them all in a big stainless pot and allow them to boil on the wood stove. Wood ash was introduced once a rolling boil was achieved. Then the pot was set aside and allowed to cool for several hours. A quick rinse made them good as new. I wasn't concerned about soap usage so much. For me it's always about the experiment. This worked to clean off dried up crap that was hard to remove. The energy usage would be prohibitive if the wood weren't a free byproduct. I suspect that long term exposure to lye might damage the pots. The pots came out very clean and only needed a rinse to get rid of ash residue.

    This experiment proved that fish and other pond life will consume most things that need to be cleaned from dishes. You'll notice that none of the naysayers conducted their own experiment.

    Invented a Self Cleaning Dishwasher - No soap - No electricity --- Fish clean the dishes --- http://www.permies.com/t/27219/toxin-ectomy/Invented-Cleaning-Dishwasher-soap-electricity

    This thread shows how dish washing prowess is a major social indicator --- Washing Dishes - Wasting Water And Soap --- Identify Idiots To Save Future Energy and Grief http://www.permies.com/t/27721/energy/Washing-Dishes-Wasting-Water-Soap


    QUOTES FROM MEMBERS --- In my veterinary opinion, pets should be fed the diet they are biologically designed to eat. Su Ba...The "redistribution" aspect is an "Urban Myth" as far as I know. I have only heard it uttered by those who do not have a food forest, and are unlikely to create one. John Polk ...Even as we sit here, wondering what to do, soil fungi are degrading the chemicals that were applied. John Elliott ... O.K., I originally came to Permies to talk about Rocket Mass Heaters RMHs, and now I have less and less time in my life, and more and more Good People to Help ! Al Lumley...I think with the right use of permie principles, most of Wyoming could be turned into a paradise. Miles Flansburg... Then you must do the pig's work. Sepp Holzer
    Angelika Maier


    Joined: Jan 16, 2013
    Posts: 435
    Location: cool climate
        
        2
    I think that usual dishwashing liquid (without the disinfectant) does less damage to the soil than many recipes mentioned here. Wood ash for example is a good fertilizer but must be used in moderation.The main problem with kitchen waste water is not the detergent it is the fat which clogs the soil (an no we don't want to eat a low fat diet). Disinfectant is not useful,what would you like to disinfect? Dished are not dirty there are just some leftovers from the meal to be washed away.
    We did not connect the kitchen waste water to the greywater system because I don't l know about an easy cheap grease trap which is not gross.
    Van Taylor


    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 18
    Most large commercial dishwashers use very hot water and pressure to clean dishes with no detergent or soap. Soap makes it easier to clean dishes, but hot water does more than anything else to get them clean. That being said, if you are using a natural soap, it wont hurt anything so dont worry about it. Van
    Pamela Honey


    Joined: Jan 28, 2014
    Posts: 7
    Location: Northern California
    In Girl Scouts we washed our mess kits at the rivers edge using sand or gravel to wash our dishes clean rinsing with river water as we go and then heating them on the fire to kill anything/parasites from the river... I remember being told this is how the pioneers did it... Correct me if this sounds awful... We also had an ongoing joke "as clean as 3 rivers can get it" we would act out skits together and this one started out as a hobo siting next to a fire with a soup on, someone would walk up and ask for some soup & the hobo would pick up a bowl and hand it to them, they would ask "is this bowl clean?" Hobo would respond "as clean as 3 rivers can get it" & figuring that must be pretty clean would sit down to eat the soup, another would come up and repeat the process "as clean as 3 rivers can get it!" And again and again till all have been served soup at the end we would return our bowls and thank the hobo. Hobo would set the bowls on the ground and slapping the side of the leg would call "come on 3 rivers, come on" and our dog would come running over and lick them clean...
    Celia Revel


    Joined: Feb 28, 2013
    Posts: 53
        
        1
    I'm not sure how much ph is changed in the soil with the cleansers we use, but I do know which ones are on the more alkalai side. Soap is the killer: ph at 10 or higher. Baking soda ph 8. I think borax is about the same or higher. Mild detergent is around ph 7. So, while the soap is going to kill more germs from its sheer high alkalai, detergent isn't going to do as much for anti bacterial, unless it has a chemical in it that is anti-bacterial. Soap by its very nature is antibacterial, and doesn't need a chemical additive. I don't like chemicals, so I buy pure, mild detergent. As for sanitizing, you could do it the old fashioned way by boiling the silverware or plunging in boiling rinse water, or maybe add vinegar to the rinse water bath.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: food forest dvd
     
    subject: Can you wash dishes without soap?
     
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