Cradle to Cradle Dishwashing
I am a long-time a convert to the soapnut craze. I first noticed these little fruits in Burma/Myanmar where they use them in their traditional shampoo. A couple years ago I discovered that their popularity has really grown in Western countries and now you can spend top dollar on powdered soapnut laundry soap and other commercial products. The best way to use these berries from all perspectives is to simply use them as is in your laundry, or to make them into laundry detergent (see below). Powdered soapnut berries are not really a viable product and anything that has things added to it to make the shelf life longer is a step in the wrong direction. Follow this link for more practical information about soapnuts, how to use them and links to various online stores in various countries.
I grew up washing dishes the old fashioned way that conserves hot water — in fact it conserves water in general. Upon reaching college I quickly found it easier just wash my dishes under running water. I have finally noticed this bad habit that I have unconsciously maintained over the years and have discovered that it can actually be fulfilling to wash the dishes mindfully. It is a good feeling to know that your everyday necessary activity is not harming anything (well except the unwanted micro-organisms on the cutlery). It is much easier to be aware of your actions when you aren’t trying to hide from yourself the fact that by cleaning your dishes you are contaminating Water and Earth.
It is a process, though. I am working on training myself to not obsessively wash every dish the moment it hits the sink, but to let them pile up for a bit until there are enough to fill the sink and do an ole fashioned dish-washing session with an all natural bio-degradable nut.
I call it Cradle to Cradle Dishwashing as a dedication to William McDonough and Michael Braungart who wrote that great book Cradle to Cradle. The soapnut is a plant and in the end the used dishwater is used to water my plants. Now if I had a soapnut bush growing in my apartment that would really be Cradle to Cradle.