Hand Washing Dishes vs. Using a Dishwasher?

April 15, 2006

Woman with stacks of clean dishes squeezing soapy water from sponge with an overwhelmed expressionHandwashing vs. Dishwasher... which is more economical? I have read arguments for both sides. Does anyone have a definitive answer? Has anyone actually tested this (amount of water used, amount of electricity used, etc.?). My guess is, handwashing is more economical, if done correctly. Any thoughts?


Ree 127 from Sarasota, FL


By Carol in PA (Guest Post)
April 18, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

The May, 2006 issue of Family Circle Magazine has a full page article on How to Buy a Dishwasher. It says " Save Money and water. Running a full load of dishes uses 9 to 12 gallons of water, washing and rinsing the same load by hand takes 20 gallons, according to the American Water Works Association. Keep your dishes and conscience clean by selecting an Energy Star-qualified model (look for the blue sticker with the 'energy star' logo.) Bonus: You'll also save $25 a year in energy costs."

I wanted to add - Another bonus - Your dishes will be cleaner and disinfected or perhaps I should say sanitized.
Best wishes

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By (Guest Post)
December 5, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

It seems to me one fact remains little science has been used to test which method is more energy efficient. With the premise of a full dishwasher it does seem more practical and less costly, however when using a small amount of dishes doing them manually seems more practical.

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By (Guest Post)
April 17, 20060 found this helpful

A friend who is a plumber told me this.

"If you wash dishes by hand three times a day, breakfast, lunch, supper with a full sink of hot soapy water you will use more water then using your dishwasher once a day".


"Your electricity will be about the same as you are using less hot water from the tank and if you don't need to heat the water for the dishwasher it is equivilant. However, this is with most newer dishwashers".

The other thing is you should always run your water in the kitchen sink until is hot before you turn your dishwasher so it will be hot, and use air dry if at all possible.

Hope this helps you out!


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By KLS8800 (Guest Post)
April 17, 20060 found this helpful

I suppose it would depend upon how many in your family, how big of meals you eat, how often, etc. However, when I bought my new dishwasher last year, the brochure with it said that the dishwasher uses about 8 to 10 gallons of water each washing. Do you let the HOT water run when handwashing your dishes, do you drain out your water, then refill the sink with clean water for a big load of dishes?


Do you pre rinse? My guess: Using a dishwasher is more economical. I will say this: It is nice to put them in the washer after cooking a big meal and go join the family than stand in the kitchen at the sink alone for another 30 min if not longer, due to putting away food, scraping plates, washing dishes, drying, putting away...

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