Saving Money While Washing The Dishes

by Merissa on March 22, 2017

in Frugal Living Tips

Need a new way to save money? Have you ever thought about how much you can save while doing your dishes?

Saving Money While Washing The Dishes

Doing dishes isn't always my favorite chore but my dishwasher doesn't always do a great job since we have such hard water so I have no choice but to wash them by hand most of the time. You know, you can waste a lot of money by just washing the dishes....on dish soap, running water, ect. Here are some simple ways to save money on doing your dishes! Be sure to add in your tips in the comments.

  • Scrap the dishes off first. Clean off all food particles so you don't have it in your sink while you are washing and so it doesn't go down your drain. You really don't want food chunks down your drain. They will start to smell and can possibly block off your drain pipes creating a problem in the future that will cost alot to fix. You can avoid that headache and expense by just scraping those dishes clean first.


  • Don't leave the water running while you wash. Have a system. Fill up one sink with soapy water and the other sink with clear water. Use the first to wash and the second to rinse and put a towel on the counter for the dishes to dry. Not only does this keep you from running water, with dishes sitting on your counter you will be more likely to get them put away sooner so they don't take up counter space!
  • Don't use pure dish soap. Here's what I do: buy one of those foam dish pumps. When the container is empty you can keep refilling it. Just fill the container about 2/3 full of water and fill the rest of the 1/3 of the container with dish soap. You will get about 5 times the use of the soap if you do it this way and you won't notice the difference.

Homemade Dish Soap

  • If you want to be super thrifty you can just wash dishes with a little vinegar and lemon juice. Or if you want something a little better, try making Homemade Dish Soap.
  • If you prefer using the dishwasher, make sure it's completely full before you run it otherwise you are just wasting water. Make sure the dishes are scraped clean before you put them in the dishwasher to avoid clogging the drains. Also, if your dishwasher has a water saver cycle or quick cycle, run on that. It will get your dishes just as clean. You can make Homemade Dishwasher Detergent to save even more!
  • Bonus tip! Make your own Crocheted Dishcloths!

What are your best tips for saving money on doing the dishes? Share in the comments section!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lana August 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

We have really hard water too and I put vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser in our dishwasher to help with that. It has made a difference but our silverware is still grody. I put a few drops of food coloring in a quart bottle of white vinegar and keep it under my kitchen sink for refilling the dispenser. The coloring makes it easier to tell if it needs refilling.


2 Merissa August 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

We tried vinegar too but it didn’t work the best for us. We ended up using Seventh Generation for the rinse.


3 Lorrie October 11, 2013 at 3:40 am

Dishwasher detergent with citrus will dim the shine of your silverware. I buy walmart brand dishwasher tablets and they seem to work just as fine as the more expensive brands and are citrus free.


4 Sandy October 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I rarely use the dishwasher (only with huge crowds), so I wash as I go. I use 2 plastic wash bins in each sink well (one for washing and one for rinsing – so glasses don’t break in my sink – then I rinse after I am done and put in my dishwasher until I am ready to use again). Since I hate the countertops to be used up, I always put the rinsed dishes in the dishwasher to dry… it dries faster, and if I have unexpected company, I can close the dishwasher up and unload later.


5 Ulrike October 11, 2013 at 7:26 am

Sandy, I never thought of using my dishwasher for my dishes to dry! I can now get rid of my dish rack, it would never hold much anyway. I only use my dishwasher too for large amounts of company. Thanks!


6 Denise Freeman February 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm

My son & DIL think I am crazy because I recently started using dish pans again. They never think about conserving. It’s only a few pennies, but when you save a few pennies every day and sometimes several times a day, it adds up to a lot of dollars very quickly.


7 Sandy October 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Oh, one more tip. I have a white, plastic, cup with a handle that is used for sprinkling cheese… well, I have re-purposed it by filling it with baking soda. This sits on my window sill, and whenever I have a heavy load of dishes to wash, I add a couple of shakes to the hot dish water.


8 KAY October 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

I love the idea of using the dish washer as a drainer. Unless I have company,
I never use mine. It takes me forever to fill it. Definitely going to use your suggestion.


9 meloni February 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm

I underestimated my ancient dishwasher ($20 on craigslist and old when I got it) and finally decided to put it to the test. I only use vinegar, baking soda and a drop of Dawn. Then just scrape off the big chunks. It works amazingly well!! The little doors for soap and stuff aren’t even there anymore so it all goes in at once and the rinse aid thing doesn’t work either but it really is working great. I have REALLY hard water too. And I’m now saving money by heating up my hand dishwashing water on the wood cookstove to avoid using the propane water heater. So that’s my 2 cents worth.


10 Wendy Hopkins February 5, 2014 at 2:24 am

Thank you all so very much for your tips.


11 Jeanetta Andrews August 23, 2014 at 11:43 am

How much vinegar and lemon juice do you use for a sonk full? Does it work well? I am so used to sudsy dishwater that it seems strange to use something else, but I do use vinegar and water for all-purpose cleaning, like bathroom, etc., it seems like it would work. It would sur save a lot of money!


12 Merissa August 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

In my sink (which is rather large), I wouldn’t use more than 1/4 cup of either.


13 Sophia Rose March 27, 2017 at 10:37 pm

My mom does a lot of these tips and she doesn’t use her dishwasher much for more than drying. I’ve actually never owned a dishwasher. Love the suggestion of the foam soap dispenser to save on soap.


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