If you're running the dishwasher a lot, don't fret. It may seem like handwashing dishes after meals and snacks is easier, faster and more conserving way to go, but you'd be surprised.
Let dirty dishes soak
Gross, but effective. After loading the dishwasher, you can let your hand wash items soak rather than spend minutes (and gallons of water) washing them over and over under the running faucet. You can soak them one at a time, or fill the sink a little and let them marinate. You don't need a full sink to soak dishes effectively.
The best way to do this is to lather all your dishes at once. Then, plug the sink and run some hot water over all of them. Turn the faucet back on only when you're ready to rinse everything. Your dishes do need clean water to be sanitary, but soaking them all together in a few centimetres of dishwater isn't a health risk as long as you soap and rinse well at the end.
Organize your sink
If you are going to soak dishes, there should be a method to your madness. It might sound odd, but stacking and nesting dishes inside one another is one way to save water. You'll soak everything without filling each bowl up with its own water.
While you won't want a stack of dishes to sit in your sink for days on end, nesting them is a good way to make the work go faster -- and use less water, too.
For example, the hot soap and water surrounding the forks and small dishes sitting inside a larger bowl will begin dissolving bits of stuck-on food, which will make it that much easier to clean.
Ditch the disposal
In-sink garbage disposals are an easy way to get rid of gunk, but they also require running water in order to operate safely. Try this instead: scrape your food into the trash or a compost receptacle rather than the garbage disposal.
It's faster, and you avoid forgetting which food items should never be put down a disposal, like bones and fruit pits. Scraping food into the trash will keep you from unintentionally harming your sink's disposal system or clogging your drain.
Swap your sponge for a pot scraper
If you hate soaking and scrubbing dishes, you're not alone. A pot scraper could help. It's a reasonably priced, handy piece of plastic that can tackle stuck-on food. The pot scraper's hard (often silicone) edge and angled surfaces give you more leverage when it comes to taking crud off those pans.
You can also use it as a generalized scraper after meals. Just scrape food off each plate before you put it under the faucet. Do this before the food has a chance to dry onto the plate. The more work you get done before you need to lather and rinse, the better.
It might not be as fun as it sounds, but this method of washing your dishes could save you some serious cleaning time. Simply add soap and hot water to any containers you're washing, snap on the lids and shake them periodically. Think of it as a handmade dishwasher.
You'll only put water in the containers once, and agitating the soap every so often will get every inch clean -- or at least cleaner than you otherwise would. After getting out most of the peanut butter or oil, stick it in the real dishwasher as you normally would. This only works with items that have a lid, so don't go spinning suds around your kitchen from an empty bowl."
Please note, not all recipe suggestions may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.
All the best Jan