I used to think that dishwashers were machines that used a lot of water and were bought by lazy people. That is until I owned one. First of all I realized how much easier it makes cleaning up after a meal. But I was also very pleased to learn that they actually use less water than if you were to wash all those dishes in the sink. So maybe this means that I am a lazy person but it also means that I am being green!!!
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photo credit: Editor BI
14 thoughts on “Green Tip #57: Run a Dishwasher”
Mrs.SPF, We moved to our own place last December and think that the best benefit of home ownership is the dishwasher. So less work, so easy cleanup – but the bestest part is that the sink isn’t piling anymore and no more stress.
Glad you wrote about the fact that the water used is less in a dishwasher. I had totally forgotten that. Would you know anything about how much electricity a dishwasher uses for every run?
Kay – this will depend on the particular dishwasher i’d think. If you have a make and model number i’m sure the data is out there on the web somewhere.
I think it also gets them cleaner than by hand a lot of times.
For plates and such i’d agree. However, for pots and pans I find the dishwasher never beats a good scrubbin’.
That being said, I do find that sometimes the dishwasher leaves a slight film on the dishes … not always, but sometimes. And since we’re trying to conserve water we don’t want to use the extra rinse cycle.
Counterintuitive as it may seem, using a dishwasher uses less water AND less energy than washing by hand, provided you wash a full load. Electricity use will vary depending on how your water is heated (i.e. whether you have an electric or gas water heater), but every study I’ve seen shows dishwashers coming out better than hand-washing in terms of energy and water use. The only reason we don’t have one in our house (I’ve never actually used a dishwasher in my adult life; we had one when I was a kid) is that there are only two of us and we don’t have a lot of dishes. Hence it would take a few days to fill up the dishwasher and by then we’d be pulling dirty dishes out of the machine and cleaning them by hand just to have something to eat on.
Now, our other post, Sustainability Tip #47: Sink Half Full, Mrs. SPF never fills the sink and only runs water to rinse a dish so she uses very little water.
There are only 2 of us as well but we have 2 sets of dishes now – the new stuff from my Grandpa and the CDN Tire special I got when I moved to this city.
Agreed, with above; as odd as it may seem, many dishwashers use little water. We use the quick rinse cycle all the time, and that uses even LESS water. Beats those dishpan hands ;)
I should check but I don’t think we have a quick rinse – our machine at the new (old) house is a bit older …
Thanks for clarifying :) Whenever I go over to my mom’s place, she makes me do the dishes by hand (this is what she does even though she has a stainless steel dishwasher).
Glad you debunked this myth/ misconception.
One would have to ensure they have lots of plates etc. so they dont have to run the dishwasher on half full to wash the dishes though, eh?
Exactly Y&T. You do need to do a full load to make it worthwhile.
Interesting. I always thought dishwashers used more water and electricity. Might have to be more open minded. Totally right about pots though, can’t see a dishwasher taking off caked on sauces. If you have film on your dishes, do you end up washing them again by hand?
I use the ecowash cycle on my dishwasher so hopefully that is reducing the water usage even more. It seems to get the dishes just as clean as the normal cycle, so I figured I might as well use it. ;)
Do you have a newer machine Little House? We don’t have that option on our dishwasher but we’ll look for it when we reno our kitchen (someday).