This method was basically developed out of laziness. Although I want to be the person that cleans their dishes and pans right away after eating, I usually let them sit around for a while. As a result, when I do go to do the dishes, they are caked with a tough, greasy layer. Since most of my pans have a ceramic coating that is easily scratched, I have to clean them very gently. While finding a way to do so, I came up with an energy-efficient, fish-friendly, effective method of washing dishes:
- Boil water. I use an electric kettle to do this quickly and with little energy input.
- Pour boiling water into pan. Do not disturb any caked on food. Just let sit 1 min or until pan becomes hot.
- Dump out hot water from the pan. Dump into another dirty pan or the sink. The softened, moistened food and most oil stays behind.
- Wipe hot pan with paper towel(s). This can go into the compostable waste disposal.
- If necessary, repeat adding boiling water to dirty pan and wiping with paper towels. If there is a char layer, gently remove it with baking soda or chalk.
- Add small amount of boiling water to wiped-clean pan. Dump water and dry the pan with a clean (preferably linen) towel. Allow the pan to cool before putting it away.
This method is fish-friendly, because it doesn’t involve any soaps or detergents, including saponins. It saves a lot of water and energy involved in heating water (lower water and heat bills). It’s also ‘antimicrobial’, because most unicellular organisms are destroyed during the time spent in boiling water (spores may survive). Any remaining microbes are unable to effectively reproduce on a nutrient poor, dry surface.
In general, I’ve changed my ‘green’ cleaning habits to use less water or other solvent and more dry materials, like starch, chalk and paper towels. Many eco-minded people are switching *away* from paper towels. I worry about the amount of water needed to clean very soiled cloth towels. Grease and oils, which are effectively grabbed by cellulose fibers in paper towels, should not be put in waterways. Not buying paper products does not save forests. Paper is made from wood or woody plants. Forests are cleared for building things, like housing, commercial buildings and highways. As I sadly witnessed, they may even be partially cleared for windmills.