Is it more efficient to use a dishwasher or wash up by hand?

It may surprise you, but an energy efficient dishwasher actually uses less water and energy to run, making it cheaper than washing up by hand. If you have a water metre in your house, one cycle on a typical dishwasher costs the same as filling five washing up bowls or running the hot tap for nine minutes. If your water is unmetered, it’s even better; one dishwasher cycle is equivalent to filling four washing up bowls or running the hot tap for six minutes. If you can manage to completely wash a full dishwasher’s load of cutlery and crockery in that amount of water, then congratulations! Most people would not be able to do this and if they could, they would not get the dishes as clean as a dishwasher would.

Dishwashers use a much higher water temperature than most hand washer’s would want to stick their hands in. In doing so, dishwashers kill far more germs. In fact, studies have shown there are 400 times more bacteria on dishes after hand-washing than after using a dishwasher. 

There is also a time saving factor in owning a dishwasher. If you spend half an hour every day washing up by hand, investing in a dishwasher could save you 182.5 hours a year. That’s over seven days of your spare time, wasted washing dishes!

If you insist on washing up by hand, you can reduce the time and energy you spend doing it by always pre-soaking dishes with stubborn marks and food stuck to them and don’t leave the tap running unnecessarily.

If you do use a dishwasher, for the most efficient use, always fully load the dishwasher before switching it on and if it is an option use the eco cycle. Be wary not to overfill the dishwasher, if everything is crammed it, some things may not get cleaned properly and you’ll end up hand-washing them anyway.

  Clare Fearon

  dishwasher, efficiency, energy, energy bills, house and home, washing up, water

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