Dishwasher's Dilemma

Can I use nonpurified water to rinse my dishes?
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Can I use nonpurified water to rinse my dishes?

Question:

Is it OK/safe to clean dirty dishes with bio soap in unfiltered/nonpurified water (from a stream)? I'm not sure how long a dried dish needs to sit before it is safe to use again.

Submitted by - Jeff, Lexington, KY

Answer:

I'm going to assume you are not heating the water before washing dishes. Most germs will die if the water is hot enough to . . . well, feel hot. Regardless, cold water—combined with the sudsy action of bio soap and the scrubbing from your hands and a sponge or cloth—will also leave very few germs active. Anything left active will die soon after the dishes dry. To speed along the deaths, dry the dishes with a clean cloth, such as a bandanna. (Then let the bandanna dry to kill the germs on it.) Both of these drying stages—of the dishes and cloth—are best done in direct sunlight, in part because the UV radiation also hastens germ death.