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In your home you turn on the water tap, take a shower, start the dishwasher or the laundry, water comes on and goes out the drain and all is well and doesn't require a second thought - usually. When you are out in your RV water usage does require some thought, especially if you like dry camping (depending upon your RV tanks only).
One of the most common habits of new RV'rs is to run the water untill it is hot and then fill up the sink to wash the dishes. The next thing you know the gray water tank is full and there is no water left in the fresh water tank. If you are parked in a full facility lot - no big deal and easy to remedy. If you are out on your own then you have a problem. The following tips provide some ideas of how to use water wisely when water is scarce and disposal requires planning.
The most important thing to remembers is to use the majority of your water on rinsing and minimize the amount you use for washing. This is true whether it is dishes, your hair, or yourself.
I prefer to heat my washing water on the stove. You are less like to run out of propane than water and you can get the water hot without having to run the faucet until it is the right temperature. This saves water for other purposes such as bathing.
After you have used dishes for cooking and eating, wipe them off with paper towels for an initial cleaning. This is especially important when you have cooked something greasy or have something sloppy like spaghetti sauce. Get as much of the grease or sauce off the plates and out of the pans as you can before washing.
Use a small basin set in the sink to wash in. One reason for this is that when you are finished the wash water can go in the toilet and then into the black water tank which usually holds more than the gray water tank. The extra water also helps keep the material in the black water tank more liquefied and easier to clean out. This also keeps your gray water more “environmentally friendly” because of reduced organic waste in it.
Use only the amount of water needed to ensure a good wetting of the dishes. Use the hot water mixed with tap water to reach the right washing temperature. The basin should only be a quarter to a half full. You can add additional hot water later if needed or start fresh for the dirtier items.
Start by washing utensils and drinking glasses. Then wash plates and any serving dishes. Finish up with the pots and pans saving the dirtiest for last.
I like to start by washing some fairly clean vessel in which I can put all the utensils. Wash all the dishes before rinsing them. When you are ready to rinse, pour some of the hot water over the utensils. Swish them around in the hot water to rinse then either pick them out or pour the water into a glass or other vessel. Put the utensils in the drain rack ready for drying. Swish the hot water in the vessel around to rinse then pour into another container and continue. When the water is used two or three times, runs out, or gets cool, use more hot water to continue rinsing. If possible rinse over a pot or some other large container. Rinse the plates over this same large container. Rinse pots and pans by pouring hot water from one to the next, then over the outside. Do this over the large container so the water will be collected rather than go down the drain.
When you are through pour the rinse water into the toilet. If you have already poured some greasy or dirty water in the toilet use the rinse water to clean out the toilet before flushing.
When you are through use paper towels to wipe out the sink and clean things up.
If I have used a big pot to cook in I often use that for the dish washing basin. First clean out the pot with a paper towel, heat the water in the pot, then proceed washing your dishes.
These tips are for bathing in RV's with the proper facilities. Bathing while tent camping or in other circumstances without standard bathing facilities is a whole different topic.
Most RV's are equipped with an on/off shower head which, when used effectively, helps conserve water. When you are ready to bathe, run the water just till the temp is right. Briefly run the water over your head and face and then shut off the water. You should be damp over most of your head and body but not soaking wet. Once you have washed your face, turn the water on briefly and rinse. This rinse will further dampen the rest of you. Turn the water off then soap down the rest of your body including soaping or shampooing your head.
When you have scrubbed and shampooed your hair then - with the water still off - squeegee your hair to get the majority of the shampoo out. Start at the forehead and use your hand to shove the shampoo down the back of your head and out of your hair. Turn the water on just briefly then repeat the squeegee process. When you have gotten most of the shampoo out of your hair then it is time for a good final rinse. Turn the water on, starting with your head rinse your hair thoroughly then work down your body. Give a final squirt to the tub to rinse out and use a cloth or paper towel to clean out the tub if needed.
“A trick taught me years ago by an old RVer was to keep a spray bottle of soapy water handy. You can use it in the shower when you start drying out before rinsing to re-wet yourself and the wash cloth. In fact, if water is really limited, you can skip the wet down and just use the spray bottle. You can save water with the spray bottle when washing your hands. A few spritzes in the toilet bowl before use minimizes "tracking" and the need for using the toilet sprayer. You can use the sprayer to wash lightly soiled dishes, then rinse them.” - Maurice aka RoadKingMoe on RV.NET
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