Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

Date: 27 August 2018. Washing Dishes and Saving Water.


Decades ago I was the Galley Slave because Mother said it made her seasick to wash dishes. As the stove was down below I rather doubt her words. Basically she hated washing dishes so it was my job. The important part was that I not waste water. The method used way back then works well today aboard Seaweed. Here's how I do it.

This is the galley of the 40'er I grew up aboard. I washed a lot of dishes in that sink.


Memory Lane: The drain of our galley sink went straight down. I dropped a knife down and it disappeared. Because I could not believe it to be truly straight I dropped a second one. Guess who had to go swimming to retrieve the pair of knives?

One way to use less water is to utilize a bowl. Add your soap to the bottom of the bowl.

The bowl I use is clean. I have nuked spaghetti sauce in it. The container is permanently stained.

Add water to accommodate the quantity of dishes that need washing.

Because I didn't have a lot of dishes to wash I added a half inch of water to my bowl.

Advice for the fellows: Add less water than you think you'll need. If you are wrong you can always add a bit more soap and water to your wash bowl.

Many fill a larger container with soapy water and soak the dishes first. That works fine for folks with unlimited water. Out here though, less is more. The less water you waste the longer you can remain in that wonderful remote anchorage far from people.

Still water makes for a perfect reflection of my Seaweed.


I use a scrub sponge made by Scotch-Brite. Be particular. You want the name brand this time.

I cut the sponges into thirds using scissors. DO NOT DO AS I DID! For most folks cutting the sponge in half would be a better choice. My hands are small and I am used to the smaller sponge size.

The sponge absorbs soap and water. The larger the sponge, the more water is soaked up by that sponge. Use a smaller sponge and you'll use less water.

Also, with these sponges, you need to set them on the green side when you're done. Water will drain through better. Ladies know that when our sponges get icky there are solutions. To sanitize a sponge, get it damp then nuke it for one minute in the microwave. Wait before handling the sponge as it will be Very Hot.

I soap up everything, setting the clean items in the bottom of the sink as I wash them.

When I have food stuck on something I wash that item first. Then I put it at the bottom of my to-be-washed stack. By the time I've finished cleaning the rest of the dishes the stuck-on bit generally has loosened enough to be removed. I might scrape of the icky bits with a knife if the green side of the sponge does not get everything off.

Rinsing is done with my pressure water system. I turn on the water tap, but not at full blast.



Hand Pumps in the Galley


Aboard Seaweed I do have a fresh water Whale hand-pump by my galley sink. The problem is the dang thing leaks like a sieve. The rebuild kit for my Whale brand hand-pump is outrageously expensive.

Thus I went to Amazon and found a Valterra Hand Pump for $30. I want one. Actually I want three. Two for salt water and one for fresh.

affiliate link

Valterra RP800 Chrome Rocket Hand Pump


Logically a hand pump seems like an ideal way to save water. I did not find that to be true. My hand pump puts out so much more water than the spigot that it ended up costing me water.

The goal is to eventually have both fresh and salt water hand pumps at the galley sink and a fresh water one down below in my head. The salt water in the galley would be to rinse off food before washing the dishes.

What you need to know: When you install a hand pump into your pressure water system you MUST also use a one-way check valve inline. Otherwise nothing will work.


You may wonder why I have a hand pump that leaks in my galley. It only leaks when I am pumping the handle.

Most of the time I use the hand pump rather than have the pressure system powered. I only turn on the water pump breaker when I'm taking a shower or washing dishes.

Should my pressure pump ever fail I still can get water out of my tank by using the hand pump. Also, if I have a power crisis I will be able to access my fresh water. This is a matter of safety for me.

After washing dishes I fill several containers with water. The water is ready for tea time.

A beautiful Vera Bradley towel that had been a seat cover at the dinette has a third life in my sink as a drainer.

I do not have room for a real dish drain. Instead I cut up an old towel. One piece sits in the bottom of the sink. It cushions the dishes and allows them to drain/dry in the sink. For me this is convenient.

Eventually I hope to replace my hand pump with a new one that does not leak. If anyone has experience with the Valterra Hand Pump sold on Amazon please let me know your opinions in the Comments section at the end of this article. Thank you.

Valterra RP800 Chrome Rocket Hand Pump

For me using a small bowl with soapy water makes dish washing a quick and easy chore. I can wash a whole sink full of dishes with AT MOST one cup of soapy water. Rinsing does take more water. Those that have sprayers as part of their faucet set-up could probably use even less water than I.

As an aside I did try putting water into a spray bottle and using it to spritz off the soap. That was labor intensive. Pumping the bottle handle multiple times for a sink full of dishes was a hassle.

I have too many fun things to do to waste my time spritzing soap off of dishes I've washed. For instance, there are sunsets to enjoy.

That is life aboard Seaweed. It's a good life.

Thank you for reading.

Do you have any other recommendations for a hand pump for Seaweed?
And, have you found any other ways of saving water in the galley?

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

  • The capcha is case sensitive.


2018, 2019, 2023

Categories:  Galley, Gear, Memory Lane, Recommendations, Security,

Red Tide and Forest Fires ~ Previous Post ...    ... Next Post ~ Fixing a 24-hour Clock


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  Family Tradition: Doing the same old thing, only it's fun.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty via
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.

My Buddy, and his girlfriend...

Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |