5 Helpful Tips to Save Water and Energy When Doing Dishes

Save Water and energy using your Energy Star certified dishwasher

If you’ve ever wondered, “is it better to wash dishes by hand or use the dishwasher”, the answer might surprise you.

Upgrade Your Dishwasher to Energy Star Certified

If your dishwasher is under 20 years old, like 75% of households are, chances are good that it has an Energy Star certified label (if do have an older dishwasher that isn’t energy efficient , consider upgrading!). So, the next time you decide on doing the dishes by hand in the sink instead of using the dishwasher, if you have one, think again – and consider these energy and saving tips and advice tonight after your next dinner:

Stop Washing Dishes in the Sink

Generally, running a full load of dishes through your dishwasher typically uses a fraction of the water that most hand-washing dish washing methods use, while generating less than half of the green house gasses. Many dishwashers now use as little as 2.3 gallons of water for a full wash cycle, compared to the same amount of water you use by running your kitchen tap for just one minute.

According to the the Natural Resources Defense Council, you can use up to 27 gallons of water per load when you wash dishes by hand, versus using as little as 3 gallons of water with an Energy Star rated dishwasher. And heating water in your kitchen sink uses twice the energy when washing by hand with hot water than if using an Energy Star certified dishwasher.

But if you still insist on washing dishes by hand, use two basins – one full of hot soapy water for washing the dishes, and fill the other with cool, clean water for rinsing.

Scrape Off Food – Don’t Rinse in Sink

If you have a lot of dishes that require extra scrubbing, turn the water off while scrubbing them if washing by hand, or if you are using your dishwasher don’t scrub the dishes before putting them on the dishwasher rack. Scrape food off by hand, and for more stubborn jobs with dried-on foods run them through your dishwasher on rinse cycle instead of running them under tap water.

Turn off your dishwasher's heated dry feature and Let your dishes air dry.

Turn off your dishwasher’s heated dry feature and Let your dishes air dry. Photo by photomix-company

Instead of drying your dishes after the wash and rinse cycles are complete in your dishwasher, turn off the machine and let your dishes air dry. Or before you begin the wash cycle, make sue your dishwasher’s heated dry feature is turned off. You’ll feel better knowing that your carbon footprint of the cycle just got lowered by 10%.

Do Better Things With Your Time

Still not convinced that using your dishwasher is better than washing dishes by hand? Other than helping to save the planet, it takes over 30 minutes on average to wash dishes by hand. You will save at least 230 hours a year just by using your dishwasher. Think about what could you be doing with that 30 minutes of extra time every day, while the dishwasher is working for you.

Save water, energy and spend more time with your family instead of doing dishes by hand

Save water, energy and spend more time with your family instead of doing dishes by hand. Photo by Mathilde Langevin

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