As I was doing dishes last evening, I realized that while I’ve written up lots of tips for doing dishes on the boat — ways to use less water, compact drainers and more — I’d never written about scraping the dishes.
Ashore, with “unlimited” water and a garbage disposer, most of us just rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher or setting them in the sink for hand washing.
There are two, often three, problems with this on a boat: water is limited, there’s probably no on-demand hot water to rinse grease off, and there’s no garbage disposer.
So I’ve returned to scraping the dishes.
I repurpose either a jar or Ziploc bag from the trash for garbage (food scraps that is, not trash). Most often, it’s a Ziploc bag that I froze meat in — I don’t like to reuse these bags for food, so they’re great for food scraps. Whatever you use, it needs to have a large opening, yet seal tight so that you don’t smell the garbage. One jar or bag will usually last for several days for us then goes in with the trash (I’ve never encountered a marina with a composting bin, but it would be great).
I use my silicone scraper to clean all the little bits of food left on plates, pans and cooking dishes into the garbage container. Anything with oil or grease — typically pans and salad bowls — I also wipe out with a bit of paper towel, usually also reclaimed from the trash.
Not only does scraping the dishes make them easier to wash, but this keeps small bits of food and grease from clogging up the galley sink drain. In our Gemini, the drain hose is fairly small diameter and could clog much more easily than the larger one did on Que Tal. So far, I haven’t had to use of my ways to unclog a drain . . . but I do pour boiling water down about once a week, typically the water that I boiled/steamed pasta, eggs or veggies in.