With Massachusetts currently experiencing drought conditions, it’s important to be mindful when using water, whether outside watering your yard or indoors washing dishes.

When it comes to wasting water in the kitchen, the dishwasher isn’t the culprit, it’s probably you. Too many people rinse their dishes clean before putting them in a dishwasher designed to do that very job—and do it better than you can. Five ways to save:

  • Replace your old dishwasher. Energy Star dishwashers are about 15 percent more water efficient than standard models. The most miserly use only 4 to 6 gallons during a normal cycle. Bonus: They’re quieter, too.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes. For maximum efficiency, load your dishwasher according to the instructions in your owner’s manual, which will make the most of the sprays in your machine.
  • Keep your drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until it’s cool. Designate one glass or water bottle per person for the day so that you only have to wash it once.
  • Give pots and pans a soak instead of scrubbing them under running water.
  • Install a WaterSense aerator on the kitchen faucet to reduce flow to less than 1 gallon per minute. It’s a cheap fix for only pennies. Avoid running the garbage disposal, and the water it uses, by composting your food scraps.