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Dishwasher’s Dilemma

Can I use nonpurified water to rinse my dishes?


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


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.

1 Comment

  1. David

    1)MMs answer may not result in STERILE dishes but unless you put some really filthy things in your dishes, those with non-immunocompromised systems will be fine-just use that hand sanitizer a lot!!! 2) I pack WAX PAPER liners for each meal to put in my bowl or plate or flying disc…when done, just burn the paper! coffee filter for each meal are great as napkin/final dishrag and is burnable afterwards (and won’t be a useless mess if it gets wet). As I use cook pot to only boil water/tea/pasta it stays clean enough-cook pasta, serve on wax paper covered bowl/disc, then brew tea-which also effectively cleans the pot of any pasta/rice residue. David Morgan, RN, BSN, CCRN

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